2 FAST 2 GENEROUS

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Twice a year, video game speedrunners come together at Games Done Quick marathon events to raise money for charity; at Awesome Games Done Quick (AGDQ) in January, supporting the Prevent Cancer Foundation, and at Summer Games Done Quick (SGDQ) to fundraise for Doctors Without Borders. 2019’s SGDQ has been going all week, and as the gathered runners approach the final 24 hours of the event they’ve already raised over $1.1 million for Doctors Without Borders.

If you haven’t tuned in for this year’s summer marathon or are generally unfamiliar with speedrunning, here are five runs from earlier this week at SGDQ 2019 that showcase the deep knowledge, skills, glitching and player camaraderie that make speedrunning and Games Done Quick events so darn entertaining. You can find links to each speedrunner’s Twitch channel by clicking their name in the section headers.

‘Titanfall 2’ by Bryonato

 

Even if you’ve never watched a speedrun or heard of Respawn Entertainment’s “Titanfall” series, this run of “Titanfall 2” is downright mesmerizing. The player movement in “Titanfall 2” is fast and fluid to begin with, but the route Bryonato’s carved through the game strings sprinting, double jumping, sliding, wallrunning and the occasional grenade-aided leap into astoundingly smooth sequences that make it look as though he’s simply flying through the level. Bryonato, who currently holds the world records for “Titanfall 2” speedruns across several different categories, is also incredibly good at explaining the techniques and strategies he’s employing as he plays. Watching a player blaze through the game’s inventive levels and giant robot battles might not be the best introduction to the “Titanfall” series, but if this run doesn’t make you want to buy the game yourself, “Apex Legends” (a battle royale game set in the same universe) is 100% free.

Highlight: At around 26 minutes into the run, Bryonato has a little fun pitting two enemy AI characters against one another while waiting for a moving platform he needs to catch in order to advance through the level. Even the downtime in this run presents opportunities to show off.

‘Metroid Prime 2: Echoes’ by Claris

 

I remember playing this game on summer break not long after it came out — I’m pretty sure I never finished it, because at any given point I was either horribly lost or incredibly frustrated by some tough boss fight. Here, Claris and her commentary companions on the couch have a ton of fun with the game, and the mood is infectious. This speedrun relies heavily on out of bounds glitches, where Claris pushes herself outside of the game’s map and bypasses whole areas by navigating through the void surrounding it, hopping on invisible geometry with expert precision. There’s something incredibly satisfying about seeing a game that flummoxed you years ago expertly dissected in this way: I needed a map screen and a strategy guide and still had trouble, but Claris is always surefooted and moving forwards on ground the game doesn’t even render.

‘Tony Hawk’s Underground 2’ by Plumato

 

The two “Tony Hawk’s Underground” games are either the last good ones in the series or where the games seriously started to go astray. The original “Pro Skater” games artfully combined simple goals, savvy level design and a super responsive control scheme to produce run-based, arcade-y skating bliss, while the “Underground” campaigns instead grafted those core elements onto story-centric missions bookended by cutscenes with maybe a little bit too much Bam Margera. Here, Plumato plays through the classic mode added to “Underground 2,” which not only returns the game to the 2-minute, get all the goals flow of “Pro Skater” but also sees the return of several classic “Pro Skater” levels. A donation incentive was set during the marathon to pick which character Plumato would play the run as, and Shrek (yup, the special character in this game is Shrek) won.

Highlight: Again, Plumato plays as Shrek the whole time. The whole damn run is a highlight.

