What Makes Spikevegeta Run
Published on February 3, 2019
Story and Photo by Keir Chapman
Rockville, MD — Asa “Spikevegeta” Tims hosts every Games Done Quick (GDQ) event, but won’t go as far as to agree that he is the face of the organization. However, just a short walk around the conference center at the Bethesda North Marriott Hotel reveals that Spikevegeta is beloved by all in attendance.
Accidentally in Love
Growing up, Spikevegeta’s family could not afford much in the way of video games. This is how he fell in love with speed running before the community truly existed.
“I remember particularly, Donkey Kong Countryand Mega Man X. I just did versions of speed runs,” Spikevegeta said. “I wanted to see if I could beat them faster each time. That’s the way I found replay value in these games that don’t inherently have a ton.”
Like many of the original Games Done Quick (GDQ) members, Spikevegeta connected with other speed runners on Speed Demos Archive (speeddemosarchive.com) in 2004. In 2006, Spikevegeta began running Kingdom Hearts 2, which he cited as his first ever submitted time.
The Host With the Most
Spikevegeta’s first GDQ event was Summer Games Done Quick (SGDQ) in 2011, where he volunteered as a player. Immediately, he knew he wanted to be part of the production as well. His background in theater, paired with a natural rambunctious personality, gave him the tools to succeed as a host.
Although Spikevegeta said it took some time to grow into the host role, he felt embraced by the speed running community the moment he arrived at SGDQ 2011.
“Someone said they loved me in the final announcement when we were closing down the event,” Spikevegeta said. “I knew from that moment, that was a community of people I wanted to be a part of.”
While Spikevegeta embraces the love he receives, it is not the reason he continues coming to GDQ events. Speed running is clearly his passion, an activity he would gladly partake in, even if no one was watching.
According to Spikevegeta, he has learned about 40 different games and is always looking for ways to expand his speed running knowledge. One of his favorite aspects of GDQ is that the commentary allows speed running fans to learn the nuances of a wide variety of games.
“I like that you get to see speed running with commentary that you wouldn’t see anywhere else,” Spikevegeta said. “You can watch other streams every day, where the finer details can get lost.”
Aside from detailed commentary, Spikevegeta believes the charity aspect of GDQ is the defining characteristic of the organization’s events. He had the privilege to be commentating at AGDQ 2014, when the event first broke $1 million in donations. He marveled at the rapid growth of GDQ, as the original Classic Games Done Quick in 2010 raised a little more than $10,500.
“It’s a great representation of the human spirit. People want to fight. People want to come together,” Spikevegeta said. “It shows the love in people’s hearts.”
Racers, On Your Marks
Outside of GDQ, Spikevegeta works to grow the speed running community. Almost one year ago, he and Jeff “JHobz” Hobson, launched a new speed running race series called “Speedrunning Underground.” The intention behind the series is to highlight the more competitive aspects of speed running.
With change comes concern. There are some that feel the creation of speed running leagues will turn speed running into more of an eSport and change the nature of the genre. Cash prizes also give some people pause. Spikevegeta believes adding money to the equation brings about better runs.
“I’ve always appreciated money as a motivator,” Spikevegeta said. “Even if it’s just a little bit of money, it’s always surprising how much more fun it can make it for the runners and the viewers watching from home.”
Give It a Try
At the end of the day, what’s most important to Spikevegeta is seeing speed running grow. He recommends it is a hobby for anyone with a love for gaming and says it doesn’t matter whether or not one becomes a world record holder at a specific game. The enjoyment comes from the satisfaction of knowing the game inside and out.
This passion for speed running has been prevalent in Spikevegeta’s life well before he became a prominent figure in the community. It’s what has allowed him to take command of the stage at GDQs and help turn the speed running genre into a more competitive field. With all of the success he has seen, Spikevegeta is still driven by his love for learning games.
“I love being able to appreciate all of the different flavors of speed running,” Spikevegeta said. “I appreciate just getting to appreciate them.”