Students Changing the World — One Video Game at a Time
“I am a speedrunner,” Dylan Jock, a sophomore English minor, says. A speedrunner is a person who attempts to beat a video game as quickly as possible.
Every January and July in St. Paul, Minnesota, a group of hardcore gamers gathers together to raise money for the charity Doctors Without Borders, which delivers “emergency medical aid to people affected by conflict, epidemics, disasters, or exclusion from health care.” Dylan has participated since summer 2014 in this series of video game marathons, called Games Done Quick, which feature “high-level gameplay by speedrunners raising money for charity”:
Games Done Quick has teamed up with several charities in its six-year history, including Doctors Without Borders and the Prevent Cancer Foundation. To date, Games Done Quick has raised over 8 million dollars for charity! We also average over 1400 people in attendance at our events, including staff, volunteers, runners, and attendees just looking to have fun and support the event!
According to Dylan, GDQ rents out a hotel (“usually the Hilton”) and has food catered and delivered for seven days. People are scheduled to play video games for every single hour—over 160 of them. The players and games are live-streamed on the Internet and viewers are encouraged to donate money for the charity.
“Video games are important and nostalgic for people,” Dylan says about the concept. It isn’t just someone playing a video game, it is “seeing someone skillfully playing through a game” that entices viewers. Dylan has met people from around the world. He says that the “charity aspect is cool, but also the main community getting together is awesome. You get to meet your friends from around the world when they only know you as your username.”
To Dylan says, speedrunning is about thinking outside the box and sharing findings with others in the community. Occasionally, he must write “a convincing pitch” in order to have his game played in the first place. There are over 700 runners in the event, so the organization has to prioritize. Convincing pitches are helpful in this case. His English minor will come in handy during these times! He also says that “being able to properly communicate makes [him] a more prevalent figure in the community.”
Thank you, Dylan, for showing us the fun and productive things English transfers can do over the summer!