The overarching goal of the Game & Schedule team is to create a schedule that maximises ESA's opportunity to fundraise for charity and entertain the audience at home.
When deciding whether a suggested game will fit into the final schedule, the largest individual considerations are: (in no particular order)
- Entertainment value
- Commentary quality
- Fundraising potential
We prioritise these qualities over others such as game popularity or leaderboard position, but ultimately everything is being considered.
Longer showcases are harder to put in the schedule due to how many others could be put in their place. Long games can and still will make it in, but will require more consideration than a shorter game.
The entertainment value of runners, games and commentary is taken into consideration. If you are running a game that had a limited release, but is incredibly entertaining or has fantastic commentary, your game is still likely to get in.
We also encourage unique submissions beyond the usual speedruns. Examples of that are showcases of rhythm games, TAS, segmented runs, score attack games, community relay runs and many more. We can make a lot of things happen, but if you're in doubt feel free to message us and we'll talk about your ideas.
We also place stock in the scenes and communities around these games, previous marathon runs, and runner reputation.
More often than not commentary quality ends up being the deciding factor. It's what keeps viewers engaged, focussed on the stream and lets them connect with the person doing the showcase. It becomes even more important the longer the game is. Past marathon appearances are usually a great showcase, but a video recorded with marathon-like commentary will do just fine as well.
For a few types of showcases commentary quality is valued above most other factors. This includes long games, races and co-op runs with multiple screens.
With two or even more people playing at the same time commentary quality can suffer. Viewer attention is already divided between multiple feeds and forcing them to switch depending on who is talking about their own gameplay can lead to confusion and a disconnect.
This means that we may ask you to turn races into solo runs with the other runner(s) providing dedicated commentary if we believe that this would improve the overall entertainment quality of the showcase.
You’ll earn some bonus points if you submit your solo run or race together with a dedicated commentator who is focussing entirely on providing engaging commentary throughout the run.
If you want to bring along one or more co-commentators through Discord during the showcase at the event, you're welcome to do so!
This includes things like donation incentives, bid wars, Crowd Control opportunities or other unique ideas you might want to bring to the event.
To some extent game popularity plays a role here as well.
The importance of leaderboard position as a determining factor is often overstated. But it's not completely meaningless either.
In-depth knowledge of the game, the ability to convey it and having back-up strategies are more important than being able to nail every single trick on the first attempt. Ideally both sides come together, but we acknowledge that most of you are human.
In any case, the difference between pouring dozens or even hundreds of hours into honing a showcase and picking up a new run and making your 5th successful attempt your submission video is very apparent to us.
There is a limit of five submissions per runner. This includes different categories. You can exceed this maximum by being part of a race or co-op run another runner has submitted. These do not count towards your personal total.
We want to incentivize runners to go out of their comfort zone and learn new games instead of submitting their same base repertoire event after event. Therefore we invite you to submit games that you have not learnt or mastered yet. But after the point that your submission passes the first cut you need to actively show significant (weekly) progress. By the time of schedule release, aim to be in form and proficient enough to perform at the event.
When submitting your game you will be asked to provide a short description about the game as well as the run / showcase / exhibition, a video showcasing it as well as information about your personal progress. Bonus points for submitting a video with marathon-like commentary!
We suggest adding your times to the speedrun.com leaderboards for your game (or making your own if it doesn’t exist yet) so we can more easily keep track of your times. If your community uses other leaderboards, please link them in the relevant text field. If there are no leaderboards relevant to your submission, feel free to provide a meme of your choice instead to fulfil the requirements of the form.
Your estimate should consider everything that can go wrong. Actively practice no-reset runs and have backup strategies (or save files) ready in case something never happened before. It is better to err on the side of caution and overestimate. You will be able to adjust your estimate time later on by contacting the scheduling team. Don’t add an inaccurate time in the hope that it will appear more impressive and increase the chance that you are accepted.
