It’s that time of year again… EXTRA LIFE TIME!

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Well, it is that time of year again.  The beginning of September for me starts the beginning of the campaign drive for more recruits and drumming up supporters for me.  Extra Life this year is on October 15, 2011.  For those of you that do not know, Extra Life is a 24 hour gaming marathon.  Get people to pledge you money for every hour you play.  You do not have to play video games, any game counts – play scrabble with the family, have a afternoon football game, that counts to – even naked twister if that’s what you like.  Have fun and raise money for your local Children’s Miracle Network Hospital.   If you are concerned you cannot play 24 hours in one day,  break it up in two.  Anything goes.  Participate in the community get friends and family to sign-up.  Have Fun, Heal Kids, Make Friends.

This year Extra Life is a little different there are two membership levels.  The basic in which all participants start in at and the Platinum level.  Basic is free, you are eligible for some prizes, but none of the big ones; Platinum costs 15 dollars and makes you eligible for bigger prizes, like a new XBOX360, and the yearly t-shirt.  The current prize, the XBOX competition runs through September 12.  The way to win works like this, raise money, the more money you raise the more entries you get in the drawing. So if you raise $1200 before September 12, then you get 1,200 entries into the drawing; simple right?  Great – So get out there and start raising some money.  You can register at the all new website – www.extra-life.org.  You will notice that this year has a big sponsor – Microsoft.    They are responsible for the XBOX and a whole bunch of 12 Month Gold subscriptions.

With Extra Life being on October 15th – there are plenty of new games to play, let me break down a quick list from now to Oct 15 -

September -

  • Resistance 3 (PS3)
  • Dead Island (PC, PS3, XOBX)
  • Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine  (PC, PS3, XOBX)
  • Rugby World Cup 2011 (PS3, XBOX)
  • Star Fox 64 (3DS)
  • NHL12 (PS3, XBOX) – Ill take the Hawks against any of you fools.
  • Gears of War 3 (XBOX)
  • Shadow of the Colossus and ICO Collection (PS3)
October
  • Rage (PS3, XBOX, PC)
  • Dead Rising 2: Off the Record (PS3, XBOX, PC)
  • Batman Arkham City – Doh, the week after Extra Life, maybe I’ll do another Extra Life marathon!
If you are so inclined and want to donate to my hospital and cause you can do it here – Brad’s Extra Life Page.
If you want more information about Extra Life, head to Sarcastic Gamer or the Sarcastic Game Extra Life Page.
I have an old post about preparing for Extra Life  – Preparing for Extra Life

Extra Life is an overwhelming success.

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Because I am tired, I stole Doc's pic at ExtraLife.sarcasticgamer.com

I am just starting to shake off the gaming hangover from yesterdays marathon.  The fund raiser was overwhelming success.  How big you ask?  Well the two previous years combined we raised just over $300,000.  Yesterday, before make up days, final tallies, etc., we have managed to raise $417,291.  Yup, that number is right, in one sitting we raised more then the two years combined.  Over 3,400 registered gamers worldwide rallied yesterday and convinced friends, family, and strangers to open their checkbooks and give to the Children’s Miracle Network.  I have participated every year and this was by far the most fun and, more importantly, the most rewarding.  As I read twitter this morning I see many carry the same sentiment of “WOW” and “look what we did”.

Yesterday’s marathon I found much easier then previous ones.  Perhaps it was the SG team’s running tally bar, veteran experience, or just a different environment.  I started the day off by finishing off a busted play through of Dead Rising 2.  I then moved on to Castlevania Lord of Shadows until I was invited to play some Reach multi-player with the SG team.  The Reach multi-player was crazy!  And by crazy, I mean made time disappear.  I went from about 2 pm until 7 pm in a blink of an eye.  I had no idea playing with others like that would eat away time so easily.  I then played some Demon’s Souls while eating dinner.  Raided on the new 4.0.1 specs in World of Warcraft for a few hours.  I then played Uncharted 2 to 55%.  At which point it was 4 AM and I decided I had to fullfill my promise to fourzerotwo and play some Modern Warfare 2.  WOW…do I suck at that.  Skills diminish  when you walk away from a game for a while.  I then finished off my time with Castlevania’s little shadow of the colossus fight and a beautiful Lake Michigan sunrise.

