- I'm writing about a few observations about Games Done Quick (GDQ) rejects. I've been thinking about how the submission process affects runners. In general, being accepted is a good thing, and there's not much to talk about purely for the submission process. But for rejects, it's a different beast. I think using Claude's Final Fantasy Tactics (FFT) rejected submission as the example to connect these thoughts to is helpful to understand what I'm talking about.
- I don't really want to write out a bunch of disclaimers, but I think I have to in order not to be misunderstood. Basically in a nutshell I totally respect GDQ staff decisions & understand their hardships (worthy of a reflection pastebin much longer than this one), and this isn't critical commentary about them at all. In contrast, this is some insight to topics I've thought about from the submitter's side (being one myself multiple times).
- Here's a few points of thought:
- 1) Well polished submissions take a lot of thought, and most importantly, time. Some runs have the luxury of not needing much other than a video & a good enough time. And a lot of submissions honestly just suck- lackluster effort/poor quality showcasing. But for those that are wholesome, well executed submissions that are truly vying for the opportunity, they take a lot of effort. Planning commentary around specific GDQ-worthy language & energy while simultaneously selling oneself and the game, it is a challenge and time commitment. Certainly the case for FFT: a 4+ hour game takes much more than say, 4 hours of planning a submission VOD- much, much more.
- 2) You can't avoid game committee bias. It's just the way it is- a few decision makers not liking a run as much as others/the general public/viewers will greatly influence its acceptance success in any marathon. I've been involved in a few online marathons over the years, and it's just something that happens. Even if everyone tries their best to be unbiased, it is challenging to actually honor that idea. Especially GDQ- there's an (unknown) number but likely very small group working on the submissions for a massive schedule, who's individual opinions strongly influence the schedule.
- For FFT, in my opinion, some person(s) very strongly dislike(s) the offering each time and likely make(s) a strong case against it. Without a change of committee personnel or numbers, I am not sure that will ever be overcome, and that's a tough thing to swallow. Sadly, it takes multiple times of being rejected to assess that. One rejection, maybe the run isn't good synergy. Two rejections, maybe the same thing & some extenuating circumstances. But beyond 3+ rejections with breaks between submissions does not bode well, and it's the only real evidence you get of a trend line. It also becomes difficult to "pull yourself up" and try again, considering point (1) above.
- 3) I'm going to lay this thought out as a logical statement (it's not formal logic, so relax):
- A) GDQ is important for speedrunning (I'd be hard-pressed to find someone who unequivocally disagrees).
- B) Because GDQ is important for speedrunning, having a run in a GDQ helps overall community game/series awareness & reception, and to a lesser important (but not insignificant) degree, runner popularity.
- C) A rejected run is a missed opportunity of the above (B).
- The common sentiment for rejected submissions is "Hey, try again next time". I believe common sentiment for FFT's third rejection was the same, and was taken a lot less seriously than the first two times (especially the first.) Mostly like "Haha, it happened again, ~oh well~". But in my opinion it's the most grave offense against this game's future. The effort Claude underwent for this particular submission to overcome all possible odds & angles to appeal to GDQ staff was enormous, including the donation incentive adjustments, waiting for an appropriate time to submit again, on and on. But it wasn't enough.
- In closing, the reason I'm writing this is that I honestly just feel bad for people who put a ton of effort into submissions- those who don't get the recognition for their efforts, the pat-on-the-back saying "Hey, sorry", or much to walk away from the process given the massive timesink dedicated to the process. In many ways, the GDQ rejections hits very fast & cold, and you (personally as the runner and sometimes as a community represenative) have to personally request some morsels of feedback, which (IMO) sucks. But there's reasons for that (alluding to paragraph 2's sentiment about GDQ staff's burdens).
- For Claude's case, it's not easy to stomach as a fellow RPG speedrunner, and I don't think a lot of people really reflected on it seriously. I am not a Claude fanboy (if I went the rest of my speedrun career not hearing a recycled Donkey 2 oldboy meme & its uninspired spinoffs I'd be a happy speedrunner), but I totally respect Claude as a well-established & serious speedrunner, and I feel for the guy. It makes you wonder if the time investment is worth the effort.
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