If you aren't familiar with speed running, it is a real treat to watch. You'll see games that you played as a child destroyed by players who have mastered them to the extent that they appear to be psychic ninjas. There are often lots of neat tricks from clever little moves to save a few seconds, to outrageous glitches that skip whole levels.
Last night, at the end of the first day, they had some tool assisted runs. These runs were played on actual consoles by a robot programmed with a set of moves. The runs included a Mario Kart game where each level was won in about 20 or 30 seconds by bouncing off of objects and falling on holes to trick the game into thinking you had crossed the finish line - neat stuff like that.
But most impressively there was a game of Super Mario World where they somehow, by sending inputs through all eight controller ports, modified the table where the game stores objects to program a playable Pong and Snake into the SNES's memory. Watching the run I was completely baffled, it was so far beyond what should be possible.
The marathon goes until January 11 and is in support for the Prevent Cancer Foundation which may or may not be a great cancer charity in the vast sea of cancer charities. I have a fair bit of faith in the guys that run the marathon that they picked a charity that is pretty good. There are various incentives to donate towards, and if you type in a message they read it online at a slow part of whatever game they are playing.
You can check the schedule to see if there are games you are interested in, but I find that even games I don't know anything about can be fun to watch just because the level of play is so entertaining to watch. There is a good chance someone other than me likes this, and who knows, you might be that someone. Check it out.