AGDQ 2017 Schedule Analysis (by spikevegeta)
Figured this would be fun, and it's something I can do while still on the road for my tour. Let's dive in!
Ape Escape 2 any%
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D All Dungeons
Borderlands 2 2 Player co-op
Right off the bat, it looks like the concept is the same as SGDQ, show a cross-reference of the whole speedrunning community on day 1 without ever focusing on any real "blocks". On the whole, I like most every game here and feel they are all popular enough to draw in a crowd. My ONLY real problem here is the first 2 runs of the marathon should be swapped IMO. I LOVE Ape Escape 2 and Ion's commentary style, but this is the sort of run that has had a hard time getting into the marathon in general, now it's your opener? I'm afraid it's not the run that will pack the house, like OOT 3D could have, so with it being only an hour, I fear many people will miss it and just show up during Zelda instead. If the runs are swapped, I think it's ONLY a benefit to everyone, so it's hard to not view this as "let's try something different", even though, we've never led with a Zelda, so that could have maybe been the "let's try something different" instead. In hind-sight, Ghoul02 and I we're far to biased against Borderlands 2 for it just not being a 4 player co-op run, as it's actually pretty legit going back and watching it.
Shovel Knight any% Race
Mega Man All Stages Race
Super Mario Kart Time Trial Race
Quake any% Easy
Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty any% European Extreme
Everything here is pretty cool, and again, the committee is trying to cater to LOTS of different fanbases in the first day, so lots of heavy hitters here on Day 1. Psychonauts is probably the biggest headscratcher of the bunch to get this good a slot, but even it is pretty solid, with a decent cult following. 3 super sexy races highlight the night, then practically the birth of speedrunning in Quake and Coolkid. MGS2 after not being seen for SIX years at a GDQ gets a really good slot, but I think the MGS name is big enough to warrant the solid time, and if nothing else, might be a good change of pace after the 4 runs/races prior to it.
Devil May Cry New Game Normal
Resident Evil Zero HD Remaster Wesker Mode
Silent Hill 4: The Room any%
F.E.A.R. Extraction Point Low Difficulty
Hitman: Blood Money PRO/SA
Pretty much where they like to put the Survival Horror block, nice chill night. I agree with the picks, MAYBE could have seen Hitman going at a slightly better time-slot, as it seems to always get dropped in late Graveyard as people are falling asleep, and Saintmillion had a few really good runs at SGDQ, but eh, nothing really deserves to be here I guess.
The Turing Test any%
Hyper Princess Pitch Combat Lady, All Stages
Hydra Castle Labyrinth any%
Kalimba Inner World
New Super Hook Girl any%
Valdis Story: Abyssal City any%
SEUM: Speedrunners from Hell Speedrun Mode: All Levels
Salt and Sanctuary All Bosses
Magic Sword Normal Beginning
For the most part, I wasn't crazy about a lot of these picks, and I usually view this as the worst time slot, so I guess that makes enough sense in my book. A ton of small, indie games for the most part, so it looks like they still wanted a certain amount of it, at a far worse time slot. The only games that really caught my attention we're New Super Hook Girl and Speedrunners from Hell, and I like both A LOT, so it's a little sad to see them in the ass-crack slots.
Joe and Mac 2 any%
Congo's Caper any%
Batman: Return of the Joker any%
Sunset Riders any%
Super Bomberman any%
Smart Ball any%
Mario Paint Gnat Attack Level 3
Battle Clash any%
Sega Bass Fishing any%
SETUP BlOCK 1
Super Monkey Ball 2
Super Monkey Ball Adventure
For the most part the day gets rolling on a bunch of 2nd-tier SNES titles, and it's the pretty usual slot for games like Joe and Mac 2 and Congo's Caper, which I like both the runs and the runners for, so a good tune up for the day. While the games in the middle from Batman to Smart Ball look like cool games, I just wasn't crazy about their speedruns, but the names are big enough to make for a solid little nostalgia trip in a decent time slot. The Goofy/Gimmicky/funny controller block is in a good slot for the experiment. Day-2 Pre-Prime Time I think was a good choice here for the schedule makers as if you are going to commit to stuff like Gnat Attack and the Super Scope, put it at a time when people will see it, but it's not really a risk at the time slot either. Hope this silly block works out, although the only run of the 3 that did it for me was Sega Bass Fishing, which I think has pretty big high-light potential. As for the Monkey Balls, these 2 don't really do it for me for different reasons compared to other Monkey Ball Games, but at the end of the day, Monkey Ball is still a good watch, and pre-prime time is probably about what it deserves.