You are welcome to submit any showcase including non-speedrun showcases as long as it has relevance. Non-complete game categories will be allowed provided they are accepted by the individual communities.
Emulators are allowed if accepted by the game's community/leaderboard, but original console is preferred
If your showcase includes licensed music, please make sure it can be completely muted or otherwise be removed. Please be mindful of this when planning music game showcase tracklists. Exceptions may be granted and have been in the past.
ESA carries out suitability checks on runners and commentators based on the information included in your submission(s). Please be aware that ESA reserves the right to decline runners or commentators for behaviour outside of the event as judged against the ESA Code of Conduct. By submitting you agree to these terms and conditions.
Submitted games must adhere to Twitch’s community guidelines and runners will be screened by Safety & Security.
If you’re using Oengus for the first time, you will need to register by logging in with either your Discord, Twitter or Twitch account. Either way, we require you to be on the ESA Discord Server in order to be able to submit your showcase(s). The reason is simple: Discord will be the main tool for all forms of communication leading up to the event and also the way for the game selection and scheduling team to contact you.
If you don’t have a Discord account yet, please get one HERE and join the ESA Server: https://discord.gg/esamarathon
If you wish to make changes (e.g. category, estimate), simply contact one of us on Discord. We might not be able to change your submission directly, but it will be recorded in our spreadsheets and on the schedule.
If you are submitting races, co-op runs or anything else with multiple people, only one person will be required to submit it. They then hand out the code that's being created to the other participants, who will be able to join the multiplayer submission by entering the code in the bottom of the submission form. Make sure that everybody gets and uses this code.
For online events, please state the time zone you're living in as well as your predicted availability during the event (preferably in CET/CEST) in the relevant text field as well as Oengus' own availability picker. Keep in mind that very short availability windows can cause massive headaches for us when creating the schedule and we may have to reject runs because of this. We will do our best to consider all the different time zones when creating the schedule.
Incentives / Bid Wars & Bonus Games
Donation incentives and bid wars are a way for viewers to interact with and/or add content to your showcase through donating to a good cause. From character name changes to adding entire bonus games, anything is possible!
Possible donation incentives and bid wars can be entered through the submission form. Note that those undergo a review process as well and should not add more than five minutes to your run unless justified. We will reach out to you if we feel like one of your incentives is inappropriate, could work better in a different format or just needs some clarification. Keep in mind that the description of the incentive / bid war should be able to explain the content to somebody who has no idea about the game.
We reserve the possibilty to change any submitted and accepted showcase into a bonus game, only to be featured if the donation threshold will be reached.
A list with all the accepted incentives, bid wars and bonus games will be published some time after the schedule has been released.
There will be two rounds of selections:
The first cut will pick out all the games we are interested in and already confirm a good amount of the final picks. This usually happens two to three weeks after the end of the submission phase. Every showcase that has been cut can still make a comeback depending on what we are looking for.
The second cut would happen at the same time as the schedule release and isolate the final games list. Games cut in the second round would be given priority when choosing backup games.
The time in between the first cut and the release of the full game list has the purpose of giving us more time to make our minds up about the more difficult decisions as well as giving runners an opportunity to improve in all aspects (and make our decisions even harder). Please actively keep us updated about your progress.
"Chase Games" & Unreleased Games
Chase games are games that we would like to have in the marathon but are not yet released by the end of the submission phase. For these particular games and other games unreleased at the time of the first submission phase we will have separate submissions opening up a few days before schedule release and lasting only three days. Please do not submit unreleased games during the first submission phase.
The list of chase games for each event will be announced in the information page specific to that event. Just submitting these games will not guarantee them a spot in the marathon. We will hold them and you to the same standards as all other games.
Chase games as a concept are event-specific. Not every event will have chase games.
If you have any questions, PM either Fatzke#4192, eTho#5871 or EnglishBen#1572 on the ESA Discord. We’re happy to help.