‘Outland’ by Vulajin

 

Vulajin has done several Games Done Quick runs and used to be a staffer for the organization — his runs are reliably a good mix of entertaining and illuminating. This run of “Outland,” a 2D Metroidvania-style game released in 2014 by Housemarque, is no exception. The game, which also takes inspiration from the “Ikaruga” series’ polarity mechanic (red attacks hurt blue characters, blue attacks hurt red, and the player can swap their color back and forth) is as gorgeous as it is punishing. This run’s route through the game doesn’t make room for expanding his health, so Vulajin is basically right on the verge of death throughout the entire run as he’s maneuvering around enemies and past trickily timed polarity obstacles. As a big fan of 2D Metroidvania games, I was sad to hear that “Outland” is currently not for sale on any platforms. I’m sure I’m not the only person whose interest was piqued by this great showing at SGDQ, so hopefully “Outland” will find its way back into online storefronts soon.1

‘Punch-Out!!’ (Wii) by zallard1, blindfolded

 

The Wii version of “Punch-Out!!” doesn’t deviate much from the formula of the classic games, but as zallard1 warns at the start of his run, in certain situations a single wrong move can make a fight impossible to win while blindfolded. This isn’t zallard1’s first blindfolded run of a “Punch-Out!!” title at a Games Done Quick event, and there have been several blindfolded runs of other classic games at marathon events in the past, but it’s a little hard to talk about what sets this run apart from its peers without spoiling it. All I’ll say is, even having seen the whole run already, as I’m typing this up I’m having a hard time taking my eyes off of it. The “Punch-Out!!” games may be going for a “Rocky” vibe, but I think zallard1’s performance here is closer to Neo’s.

Highlight: Once the regular speedrun’s over, zallard1 takes on the game’s secret fighter: Donkey Kong. Does he take the blindfold off? Of course not.


If you’re reading this on Friday or early Saturday, then there’s still plenty of fantastic runs coming up that you can watch live. I’m particularly looking forward to Saturday’s “Link to the Past” + “Super Metroid” Combo Randomizer, where players Andy and Ivan will cooperatively tackle a hacked together version of the classic Super Nintendo “Zelda” and “Metroid” titles that can flip back and forth between both games while also randomly distributing vital game items within and across both game worlds (for a more in-depth explanation, Kotaku has you covered).

Once the marathon’s over, you can always look for your favorite game in the archives for past Games Done Quick events, watch the runs from last month’s inaugural Frame Fatales all-women speedrunning event, or dig through “GDQ VODs” for specific types of marathon speedruns, like competitive races and live world records.​ Watch, donate, enjoy.

1

Not to be that person, but it seems like it’d be great on Switch.


Photographing A Teenager Over The Course Of Eight Years, And More Of The Best Photography Of The Week
PICTURE THIS

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Every week, we curate the best new photography and photojournalism on the web, so you can spend your weekend kicking back and enjoying some beautiful pictures. Here are this week's picks:


The Many Faces Of Brooklyn

These photographs of Brooklyn tell a larger American story, one that touches on immigration, community, nature and home.

[See the photos at The Guardian]


A Portrait Of Womanhood In The Soviet Bloc

Her lauded series 'Women Between Inhaling and Exhaling' chronicles female life in former Czechoslovakia beginning in the 1970s, and after, during the uncertain transition from Communist rule to a post-Socialist nation. The sizeable collection is separated into seven pillars: adolescence, maternity, fun, work, eroticism, faith and old age. The moments between women's first and last breaths - shown in photographs of Kyndrová's own grandmother kissing her husband on his deathbed, a teenager in the passionate throes of a first kiss, and the agony and ecstasy of birth - are captured with intimacy and candour.

[See the photos at Huck Magazine]


Photographing Wild Swimmers In Scotland In All Weathers

I spent a whole year travelling around Scotland meeting amazing outdoor swimmers in all weathers and temperatures. I'm a keen outdoor swimmer myself, and also a photographer and decided to do this personal project […] Everyone I met had a wonderful story to tell, and most come to the water for some sort of healing, they told me stories of grief, depression, anxiety, PTSD, body confidence issues, chronic pain and more and how the water helps so much with these issues.

[See the photos from Bored Panda]


Light Paths On The World's Largest Salt Flats

Photographer Reuben Wu is known for his artistic landscape imagery, which he creates by using LED lights attached to a drone. By taking long-exposure photographs, Wu is able to have complete control over how we perceive light within the environment. His newest work even incorporates light painting for an even more surreal effect. For his latest adventure, he traveled to Bolivia and ventured high into the Andes in order to visit the world's largest salt flat—Salar de Uyuni.

