Sunday Sesh: Check out the Harvey Relief Done Quick marathon and help out the Houston Food Bank

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Hurricane Harvey, a juggernaut of a 500-year storm (that means it has a 1 in 500 chance of occurring in any year) dropped 33 trillion gallons of water on the US. While news abounds of devastation and loss, it’s the personal narratives that have really struck me. A very good friend who hired me as a tutor when I needed some extra money during grad school lost his home two weeks after moving to Houston. His family had to be rescued by boat. Others have gone without food and necessary supplies, and one friend from Dallas gathered a U-Haul of baby clothes, diapers, food, and water to distribute to folks in Houston who need it. While it can often feel overwhelming trying to figure out what to do in the face of natural, compelling forces, the video game speed run community over at Games Done Quick has decided to take action, quickly organizing a charity weekend marathon to raise money for the Houston Food Bank, one of the better organizations to whom you can send relief. The stream so far has raised $130k, and it’s still running for another 12 hours or so.

At the time of writing, NME is playing through Super Ghouls ‘N Ghosts with a target time of 50 minutes. Still on deck today are:

  • Wario Land 4
  • The End Is Nigh
  • Viewtiful Joe
  • Dishonored (All Collectibles)
  • The Legend of Zelda (No Up+A)
  • The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (Swordless, Randomized Race)
  • Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island (Race)
  • Setup Kart 64 (150cc All Cups)
  • Super Metroid (100% Map Race)
  • Final Fantasy IV

That’s a fantastic lineup for a stellar weekend of speed runs. For those unfamiliar, a speed run is a type of competitive play through a video game (most often a classic like the original Legend of Zelda or Super Mario 64), often with special categories like any % completion, no glitches, and even wilder challenges. Many of the famous runners you’ll see this weekend (most of whom are streaming from home due to the extremely brief organization period of the charity) have spent years practicing a single game, trying plays over and over and over again to nail the perfect execution and to discover neat shortcuts inadvertently programmed into a game’s code. While gaming in general is often a horrid, poisonous community full of rampant misogyny and immaturity, the Games Done Quick organization stands as a bright light. Its last major event, Summer Games Done Quick (hosted earlier this summer) raised $1.7 million in donations for charity! While Harvey Relief Done Quick will come nowhere near that sum, the organization’s rapid, heartfelt response to tragedy is something to be praised.

If you’d like to check out GDQ’s site and donate to the Houston Food Bank, you can do so here.

I’d also like to take a moment to acknowledge that while many of us in the US are understandably focused on the massive devastation wrought in our own backyard, millions in South Asia are suffering due to unprecedented floods across India, Bangladesh, and Nepal. At least 1200 people have died from flooding and infrastructure damage. At least 1.8 million children have been shut out of their schools. Experts estimate that 40 million people have been impacted by the devastation. While we’re reeling from Harvey, many, many more people the world over are suffering.

If you’d like to send some aid to the people of South Asia, there are a number of established charities you can use. Unicef is one highly rated charity that spends little on overhead and works actively to improve the lives of children. Islamic Relief USA is also highly rated and has set up a direct fund for South Asian flood survivors.

If you’ve got some extra cash burning a hole in your pocket, consider foregoing that extra digital purchase on Bandcamp and toss some money at a good cause. We’ll be here watching folks play classic games in the meantime.

(Photos VIA and VIA)

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