Luigi's Mansion 100%
Pokemon Emerald any% Glitchless
Tetris with Cardcaptor Sakura: Eternal Heart Story Mode
Blaster Master any% Warpless Race
My personal bias aside, Luigi's Mansion is pretty popular with viewers, so prime time is good for the schedule. Super early showing of the Pokemon game this time, and they're trying it in primetime instead of late in the week at early morning. I always defer to Ghoul here when it comes to Pokemon speed knowledge, and according to him, Emerald is a sort of weird pick, only about middle of the road when it comes to Pokemon Speedruns, so maybe this isn't the best Pokemon to roll out a primetime slot for. Pokemon community seemed pretty happy with Tyrant getting the opportunity though, so we'll see. Tetris crew always impress me, so primetime is fine with me. Finally, I didn't get Blaster Master getting back in again after they got the big 4-way race last year, so I'm VERY confused at it getting a pretty damn good slot on top of it. First part of the schedule that comes off looking like NES-Bias.
Ninja Gaiden Pacifist% Race
Ninja Gaiden II: The Dark Sword of Chaos Pacifist
Decap Attack Beat the Game
Adventure Island 4 any%
Adventure Island 2 Game Boy any%
Shippuu! Iron Leaguer any%
Mickey's Dangerous Chase any%
Fortified Zone any%
Jazz Jackrabbit 6-Episode
I actually really like most of this group, and this is about where most of them need to be time-slot-wise. I DO disagree with NG1 being a pacifist race instead of 2P1C with Riche and dxtr, that would have been a lot of fun, and made both Ninja Gaiden's feel totally different, instead of just a ton of pacifist. Everything else here I like with the exception of Shippuu and Mickey not doing much for me. Felt a little bit like stretching for a little Game Boy block more then anything, and that's not something I think you should reach for.
Jumping Flash! 2 any%
Intelligent Qube (Kurushi) any%
LittleBigPlanet3 any% no-create
Road Trip Adventure any%
Pac-Man World any%
Mega Man Legends any%
Katamari Damacy any%
Again, we've got the worst time slot of the day here, so we've got a lot of "Give it a shot" stuff here IMO. Out of the group, I'm super bias as I loved the Jumping Flash! games as a kid, Pac-Man World is the best game in the group, and Mega Man Legends is definitely worth giving a look at in a marathon. Interesting to note here that they have clearly worked against blocks in general, and you notice it here and on day 1 with single Mega Man titles chilling by themselves. I give credit to the committee as they put single games by and large in places for them to succeed and in appropriate time slots that fit the popularity of the game.
Super Smash Bros. Melee All Events
Metroid Prime 2: Echoes Low%(6%)
SETUP BLOCK 2
Dark Messiah of Might and Magic any%
Fallout: New Vegas any%
System Shock 2 any%
I was pretty surprised to see them try out SSBM All Events, as they never said yes to Adventure Mode, but new committee, new agenda obviously. Not a bad pick with the game popularity and runner charisma backing it up. Metroid Prime series takes a small step-back at least in time slot, probably about where you want it, in this middling time, viewer-wise. I personally will say I'm glad they didn't just auto-hand out an Accept to one of the GBA Metroid games, hopefully next time it's Prime that FINALLY gets the break. Cool games and good runs, it was just always silly seing the same 4 metroid games get rotated out 2 a piece every GDQ, especially for a series that really never sold that well. I'm personally not an FPS guy, but I feel the committee made a lot of solid choices, and it's always good to give them a good time slot as we can sometimes get a little Platformer, Nintendo heavy in the big slots.
