Speed Demos Archive

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Speed Demos Archive
SDA Logo.png
Type of site
Gaming website
Available inEnglish
Alexa rankIncrease 98,275 (July 2017)[1]
LaunchedApril 1998; 20 years ago (1998-04)
Current statusActive

Speed Demos Archive (commonly known as simply SDA) is a website dedicated to video game speedruns. SDA's primary focus is hosting downloadable, high-quality speedrun videos, and currently has runs of over eleven hundred games, with more being added on a regular basis. SDA also hosts two annual speedrunning charity marathons, Awesome Games Done Quick and Summer Games Done Quick. It has so far hosted thirteen marathons, and has raised over $10 million for various charities, with the most successful so far being Awesome Games Done Quick 2018, which raised nearly $2.3 million for the Prevent Cancer Foundation.


The site originally began as a demo archive of Quake playthroughs. SDA was formed initially by Nolan "Radix" Pflug of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania by merging with a site created by Gunnar and Jesse in April 1998. In 2004 after the success of his own 100% Metroid Prime run, Radix expanded SDA to include demos of other games. Mike Uyama took over in 2006 as the site's administrator. In January 2010, SDA ran its first charity marathon, Classic Games Done Quick, raising over $10,000 for CARE.[citation needed]


As of March 2018, SDA hosts speedrun videos of almost thirteen hundred games. All of these runs are available for download, and almost all are available in multiple video qualities. The site includes videos of popular games as Mega Man, Metroid, The Legend of Zelda, Super Mario Bros. and Sonic the Hedgehog. The site has been featured numerous times in publications such as Electronic Gaming Monthly and G4tv's Attack of the Show!. Some of the runs also appeared in an episode of Pure Pwnage.

Submissions to SDA undergo a verification process, where community members who are familiar with a game watch a run and verify the run's quality, both in terms of video quality and gameplay quality, and make sure it follows SDA's rules. Each run is reviewed by multiple verifiers, who report back to the site's staff; the staff then makes the final decision on whether or not to accept the run, and the verdict is posted along with the verifiers' responses publicly in the forum. Following an accept, a run is encoded in multiple qualities and added to the update queue; eventually, it gets posted on the site alongside the runner's comments. Some runs also contain a second audio track with commentary.


SDA accepts speedruns in three categories:

  • Segmented, where the run is done in multiple parts using the in-game save system. These runs typically receive higher scrutiny compared to runs in other categories, as they are expected to be of higher quality since the player is able to retry each section of the game individually as many times as they want.
  • Single-segment, where the entire game is beaten from start to finish in a single sitting. Single-segment runs are not allowed to reset the game, except in cases where a reset is required to continue the game.
  • Single-segment with resets; as the name implies, this category is similar to single-segment runs, but resets are allowed. Not every game is eligible for this category; the staff approves or disapproves the category for specific games in cases where the resets save enough time over a normal single-segment run.

SDA accepts runs following three different completion requirements: any%, the "pure-speed" run, where the game is beaten as fast as possible; the 100% run, where the player gets everything and finishes the game; and the low% run, where the player beats the game with the lowest completion percentage possible. Other categories, like different versions of the same game, are allowed on a game-by-game basis. Some games include a category that involves a major skip glitch which may include skipping an entire portion of the game using multiple glitches to skip levels which do not occur in a standard any% speedrun without the use of major skip glitches. An example of this would be Oddworld: Abe's Oddysee on which the large-skip run allows the runner to beat the game in 11 minutes.[2]

Runs must be performed on their native consoles, or for PC games, on certain PC configurations; runs on emulators are not allowed for a multitude of reasons, chief among them the difficulty in confirming that the run is not tool-assisted. In-game glitches and exploits are allowed; in some cases in games with heavy glitches, a separate no-major-skips category is created. Non-cosmetic modifications to the game and modifications to the console or controller are not allowed. Glitches that are triggered by interfering with the normal operation of the console or game media while the game is running, such as the N64's "crooked cartridge" trick, are not allowed.

Runs are required to be recorded using direct-feed capture, usually using a capture card or DVD recorder. In some cases, runs can be rejected for poor video quality.

