It’s officially the most wonderful time of the year. Sure the holiday season might be over and the monotony of daily life resumes after having so little to do, but even the existential dread that comes with the start of a new year can’t ruin this event. It’s time for Awesome Games Done Quick, a week of speedrunning that is oddly satisfying, and this year there’s one strange run that could quite possible steal the show: a Guitar Hero clone aptly named Clone Hero.
This may not be your traditional AGDQ run, and its placement as one of the final games of the week next Saturday (January 11) around 10AM PT (1PM ET/6PM GMT) puts it in the company of some of the biggest and most popular runs of the week, but this will be something special. All the runs from the event will obviously show off impressive skill, but Clone Hero may just top them all with a display of hand eye coordination that is certainly fitting for the biggest speedrunning event out there.
“Getting Clone Hero accepted into AGDQ was a massive shot in the dark,” Frosted, the person who will be running Clone Hero at AGDQ, tells me. “I watched a Stepmania showcase a while back on YouTube, so I knew the event would at least consider a rhythm game. When I put the submission forward, I was wholeheartedly expecting to get denied. Turns out, fate has its way and I got accepted, which is likely the best thing that’s happened to me in the past five years.”
The Clone Hero session won’t exactly be a speedrun, as the songs are played at a set speed, so this is more of a technical showcase than anything else. But that doesn’t mean this isn’t worth tuning in for. Frosted is a Guitar Hero veteran who has been playing since 2006 and focuses on playing the hardest songs out there. For this event, he has chosen a selection of songs that will show just what the Clone Hero community has turned the five fret rhythm action genre into over the past few years.
“I want my showcase to be what the Clone Hero community is made of, rather than a full-on look at me touch buttons for a while,” says Frosted. “While I will still be pressing a lot of buttons, I’ve cherry-picked specific songs that showcase the community. I picked these songs and in this order to show off the game’s mechanics, show off community creations, and show off a bunch of different skill aspects. Soulless 4 is a crowd-favourite and probably the most popular song in Clone Hero – it’s up there with Through the Fire and Flames for sure. I was also able to talk to Herman Li, the guitarist from Dragonforce, to get permission to use Highway to Oblivion and Through the Fire and Flames for the event, so that’s fantastic.”
The setlist for the run includes Dragonforce – Highway to Oblivion (Overchart), AXS – Cataclysm, Soinhumane – Crisis City, Jarvis9999 – Prevail, Steve Oimette (Cover of The Charlie Daniels Band) – The Devil Went Down to Georgia (175% Speed) and Exilelord – Soulless 4. However a donation incentive could add another fan favourite to the end of the set – Frosted has promised to play Dragonforce’s Through the Fire and Flames one handed if it’s met.
For those who aren’t Clone Hero aficionados, all of the above may sound like gibberish, but outside of Through The Fire And Flames, The Devil Went Down to Georgia will probably ring some bells for those that played Guitar Hero 3. The song is infamous for its difficulty, and Frosted will be playing it at 175% speed.
“The song that’ll be the toughest for me is likely The Devil Went Down to Georgia on 175% speed,” says Frosted. “It’s hailed as the hardest song from Guitar Hero 3 and for a good reason – it took me a ridiculous amount of effort to get 100% of the song on 165% speed.No one’s even attempted 175%.”
Frosted admits that the chances of him getting a full combo (hitting 100% of the notes without overstrumming) will be near impossible for this song, and probably for most of the list. But even if he does miss some notes on the day due to nerves, you will still be amazed at what he can pull off.
“I am quite nervous,” Frosted adds. “I’ve still not decided whether or not I’ll even have a microphone on for the event – I might just let couch commentary do all the heavy lifting. I know I won’t perform at a level so terrible it can’t be shown, but I do have days where I just play worse and I hope my showcase day isn’t one of those.”
Clone Hero may not be one of the more traditional runs in AGDQ history, but that could be what makes this one of the best runs of the week. After days of clock watching this will be a refreshing change that will challenge what you think about Guitar Hero. On paper it may not sound as interesting as a speedrun of Control or Untitled Goose Game, but when the week is over, I can guarantee this will be a run that sticks in your mind.
Just be warned that as soon as the stream draws to a close, you’ll be heading up to the loft to try and find your old plastic guitar like its 2009 all over again.