Descent II Hotshots any%
Daikatana any% No Sidekicks
Half-Life: Blue Shift any%
Doom (2016) any%
Super Mario Bros. Warpless Race
Super Mario Bros. The Lost Levels any% 8-4 Race
Super Mario Sunshine any% Race
Daikatana, Half-Life and Doom 2016 are GREAT cappers to the FPS block. First set of Mario platformers, and it's pretty good. Ending one block strong with something like Doom, then transitioning into a strong opener for the next block like SMB Warpless is a great move scheduling wise by the committee. No let down, just GOGOGO. I DO wish they just tried a different group with the Lost Levels race, instead of having the same set of 3 sit down and do back-to-back races, feels a little exclusive to me, and you could have had some big personalities in there if you spread the love with this game. Some think SMS should have taken a break, but SMS races I think are the best way to watch this game. In general, I like that the prime time slots are favoring races, as I think it's the easiest way to get someone watching who doesn't "Get" Speedrunning like we do.
Final Fantasy any%
Gauntlet any% co-op
Kabuki Quantum Fighter any%
Cobra Triangle any%
Get ready for A LOT of NES, too much IMO. It starts off hot with FF1, which both should be really good by the 2 runners, but also MIGHT put everyone to sleep. While I love FF1, speedruns of it, and the runners involved, I just don't know if this is a great GDQ pick, and again, it lends itself to the NES-bias I see on this list. If I had to place FF1 on this schedule, this a good place for it TBH, I just also wonder if the games after it have much chance of success after it's 4 Hour slot. Overall, it's worth the experiment if nothing else, and I hope it leads to a better chance for games like FFT, Golden Sun and others in the future. I like Gauntlet, a little interesting that Feasel has to stay on for an extra half hour here when he will have just finished running/commentating 4 hours of gameplay prior. The last 2 games do nothing for me sadly.
The Krion Conquest any%
Street Fighter 2010: The Final Fight any%
River City Ransom any%
Moon Crystal any%
Little Samson All Stages Normal
The Addams Family any%
Yume Penguin Monogatari any%
Gremlins 2 any%
Shinobi III: Return of the Ninja Master any% Expert, 0 Kunai
Bishi Bashi Special Hyper Mode any%
JumpJet Rex Adventure Normal
IN GDQ's there are 3 certainties. Super Metroid WILL be there, AwfulGDQ is gonna get 6-7 hours of a graveyard/early morning, and a ton of NES games will be taken, and inevitably dropped in this early morning ass-crack time slot. Only 4 of these games do much for me, those being Krion Conquest, Moon Crsytal, Shinobi III and Bishi Bashi. On the whole, I think this is the weakest part of the schedule, scheduled well as it's mostly game based, and not time-slot based, but I guess I just would like to see the games committee for their next experiment to just take this huge chunk of time given to a bunch of obscure short games, and turn around and hand it to a longer RPG or something else long but with a legit audience and great community behind it. This is the sort of chunk of the schedules I look at and say "Yes, you can fit in FF7 No Slots". Only other thing I want to note is Bishi Bashi is cooky as hell, I would have like to see it given a similar slot to Sega Bass Fishing and the other goofy controller gimmick runs earlier.
Blitz Breaker any%
Secrets of Grindea Arcade Mode co-op
Hyper Light Drifter NG+ any%
Ori and the Blind Forest Definitive Edition Reverse Event Order vs "0 XP" Bid War
SETUP BLOCK 3(Probably SOTN)
Super Castlevania IV any% Race
Really solid mid-day block here, I admittingly don't remember Blitz Breaker, everything else is was stuff I was a fan of. Ori's bid war is bad IMO. 0 XP and Vualajin's name sets REO and Sigma up for failure, as there is less sex appeal from both standpoints. Castlevania has a lot very solid speedwatches, so I think this pre-primetime leading into primetime for it is great.
