Or at least, it will in a few hours from when this gets posted.
Frame Fatales, if you’re not familiar, is a speedrunning marathon event run by the same crew who run Games Done Quick. It’s still a charity speedrunning event, it uses a lot of the same bumpers and plans, but it’s also designed to be a space to showcase and present runners who fit into the categories represented by the simple premise of ‘women.’ That is to say, anyone who’s a woman, whether trans or cis or gender nonconforming or nonbinary.
I imagine for the typical reader of this blog I don’t exactly need to make a case as to why this kind of separate showcase is necessary, but I figure there’s always a chance it’s someone’s first experience with this kind of event, so let’s give you some basic bullet points as to why a no-dudes showcase is useful:
- Twitch, the platform the event runs on, is still an open space for gamers, meaning that the twitch chat can sharply turn into a hostile space. Runners of marginalised groups have dealt with harrassment from such a large audience in the past, and that’s not great! A pointedly smaller event which is easier to moderate and has an explicitly women-centred focus makes it both safer for runners to get involved and easier for the moderators to take care of.
- The existing speedrunning culture has a lot of dudes in it, which means GDQ is biased towards presenting the work of those dudes. A space for women to present their work serves to help address that imbalance, and gets to encourage more women to get involved.
- There’s a very limited amount of slots for GDQ, even though it lasts a week. Making a space for a smaller subcategory of the community, and encouraging a wider variety of people to partake, opens the floor for more niche games, where there’s less active attention, to get to present their own best case.
It’s a not-ideal scenario that this kind of thing is worth having, but it’s good that we have it! And the event has a bunch of stuff I’m going to recommend you check out!
The schedule for the event is here, and it even localises to your time. The stuff I’m looking forward to is based on runners doing the runs, and the games they’re doing.
First up, I love Lizstar’s runs. There’s something about Frame Fatales, I find, where the whole grouping tends to be more likely to present games from consoles and platforms that aren’t as America-centric. I mean Sega. Really, that’s what I mean, Nintendo and Playstation and Xbox are the consoles that took hold in the US and that means that a lot of the classic or retro games you see on the GDQ stage tend to come from that stock. Lizstar tends to present more obscure material from other consoles (like the Saturn and Master Systems). I have no idea what Tall Twins Tower is, gunna be fun to find out.
Then there’s a Skyward Sword run, which is a Zelda game that doesn’t tend to get looked at as often as any of the big ones. It does clock in at almost two hours, so think of it as a bulky movie if you’re going to sit down and watch it, I wouldn’t expect it to rip along, and for there to be a fair bit of downtime for the runners to explain things.
I’m excited to see the speedrun of the awkward-to-control atmospheric game FAITH: Chapter III. The game is an atmospheric horror-type! Those games tend towards being hard to control and punishing when you lose, and speedrunners often have to understand how they work, how they don’t fail, and that can be both interesting to watch happen and fun to pick up tricks for making the game more handleable when you’re playing casually.
There are also runs of Stray and Tunic, which are games I am interested in because they look cute, and they’re not super short, which means it’ll be a chance to watch how the games play, and get a clear impression of the kinds of things the game thinks of as meaningful. I’m not too proud to pretend I don’t go into games the first time having seen speedrunners break the mechanics and tell me how to do it so that I can play the game knowing what I’m not meant to bother trying. Speedrunners are a particular kind of expert after all!
There’s also going to be a run of the Most Forgotten Sonic game, Tails Adventure, and better yet it’s a glitchless any% run! This is a run that’s nearing on a ‘free bronze’ category of speedrun, because the game has so few people doing the 100% run, and the game is really cute and charming. When you hear about Sonic The Hedgehog games, the ‘explorer puzzle platformer’ wasn’t probably what you expected to get out of the early handhelds!
And and and, SaberaMesia is going to be up and running Axiom Verge — which is super cool, because she’s great, and that’s a game full of bright, exciting looking movement and combat. I understand not only is she great at the game and charming and funny to talk to, but also, could probably do this run in a cute frilly apron. I believe in her, and so should you.
What I really wonder about is why they’re calling this one, which happens right in the hottest part of summer, ‘Frost Fatales.’ I have to assume there’s some really clever literary reference here, about paths not travelled. Was that Robert Frost? Probably. I’m not going to check, certainly not for this momentary joke.
If you’re reading this now, when my timer normally drops it, then Frost Fatales hasn’t started yet. It’s not going to start for a few hours, in fact. I’m going to miss a big chunk of the day’s fun because unlike GDQ, Frame Fatales goes to bed and values the idea of taking breaks and operating at the level you can manage. No need to worry about what you missed, though – they’re going to get uploaded to Youtube to watch in full in your own time!