This weekend, the folks at Games Done Quick put together a charity speedrun event to raise funds for covid-19 relief. Games Done Quick events are typically a speedrun showcase, meaning the games featured are meant to be completed as fast as possible. But every so often, an event will pop up on the schedule that’s not a game speedrun. Twitch streamer HappyF333tz’s run of Pump It Up was about talent, not speed. His event also featured one of the coolest games GDQ has ever run.
Pump it Up is an arcade dance game akin to Dance Dance Revolution, where the player stomps on arrows in time with audio and visual cues. The faster the song, the higher the difficulty, but playing on even the simplest of difficulties requires above-average levels of foot-eye coordination and cardio strength. Pump It Up isn’t a game you play, it’s a game you endure.
HappyF333tz, however, makes Pump It Up look like a walking simulator.
For starters, most mortals play these kinds of games with only one of the two dance pads. Playing with both doubles the number of buttons you must hit. Particularly heinous songs require you to tap arrows on opposite sides of the pads. HappyF333tz electric slides his way across the two dance pads with the skill of a Michael Jackson impersonator moonwalking on a greased floor.
HappyF333tz’s setup is just as impressive as his skill. His Pump It Up cabinet is housed in a room that looks like it’s devoted exclusively to streaming. He’s got neon mood lighting, tons of gaming-themed decor, and even a monitor that’s devoted to displaying Twitch chat so he can keep an eye on the conversation. Conspicuously absent, though, is an open window. Anyone who’s spent time holed up in a closed room with a running computer knows it can get warm. A room with a $10,000 arcade cabinet with speakers and lights and screens all running can practically become a sauna. Thankfully, there’s an industrial fan at his feet providing some relief, though he told the audience that he turned it off because he didn’t want the sound of the fan interfering with the audio.
I tried to find something profound to say about this—something about speedruns taxing the limit of a game while Pump It Up taxes the limits of the human body. But anything I could say about this is woefully inadequate compared to the simple statement of facts. This man played what is essentially DDR on steroids, on the highest difficulty, in a room superheated by dozens of running electronics with no relief from his fan, talking the entire time, for an hour straight.
Catch the whole run here.
Ash Parrish is a freelance writer and a good mom to her dog and a bad mom to her plant. Read her rants about esports, video games, and her precious Shanghai Dragons on Twitter @adashtra.