It's funny how these things happen: I started 2016 with a back injury in March, leading to surgery the week before Awesome Games Done Quick 2017. With nothing better to do and a swath of free time, I tuned in, watching live an event I'd only ever seen in recordings of years past. Now, it's probably obvious that VODs don't capture the energy of a live event very well beyond highlights, but even though I was stuck on a couch for the week of the event, it felt more real and visceral than the short videos I'd watched before. I ended up talking quite a bit with Tina Wuest, who attended the event, and while she herself was busy with all the goings on, she managed to keep me amped throughout the week and in good spirits, despite the excruciating pain of recovery. By the end of the week, I got to watch now-familiar faces make amazing marathon runs, including a "that's never happened before" boss skip in Blaster Master by skavenger216 and Brossentia's infamous WolfQuest run that symbolically snuffed the life out of "2016". Already feeling an amazing passion and energy I hadn't for a while, Tina introduced me to authorblues, and from there, everything snowballed to where I'm at today.
After AGDQ, I got to following dozens of Twitch streamers, but felt most at home in auth's stream. Through his chat and by meandering through a growing web of social connections, I eventually met Skybilz, matchboxmatt, DorkmasterFlek, panzerdave, and so many more. Everywhere I went, there were more fantastic people to get to know, and before I knew it, I was being poked and prodded into attending Summer Games Done Quick 2017 in Minneapolis! Conveniently, Mr. Bond and TucanSam also managed to get their co-op run of Assault Android Cactus in, which pretty much sealed the deal. Now, while I'd already convinced Saxxon to come along with us, I'd also convinced Tina to not only room with us at the event, but also visit before and after — it was the very last two nights of her visit that marked my beginning of my speedrunning career.
The event itself, including all of the anxiety and stress and excitement leading up to it, was perhaps one of the most influential weeks of my life, as not only did I thoroughly enjoy myself the entire time, but I strengthened existing friendships, and made several new and outstanding connections. For the first time in years, I felt like I was appreciated, in the right place, and with the right people; in short, the event and those who made it special for me really moved me. On top of everything else, I was introduced to EnchantressOfNumbers, another Madison resident with whom I became fast friends.
Within days of SGDQ ending, EoN and I were already hanging out, getting dinner together with our partners, and finding excuses to hang out. Between all the banter and speedrun practice we joked, "What if we made our own marathon? We could do eight-way TGM!" While the thought was nice, at the time it seemed out of reach, as neither of us had any experience planning a large event, never mind figuring out how to benefit a charity properly. As the weeks went on, though, and EoN and I eventually attended Midwest Speedfest back up in the Minneapolis metropolitcan area, our conversations became more focused and driven. About a week ago, we decided "h*ck it, let's get planning!", and started consulting with friends on just how much equipment and know-how goes into making a successful event.
Turns out that it's quite a lot, and that planning something with just the two of us would be incredibly difficult. Despite that, we had our ambitions set and still wanted to continue forward. As we began purchasing our first wave of equipment, it dawned on me that 1. I'm a producer, 2. I'm already the co-owner of a game studio, 3. Project management is really fun, and 4. The name of our game studio is Zero Hour Productions; why not produce marathon events as well as games?! The idea seemed brilliant, as we'd be able to have weekend game jams on stream, promote our own material, host our own charity marathons throughout the year, and even offer our services to other local events that want their own speedrunning showcase. With that, I approached the other co-owners of ZHP, and after discussing the costs, requirements, and potential timelines, we decided to take this on as an official Zero Hour Productions endeavor.
What does that mean for the future? For starters, we still need to work down the list of equipment to purchase, and despite having more people to spread the cost between, it's still very expensive and will take a considerable amount of time! We're essentially purchasing all of the equipment necessary to run audio, video, and streaming for ourselves, including racks, mixers, headsets, RGB-modded consoles, an army of OSSCs and Framemeisters, and everything else in-between. That said, though we will be acquiring hardware over the next several months, we still do intend on doing SOME kind of marathon before the end of 2017, most likely something to benefit Extra Life. Our hope is that we'll have everything from our list acquired, tested, and ready to go sometime in mid-2018! Once we'll have had a chance to do a trial run of things, we'll publish more information about the marathon we plan to host in Madison and how to submit runs.
In the meantime, while we continue to purchase supplies and equipment, I encourage all who are interested in helping us get this off the ground to subscribe to my Twitch account: any Twitch earnings will be invested in equipment for the marathon! My hope is that with a little help from friends and supporters of our case, we can get this going sooner than later; thank you!
Love and lava cookies,