Building a following by playing videogames for charity

Trihex

Fair warning… this is another one of my posts where I get to geek out. The one I did before was about how movement is an art. If anything, I hope people will at least have a slight bit more compassion for videogame communities and treating people like people (who have different hobbies), which is a value I treasure as someone who grew up feeling different. So… let’s start off with the photo above of me with Trihex (the dude who is the “TriHard” Twitch emote and speedruns Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island as seen in the video below). He is an awesome person whom I had the pleasure of meeting in Las Vegas at the Evo fighting videogame tournament in 2015 (aside from seeing him at the SGDQ 2014 speedrunning charity event). Trihex has quite the following on the Twitch livestreaming site for videogamers (currently part of Amazon) and has been doing it for quite a while. He had great advice for me as a fellow speedrunner that is highly applicable to anything in life simply because we are human. Basically, he told me that I should focus on what I am passionate about. Don’t worry about the number of followers or viewers. Do what you enjoy. If you do that, then you are willing to keep up a fun hobby even when working a job, going through school, and facing some rough times. Don’t worry about what’s popular. You do you. I wholeheartedly appreciated this advice as someone literally just starting DPT school. Boy… was that a grueling first year of studying pretty much all the time (perhaps a topic for another blog post).

Leading into another speedrunning story that is more relevant to what I am learning as a Physical Therapy student… Runnerguy2489 who speedruns The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (OoT)… when he is not working as a civil engineer. As a generous gentleman, he helped out a blind individual by going through the hassle of mapping out how to play Zelda OoT blindfolded, which you can check out in the playlist starting with the video down below. I thought it was a great idea for improving accessibility and being able to share with others the experience of playing a 3D Zelda game. Runnerguy is a really great person and I was thrilled when he hopped onto my Twitch stream a few years ago to say hi and that as a fellow runner, he understood the meaning of my username “26pt2” (hint: the number of miles in a marathon race).

So how did I know about Trihex and Runnerguy2489? Although we met virtually through Twitch and then in person at SGDQ or Evo, I first started seeing them on YouTube when replays of AGDQ/SGDQ were uploaded and showing up in my feed. So what is AGDQ (Awesome Games Done Quick) or SGDQ (Summer Games Done Quick)? Both are charity events run by SDA (Speed Demos Archive), in which AGDQ typically is hosted live in the East Coast during the winter and SGDQ is hosted in the Southwest during the summer. More information can be found at the website here: https://gamesdonequick.com/. The whole crew is extremely professional and the events are well-organized. I had a blast being at the event and meeting people. Below is a video of my appearance as a commentator during SGDQ 2014. Now, mind you, this was an exciting time as one of two the Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures speedrunners because it is a grueling, long process to apply as a speedrunner for SDGQ (and even moreso for AGDQ). SGDQ has been known to be more accepting during the scheduling for more… obscure games. The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures is definitely one of the blacksheep of the whole Zelda series but you can find out more as Zmaster discusses during the run in 2014. However, I would highly recommend watching the updated run at SGDQ 2016 with the route changes by playing the Japanese version and being able to perform cool tricks that skip major portions of individual levels. Overall, the experience of being live in person was nerve-wracking because of how many people were viewing. I was getting Facebook wall posts from college friends and Twitch inbox messages. The awesome part was how meeting face-to-face with popular Twitch streamers was not a surprise because they were exactly how they acted on their streams.

And here was my fastest speedrun of the Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures (I know… not even close, though I tried)

Lastly, below is my treasured “Palace of the Four Sword” run from the remake The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past & Four Swords (Gameboy Advance). When I glanced through the SDA (Speed Demos Archive) forums for speedrun requests, I noticed an interesting one about doing an all-in-one go for the extra bonus dungeon in the GBA (Gameboy Advance) remake of aLttP (a Link to the Past). When I kept searching on YouTube and Twitch, nothing popped up. As far as I knew, no one else tried. So… what did I do? Innovate and figure it out. This was just a hobby during my free time while taking PT school pre-requesites, doing the GRE, and getting more PT setting observation hours. I spent quite a while learning from the original Japanese 1.0 aLttP speedrunners to figure out the routes, the techniques, the tricks, and how to navigate out-of-bounds (a necessary feat to complete this run without having to play the multiplayer Four Swords game). On an ending note, the coolest thing about communities like distance runners and videogamers is that they are very accessible and willing to share. In my video below, I shared my notes in the hopes that someone would take up the challenge and offer me some competition. I know this was seemingly way off topic for one of my blog posts but I hope you enjoy “me being me” as someone who grew up with hadoukens and 1up mushrooms. I hope that one day in the future, I get to partake in a videogame charity event for a cause related to my career. Maybe I will host the event? Volunteer to read off donations? Do one of the speedruns? Who knows? Throwing a wild idea out there… would I consider opening up a clinic that is geared towards gamers, especially esports atheletes? Or help someone else achieve that goal? As a fellow gamer and a soon-to-be Physical Therapist (as opposed to someone who does not understand the culture and thinks it might be… nice)? Who knows? Until next time, have a good one!

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