How to keep a charity gaming marathon going for 160 hours straight

From your seat at home, an AGDQ run like this looks simple. Behind the scenes, though, is a constant swarm of action to get everything running smoothly.

Of all the millions of video game streams that run each year on Twitch—from individuals at home to professional eSports tournaments—there's nothing quite like the Games Done Quick marathons. Each year since 2010 (and twice a year since 2011), hundreds of speedrunners gather to play games as quickly as possible for seven days straight in a non-stop tag-team that only takes short breaks for set up and on-stream interviews.

In the process, hundreds of thousands of viewers donate millions of dollars for charity (over $4 million in 2017 alone), with their donation messages shared on stream.

While the production looks relatively simple from the viewer's side of the Twitch stream—a video of the gameplay screen, a smaller webcam view of the player, a donation counter, a timer, etc.—a lot of work goes on behind the scenes to keep the games running and the donations flowing smoothly for an entire week. To see what things were like from the other side, I headed down to Dulles, Virginia, earlier this week to see some of the work that goes into making the Awesome Games Done Quick (AGDQ) marathon into the well-oiled machine that it is.

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