Charity work[edit]

Following an initial meetup at MAGFest, the SDA community, inspired by TheSpeedGamers, began their first charity marathon in January 2010, titled Classic Games Done Quick.[3] Both direct-feed gameplay footage and webcam footage of the runners were live-streamed on SDA's homepage. The marathon was a success, raising over $10,000 for CARE.[4][5] Starting in 2011, SDA began two annual marathons: Awesome Games Done Quick during the winter, and Summer Games Done Quick during the summer. Each subsequent marathon has become substantially more successful than its last iteration, with AGDQ 2011 and AGDQ 2012 raising $53,000 and $149,000 respectively for the Prevent Cancer Foundation.[6][7][8][9][10]

In April 2011, following the Great East Japan earthquake, SDA put together a marathon titled Japan Relief Done Quick. The marathon was executed by having each runner live-stream their run from their home, rather than having everyone travel to a central location. JRDQ raised $25,000 for Doctors Without Borders.[11][12]

During the marathons, a chip-in widget is placed beneath the streaming video, which visually displays how much has been donated so far, and which allows people watching the runs to donate money directly to the charity through a PayPal account. Viewers who donate are given the option to have a message sent to the marathon attendees to be read during the stream, allowing them to vote with their donation money for, among other things, which games they want played, what they want in-game characters to be named, or to request runners to perform specific feats such as difficult tricks or glitches. Prizes are available throughout the marathon; all donors are entered into a raffle to win them provided they meet the varying minimum donation sum within the time window for each prize. All donations always count towards the grand prizes, but most other prizes require donating during certain game runs or themed game blocks.

On 27 January 2013, SDA announced that AGDQ 2013 had raised $448,423.27,[13] surpassing Desert Bus for Hope 6's donation total of $443,165.29 to become the most successful single gaming charity marathon at the time.[citation needed] On 1 August 2013, SDA announced a donation total of $255,160.62 from the SGDQ 2013 marathon.[14] On 16 January 2014, SDA announced over $1,025,000 in donations raised from their AGDQ 2014 event.[14] Summer Games Done Quick 2014, was held from 22–28 June, and raised over $718,000 for Doctors Without Borders.

It was determined that AGDQ 2015 raised over $1.5 million for the Prevent Cancer Foundation, after it was discovered that a problem with the tracker omitted some $400,000 in user donations.[15]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Speeddemosarchive.com Traffic, Demographics, and Competitors". Alexa Internet. Retrieved 2017-07-06.
  2. ^ "Oddworld: Abe's Oddysee". Speed Demos Archive. Retrieved 4 July 2016.
  3. ^ "Charity marathon conclusion". Speed Demos Archive. 4 January 2008. Retrieved 6 January 2012.
  4. ^ "Speed Demos Archive - Old News". Speed Demos Archive. 29 August 2010. Retrieved 21 January 2014.
  5. ^ "Classic Games Done Quick -- Index". Retrieved 21 January 2014.
  6. ^ Wood, Jim (2 March 2011). "Speed Demos Archive Marathon Raises Over $53,000 in Cancer Prevention Funding". Prevent Cancer Foundation. Retrieved 21 January 2014.
  7. ^ "Awesome Games Done Quick 2011 -- Index". Retrieved 21 January 2014.
  8. ^ Jensen, Cheryssa (11 January 2012). "Gaming for Good: Charity Video Game Marathon Raises Over $145,000 for Cancer Prevention". Prevent Cancer Foundation. Retrieved 9 August 2012.
  9. ^ "Awesome Games Done Quick 2012 -- Index". Retrieved 21 January 2014.
  10. ^ "Awesome Games Done Quick - Done Quick". Retrieved 28 January 2014.
  11. ^ "Past Events Showcase". Doctors Without Borders Events. Retrieved 21 January 2014.
  12. ^ "Japan Relief Done Quick -- Index". Retrieved 21 January 2014.
  13. ^ "Speed Demos Archive - Old News". Speed Demos Archive. 6 May 2013. Retrieved 16 January 2014.
  14. ^ a b "Speed Demos Archive". Speed Demos Archive. 16 January 2014. Retrieved 16 January 2014.
  15. ^ AGDQ 2015 - Part 27. 11 January 2015.

External links[edit]