Prepping for the Marathon

With Extra Life about 55 days away most people should be starting the peak of their training for the marathon.   This should involve lots of reps on the nautilus machine and doing lots of laps out on the track.  This is when you make the push to avoid hitting that wall.  Ha, who am I just kidding, we have all been training for this ever since we picked up our first controller.  This is not your simple sprint to the finish, it is a all day adventure that requires some good planning, great pacing and some much needed support.  Having done this 2 years in a row, I have learned some tricks to help make this event the enjoyable one it should be, not a chore.

One of the first steps one should do in preparing  for the run is preparing physically.  Make sure you slept well the night before, got to bed early, get lots of rest, 8 AM Saturday morning will come quickly.  I can tell you this, no matter how much sleep you get you will still see some purple elephants at around the 20 hour mark.  Along with the elephants comes the urge to do something a little different, in my case one year, do the dishes.  Along with sleep is eating the proper food.  Now classically many will lean towards junk food, Twinkies, Ho-Hos, potato chips, etc.  This is okay, however do not lean on them too much.   That much garbage will help put you to sleep much earlier then intended.  Make sure your meal breaks include some healthy alternatives, fruit, yogurt, granola bars.  These will help you feel fresher and help you stay awake a lot longer.  Do not overlook hydration.  Sodas and energy drinks are great at giving you that boost for a few hours, however water is way better.  Not only does it keep you from crashing, it helps keep the excessive calories from being consumed.  Lastly, when it comes to your body is breaks.  Make sure you take them.  Make sure you take 5-10 minutes  every two hours to walk around, stretch, use the washroom.  Take care of yourself.  Your health is more important then gaming for 24 hours.  If you are feeling really tired and need to sleep, do it.  You will make up your time later.  You know it and I know it.

Secondly comes your playlist.  Variety is they key here.   Pick one or two  new titles and make that your reward for time benchmarks.  Last year, I started with a few simple goals.  I started my day with Shadow Complex and tried to do the speed minimalist run, twice.  The took about an hour and a half, I failed.  It didn’t matter that I failed on the goal, I had achieved my first goal, attempt the speed run.   Pick an older title you want to finish.  Go through an achievement/trophy list and find some that you were looking to try.  After making it about 5-6 hours, then start looking at the newer titles.  How many times do you get a new title and play it from beginning to end?  The average game takes approximately 7-10 hours to finish, so you want to make sure you do not burn yourself out.  Last year I spaced out Demon’s Souls and Brutal Legend.  Both were perfect for this event.  Demon’s Souls kept me nice and busy.  Another aspect is multi-player games, these do a wonderful job at making time fly.  Think about how many times you sat down to play Modern Warfare and next thing you know it is 2 hours later.  It felt like 3 matches and 15 minutes.  FPS and MMOs fulfill this perfectly.  I cleared almost 8 of my 24 hours last year raiding in World of Warcraft.  Social gaming not only helps time go by quickly, it also helps spread the word of Extra Life and can help provide some actual support from people out there.  “Good Job” and ” ‘ata boy” go a long way in keeping you motivated.

This is a list of titles and systems that are coming out a couple weeks prior to Extra Life:

  • Castlevania: Lords of Shadow Oct 5, 2010 (PS3/XBOX360)
  • Two Worlds II Oct 5, 2010 (PS3/XBOX360/PC)
  • NBA Elite 11 Oct 5, 2010 (PS3/XBOX360) – Also comes with NBA Jam!
  • NBA 2K11 Oct 5,2010 (PS3/XBOX360/PC)
  • NBA Jam Oct 5, 2010 (Wii)
  • Medal of Honor Limited Edition Oct 12, 2010 (PS3/XBOX360/PC)
  • Super Scribblenauts Oct 12, 2010 (DS)

Those are some of the big titles that hit the shelves in the first two weeks of October.  There are plenty of others on the slate as well, these are some of the big ones others will more then likely be playing.  Medal of Honor is the unofficial title of Extra Life.  So look for lots of SarcasticGamer folks and the affiliates playing that weekend.

Any form of pocket gaming really helps, this is something like the PSP/iPhone/DS.  You can always go lay down for a little while and burn an hour or two relaxing in bed.  Or screaming at the mini-screen in the case of Angry Birds.  I used this in the early hours of the morning.  They helped push me to those final moments.  Social Networking games can also be a benefit here.  Farmville, MafiaWars, Wheel of Fortune (via twitter), etc. all count; so use them accordingly.  These, like online play, accomplish a few tasks.  They help you spread the word, solicited a few more last minute donations, and raise the relevancy of the charity and what we are doing.

Please remember, sports and boardgames count as well.   Boardgames beings the support of friends and family in around you.  They help pass the time and allow you to share the experience with others.  Sports are great too, they allow you to get out, stretch your legs, and burn off some of those wasted calories all of us gamers eat.  The only downside to sports is that depending on the sport, you may exhaust yourself and hurt you from finishing the 24 hours.  Again, do what you want first, you will always make up the time.

The biggest challenge of the day is the wall.  This will manifest in more then likely one of two ways.  The first, which happened to me the first year was, believe it or not, boredom.  I just got bored of playing games all day.  This occurred about the 18th hour, while playing Dead Space.  I was looking for any reason not to continue, it was not the fault of the game, it was a wall I hit.  I wanted to do the dishes…DO THE DISHES, rather then play a game.  Who was this person.  I never do dishes.  Anyway, this was because I was not prepared.  I didn’t plan accordingly and just got bored of sitting on the couch holding on to the XBOX360 controller.  It actually ruined Dead Space for me, I did not finish it until about 9 months later in July.  I played other things in between, however I equated the boredom of gaming with Dead Space, so I never went back to it right away.  On a side note, I ended up loving Dead Space and was very happy when I finished it.  The second wall was just being over tired.  This hit me last year.  Right around the 21st hour I had a hard time staying awake.  This is where mobile gaming worked wonders.  I was able to go to bed, relax, and continue to play.  This allowed me to finish off my time  and then just roll over and sleep for a few hours.

I know 24 hours sounds like fun, there are challenges, and risks participating in it.  With proper planning, eating right, and variety you can set yourself up for success.  Remember, it is a timed event, not a race, pace yourself, take your time, and have lots of fun!

Good luck and Stay Frosty!

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