Castlevania: Rondo of Blood Maria (NG+) Race
Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin Richter any%
Mega Man Network Transmission any%
Mega Man X 100% Race
Mighty No. 9 any%, Beck, Normal
Halo 2 Legendary
Again, I like Castlevania in this slot, and I'll add to it that I like all the Castlevania picks this year, all good watches. We get the closest thing to a Mega Man block, and it's far from traditional. Network Transmission getting this good a slot is one of odder, if not THE oddest prime time game in the schedule, and definitely benefited from just having Mega Man in the title to go with the block. What's odd is Legends which was clammored for more by fans, still got an early AM slot, so is this maybe a kind of audition for seeing if Battle Network games could work in GDQ in the future? X 100% gets it's expected primetime slot with it's usual loaded Race. Mighty No. 9 despite it's poor reception kind of needed to be tried at this prime position. My guess is it will do fine, but not get back in for a long time after. Finally Halo 2 was a great pick at a great slot.
Batman: Arkham City any% No Catwoman
Batman Forever any% co-op
Cool World any%
The Adventuers of Rocky and Bullwinkle and Friends any%
Dragon's Lair any%
A Nightmare on Elm Street 4-Player Co-op
Cheetahmen (Action 52) any%
King of Kings: The Early Years, Jesus and the Temple, Normal
An appropriate slot for Arkham City, and a good modern pick overall IMO. Also conveniently leads us into Awful Block with Batman Forever as the connecter. I actually predicted a completely different set of awful games this year, but for the most part, I like the committee's picks here. Of this group, only Cool World and King of Kings feel mostly forgettable. I DID feel like I saw many solid picks that probably we're just viewed as too long, many pushing close to the hour mark. Again though, as far as Awful games go, these we're solid picks.
T&C 2: Thrilla's Surfari any%
Wayne's World any%
Big Nose the Caveman any%
Donkey Kong 5: The Journey of Over Time and Space any%
Catechumen any% Fledgeling
Cornerstone: The Song of Tyrim any% No Credits Skip
Turok: Dinosaur Hunter any%
Left 4 Dead 1 Original Campaigns Co-op
007: Nightfire any%
I'm a little less high on most of the rest of this awful block, although Thrilla's Surfari is fucking awesome to behold. DK5 should do it for anyone watching, however it's interesting to see after the success of Pepsiman that they moved theboyks into THIS late a slot. You figured they would have pushed it closer to the start of Awful block with Batman Forever, instead it's chilling in the 5AM life. I think the reason to roll out Catechumen is for Impossible and the Hall of Fame showcase, so I'm pretty meh about just throwing a 30 minute bone to Peaches. The final 3 are middling picks to me, although, I thought Turok looked super cool out of the bunch. But pre-midday seems about right for them.
Trauma Center: New Blood Co-op any% Normal
The Legend of Korra NG+ Extreme
Sonic Advance 2 Sonic
Sonic R, 100% No OoB
Sonic Adventure 2: Battle, Dark Story Vs. Hero Story Bid War
SETUP BLOCK 4
Dang dude, from rags to riches for Trauma Center. While I DO think Trauma Center had a good showing during it's Ass-Crack time slot at SGDQ, I didn't think at this length it would get a follow up this fast. Not an AMAZING time slot for it, but still a little better then I expected. Legend of Korra being at this solid a slot is maybe the more shocking pick. A liscenced game met with pretty mediocre reviews placed NOT in graveyard. Shoot I'm surprised it made the schedule, despite the cool looking movement it has access to. Just gonna assume someone on the committee is a Legend of Korra Fan. Sonic Block again is solid, but with no big hitters, the only one being SA2B, which was JUST done, showing how hard it is to scrounge up a little Sonic Block for the committee. While I am an advocate for Sonic Block being primetime, THIS sonic block has an appropriate Mid-Day placement.