[See the photos at My Modern Met]


Photographing An American Teenager Over The Course Of Eight Years

Neil admits that the project only worked because of the friendship that developed between Roy and himself - 'I don't think it's the type of thing you can pre-determine.' During the course of the project, Neil would notice the changes in Roy physically and psychologically, and overtime they had met up, they would quickly re-establish their friendship and working process.

[See the photos at It's Nice That]


The Ordinary Made Extraordinary: Martin Parr In Black And White

Martin Parr's early black and white photographs of the North of England are a remarkable record of an all-but disappeared society.

[See the photos at Magnum Photos]


This Week’s Top Memes, Ranked
BUS A MOVE

· Updated:

Here at Digg, we try our best to cover the most important and confounding memes that come across the timeline. But the web is littered with tons of great memes that never quite hit the mainstream, instead bouncing around the weird corners of Twitter or Reddit.

Enter: our recurring feature, Memes, Ranked, where we not only rank the funniest memes each week, we also keep a running top 10 of the best memes of 2019. Skip to that here.

For the week of October 14, we have a handful of contenders: Gifted Kids, Earphones Memes, Missing The Bus and “Fucking Mint” TikToks.


4. Missing The Bus

The meme: An ASCII Twitter meme that portrays an unlucky emoji person running for the bus and ultimately missing his or her ride. Missing The Bus tweets are all over Twitter, with hundreds of nearly identical tweets racking up thousands of RTs each.

The examples: 

Verdict: These memes are no good. There’s plenty of room to iterate and get creative here. Unfortunately, memers are not doing that, instead opting to just repost the same incredibly relatable but also pretty mundane ASCII cartoon. Weird online behavior if you ask me. But hey, while you’re asking me, nearly all online behavior is weird. Which brings us to…


3. Earphones Memes

The meme: Another simple ASCII meme. There’s an easy-to-follow premise to this one: people in your life ask if you’re okay, and you say yes, but the music you’re listening to tells a different story. The punchline to these memes tend to revolve around specific subculture references, which is part of the fun for these.

The examples: 

Verdict: Super simple, not the most creative, but still infinitely customizable. There’s always comedy in revealing inner trauma and guilty pleasures, and while not laugh out loud funny, these 100% Volume Earphones memes reveal both in spades.


2. Gifted Kid Memes

The meme: If you keep your eyes peeled to Millennials on Twitter, you might spy a lot of people who lead presumably normal lives complaining about the ***burden*** of being labeled a “gifted kid” early in their academic careers. Over the past few weeks, mounting wave of jokes has taken aim at these nerds.

The examples: 

Verdict: Damn, this really was not the best week for memes. But Gifted Kids complaining on Twitter always deserve to get roasted a little bit, and we at least got that. Second place this week.


1. Fucking Mint

The meme: A new trend has emerged on TikTok (AKA the place where all the internet’s hottest memes are now) — talking about a terrible thing that happened to you, making the “okay” symbol with your hand in front of the camera and letting out a throaty “fucking mint!” That’s it, that’s the meme.

The examples: 

Verdict: Hilarious. There’s a lot of wild internet energy in these dumb videos. They range from self-deprecating to savagely invasive. The joke is hilarious on video, but can be translated to text. It’s quotable in real life. This is a top notch meme. Thank you TikTok, thank you Gen Z. You both are un-ironically fucking mint.


The Official Josco™ 2019 Meme Power Ranking

Click each entry on the ranking to see when it debuted.

  1. Vibes
  2. The Girl Drinking Kombucha Reaction GIF
  3. Fucking Mint
  4. Untitled Goose Game
  5. Avengers TikToks
  6. Trump Featuring Nickelback
  7. There Are Two Wolves Inside You
  8. No One Can Have Both
  9. Gifted Kids
  10. Earphones

Can we get a vibe check?

Like staying on top of your memes? I could never blame you. Sign up for our new Weekly Meme Roundup newsletter to get the week's best memes sent directly to your inbox.

Joey Cosco is Digg's Social and Branded Content Editor.

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