It was a rewarding time these last few months prepping for Extra Life.  It was great to see this small, grass roots event grow into some thing huge that no one expected.  Now comes the difficult task of catching up on sleep and figuring out how to top next year!  Oh and according to this post, posts at SG, and my recruiting post from the comic book show, it looks like Hulk was the unofficial mascot of Extra Life this year.

I am very proud of this gaming community.  We accomplished a wonderful task of helping kids get the treatment they need.  Great job!

Just look at this one year number one more time:

$417,291

Prepping for the Marathon

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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!

ExtraLife Donations are now open

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There are few things I feel more passion towards then this event.  For the third year running the folks over at SarcasticGamer have given the gaming community something to rally behind and show our caring and supportive power as a group.  I have been part of ExtraLife for 2 years, this will be my third.  The first year I was a little lost and saw it more as a reason to play games for 24 hours in a row.  The second year, I rallied behind the cause and raised over a thousand bucks for Texas Children’s Hospital.  I became more active in the community and really enjoyed the interaction with other folks like myself.

This year, we are handling the charity aspect of this a little different.  Instead of it just being for Texas Children’s Hospital, we will be raising money for our local Children’s Miracle Network Hospital.  If you register, you can choose a hospital local to your community or anyone on the list presented during registration.  Here in Chicago, we have 3 to choose from.

St. John’s Children’s Hospital (Springfield, IL)

Children’s Memorial Hospital (Chicago, IL)

Children’s Hospital of Illinois (Peoria, IL)

If you want to participate, please go here and register.  If you do register, please sign up for the 2 Idiot Gamers Team, just join a team, search, we will be listed right there.  If you want to donate, please donate to my page.  I am raising money for Children’s Memorial Hospital, Chicago, IL.

Working together, as a community, over the last 2 years we have earned over $300,000 for Texas Children’s Hospital.  This year we can earn that much together and have it help those who need it near you.  So please sign up or donate.  Gaming has become more mainstream over the last few years, however ‘gamers’ still have a stigma around them.  It is events like these that can help garner a much healthier positive image for us.  So again, please get the word out!

Over the coming weeks, I will be giving you stories of how I prepared for ExtraLife,  got the word out, events we plan on having to promote this event, and how to deal with the 4AM stir-crazies that inevitably set in.

Thanks,

Brad

Again, you can donate here - https://www.hospitalshelpingkids.org/ExtraLife/m.aspx?i=17049DE3A55B080CD – All Major Credit Cards Accepted.

If you have questions concerning ExtraLife, please consult the FAQ!

About Extra Life: Extra Life takes place on October 16th, 2010 and is the 3rd annual occurence of the event, which aims to raise money and awareness for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.  To date the event has raised more than $300,000 dollars to help kids live long happy lives by providing hospitals with much needed funding for equipment and programs.  100% of the money raised stays where it is raised.  In the gamer’s LOCAL CMN Hospital

Extra Life returns October 16th, 2010

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Extra Life FlyerThis year SarcasticGamer.com’s annual charity Extra Life will be on October 16th. In a bit of a change this year we will not be raising money for the Texas Children’s Hospital, instead we will be playing for the hospitals local to us that are part of the Children’s Miracle Network. This is still just as huge and important as it has been in the past. Not only are we still helping kids, we are helping kids everywhere. In two years the teams that have gathered for this event have raised over $300,000. That’s huge for a group that is still not all well received by the media at large. So mark your calendar’s, looking up the fall release schedule, and start letting your friends and family know that this will be coming back.

The news can be found here.

To Doc and the SG crew – I am already looking forward to!

-Brad