Mystery Game Tournament Blind Races
Kirby's Dreamland 3 Best Ending Co-op
The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past any% No Major Glitches Race
I really hope Mystery Game Tournament is a success. Has a good shot at showing another part of the community we don't ever highlight at GDQ's. As for it's scheduling, nice to see the committee throw it some love, Thursday Prime Time is pretty high on the priority list from my standpoint. KDL3 is a weird one for me, I just don't appreciate the game like Kirby fans do. But looking at history, Kirby outside of KSS has always had a hard time getting in, so to see one of it's games get in at 1:40 in length, AND at super Prime Time is a little odd to be completely honest. I feel it's a little long for what it is, and prime time seems just a little too sweet. Finally, A Link to the Past is one of the bigger sure things in the schedule, and it's rightfully being highlighted in a later in the week prime time spot. Best Zelda run of the marathon deserves a sick slot.
Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door Japanese any%
The Legend of Dark Witch - Episode 2 any%
Grief Syndrome any% 1P Co-op
La-Mulana Remake any%
The correct time slot for TTYD, same as Final Fantasy 1. Late Prime Time into graveyard as opposed to a full primetime fill is a good safe way to run these popular games with question marks. 2 Anime games after, and both look solid enough, this is about where they've been in the past. I think New Super Hook Girl could have been paired with this group. La-Mulana Remake looks like a solid longer game pick, sadly due to it's length compared to it's popularity, this also seems about the right time slot.
Titan Souls 100% All Bosses
Flywrench any% Normal Mode
Human: Fall Flat any% 1.0
Action Henk any%
Woolfe: The Red Hood Diaries any%
DuckTales any% Easy
Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire any%
Super Star Wars: Return of the Jedi
Metal Slug 3 any%
8 more Indie style games in the early morning block. I'm personally in a weird place as I don't know how much GDQ's should cater to Indie games. On one hand, being at PAX this year, I can tell speedrunners and indie devs have a good relationship, and games are usually well suited for what we look for. On the other hand, the audiences for these games are very small, so I still think we have too many. It seems the "Bubble" favored indie games this year, and I'd rather that list of indie/small games get cut in half and we give more love to AAA titles, and giving stuff like RPG's more screen time. For the back half of this Early Morning, you've got some good stuff. DuckTales seems super out of place here instead of just shoring up the NES Block from the other day, and I would have liked to see a better time slot in general for the game. The last 3 games are all solid watches with good runners. On the bubble between late Early Morning and Mid-Day seems about right here.
Super C any%
Contra 4 any%
SETUP BLOCK 5 any% (probably Contra 3 Hard Corps)
Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back 100%
Crash Team Racing any% Warpless
Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus any%
Big old bone thrown to Contra with these picks and scheduling. FOUR Contra games in a row, after always hearing that it never did that well at marathons. And on Friday at that. Well, to be honest I hope it does well, 'cause they're pretty exciting watches IMO. After that, the committee pulls another fast one and spends more of their Friday hours on a big Playstation Block. Good for the Playstation Nation, as they really put on a great show at AGDQ 2016 with their early morning, Mid-Day block. The games are all good as well, kicking off with Crash 2 Hundo as a great pace-setter, and their really isn't a weak pick in the batch.
Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy any%
Ratchet & Clank: Going Commando NG+ No IMG Race
Kirby Super Star 100% Race
Not Another Needle Game Bad Ending
Donkey Kong Country Trilogy Relay Race
Playstation Block finishes off strong here with Jak 1 and Headstrong getting a shot after SGDQ, and RAC 2 getting a great race. KSS 100% 4-Way should be sick. Not Another Needle Game I feel might be SLIGHTLY over valued here at super prime-time, but I probably just don't understand how big the Boshy fan game scene is. Finally, the Trilogy Relay is my favorite run of the marathon, should be a true event run that brings people in and deserved this "Best slot in the marathon" Slot. Overall, I like this Prime Time a lot, and while a little surprising that Playstation Nation got this big a piece of the Friday Afternoon pie, I think it's both deserved and not really much of a risk as the games are both popular and good speed watches, they just aren't Nintendo.
Grand Theft Auto: Vice City any% Warpless
Super Mario 3D Land any%
The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap any%
You can pretty easily make the argument Vice City should still be primetime, but this is right after, so it's not a big deal. 3D Land is actually a really fun watch, so I recommend staying up for this one. Minish Cap is another solid Zelda and decent 2 hour watch. That being said, with it's popularity in comparison, this is about the right time slot for it.
Fire Emblem: Blazing Sword any%
Disney's Extreme Skate Adventure any%
Pitfall: The Mayan Adventure any%
Tiny Toon Adventures any%
Tom and Jerry any%
Darkwing Duck any%
SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom any%
That's 4 straight AGDQ Fire Emblem runs. Surprising to see how much they value the series, although the time slot suggests we are probably looking at a break soon. Disney's Extreme Skate Adventure is your Tony Hawk game for this marathon. Yep. Pitfall is solid and it's nice to see Le Hulk get a game. Tiny Toon is alright, another unremarkable NES game. Tom and Jerry is a headscratcher of an inclusion TBH, Darkwing Duck is another Solid Disney Game and SpongeBob deserved to finally get a shot, as it's a pretty good watch. On the whole, early morning slots we're weak this year for my money, lots of games where I'll be surprised if they raise money, make for great runs or even memorable moments outside of a few here and there.
Super Mario Galaxy 2 any%
Super Dram World any%
SETUP BLOCK 6
TASBot plays a mystery game
TASBot plays Donkey Kong Country
While surprised, SMG2 getting in and getting this time slot makes me super happy. It is legit an amazing watch with all the Yoshi Flutters and tricks, and Vallu is the best to ever do it. Hope this is the kind of showcase that allows people to be super impressed and have their minds blown, as opposed to thinking the Galaxy Games are just a nice casual run. I like the games enough to where I think you can make a prime time case for them, but early Mid-Day is still solid enough. Super Dram World should be fun and probably could have been done in a slightly better slot as well, but it doesn't have the name recognition to really make a stink over it. TASBot this year got scaled back in how much time was dedicated to it, now it's JUST 35 minutes and 2 games. Was given it's usual Saturday afternoon slot, but good on the committee for not just giving them an automatic 3 slots if they didn't like all the submissions.
Dark Souls 3 any%
The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD any%
Super Metroid 100% Race
Undertale True Pacifist Ending
The Finale. The first 3 here are pretty close to what they tend to do with the ending, a big Souls game, 3D Zelda, and save/kill those animals. I like the 3 picks, as DS3 is obviously the new hot Souls, generating lots of twitch viewership, WWHD while not having Barrier Skip, still has lots of cool tricks and such, including crazy looking Super Swims, and SM 100% regardless of Save/Kill the Animals is a great Race between 4 of the top players of a great speed game. And I know people will reference all the deaths in these GDQ races, but 100% SHOULD almost never see deaths despite what happened to Epic at AGDQ 2015, so we should see a genuinally good race here, not a fight for survival. Finally, we have Undertale. In a marathon where they are trying a bunch of new things, This seems fair. Certainly different, but you can't deny that it's stupid popular, both casually and in the speedrunning community. Probably wouldn't have been MY pick for the finale, I might have leaned towards WWHD or possibly TTYD, but I don't think Undertale is a bad pick. It might even be a GREAT pick if it's donation incentive raises a few hundred thousand dollars like it could.
So yeah, there you go. Overall, I like what the committee did with MOST of it's prime time slots, good amount of established stuff and trying new things here and there that isn't just random but has earned the shot either in past GDQ's or new games with big fanbases. Middling games with a problem here or there got decent late night or mid-day slots, and those across the board I felt was also mostly appropriate. My biggest problem by far is the "Undercard" that is the Early morning slots. I noted earlier and I'll say it again, I just feel like most of these games won't raise notable donations, make for memorable runs or even have great individual moments, they will all just kind of be there. Yes, maybe this scheduling style is creating a way to get the most runners and games an opportunity, but if it sacrifices the use of longer games with more established speedrunning and casual communities in favor of a dozen small communities for both, then is it really worth it?
I could talk more, but I've been doing this for like 4 hours, soooooo....
TL&DR Good schedule, trying new things is cool, obscure stuff all over the place frustrates me for popular longer games.