We have done it again. There is a lot of bullshit that 2016 (and 2015, for that matter) will always be remember for, but this weekend was definitely one of the positive highlights. If you do not know what Extra Life is (and I really hope you do), it is a yearly 24-hour gaming marathon held by and to support the hostipals of the Children’s Miracle Network. This Saturday, gamers from around the world woke up, picked up their controllers, joysticks, cards, dice, figures, and whatever else one of the best hobbies in the world demanded of them, and played just about non-stop until Sunday morning when they could pass out from lack of sleep, happy in knowing their actions were watched and drawing donations from people around the world to help them support their local hospitals. We here at the Red Sector were no exception.
So, how did we do? Well for us personally, it wasn’t a record breaker, but a respectable $470, which I thank you all for helping us bring in. However, the total event has once again already broken records. Last year the big day ended at $6.2 million and ended the total year at over $8 million. This year we are well underway of beating these goals, as we had broken $6.5 before the morning hours claimed all of our collective consciousnesses. And as of the this morning, the site is reporting we have reached a total of…
To all gamers out there who took part in this event, you should feel proud of this, as we are already on our way to matching if not beating last year’s efforts. But how did it go personally? Overall great, but of course one does not finish Extra-Life without some trials on the way,
This year was a change for me personally, since for the first time since year 1, I was not doing this at home. Granted, that first year I was on my own in my room of my apartment with few even knowing what this event was (or having a clue it would happen again, let alone blow up into the amazing event we have now), but times have changed. This year the tradition of gathering with friends the night before into the Sunday morning bunkered in for the long haul continued, but this time the bunker was not my place. Sean and Lindsey from our team page graciously decided they wanted to host the event this year, so plans early on went around this. And I have to give them all the credit in the world, as their schedual for before this weekend was very tight, and yet they pulled this off flawlessly! But with this in mind, our challenge on our end was different. Instead of setting up to group game the best we could, this would be the first time packing up five PCs (2 Laptops, 2 gaming rigs, and a media center) and shipping out across state borders to take part in this event. To this end, as always, I took the Friday before as a vacation day from work to pack things up.
And while packing, something that is becoming more of a disturbing tradition of the Extra Life event occurred and something broke. Last year, it was a VERY serious situation as it was my office/banking computer that shit the bed entirely (old laptop). This time, I had a little extra time to look into if a few games I still wanted to get my hands on were on the WiiU… things like Metroid Zero Mission which I have physically, but without an old enough DS, I can’t play anymore… and the WiiU wouldn’t turn on. After several tries, I got it to see the signal from the pad and attempt to turn on, but it never got past the logo screen… my WiiU appeared to have shit the bed while idle with nothing to play on it. Thankfully it wasn’t the system, however, but it’s external hard drive which was simply not turning on. This was annoying since I had archived saved games from finishing Xenoblade Chronicles, EarthBound, and Darksiders 2 on there as well as a handful of download titles, but I have 32GB versions and it turns out, I didnt really need much more space over the life of this machine, so I didn’t lose a system or really even the convenience of having every game I bought online downloaded and waiting for me to play. I just would have to fix that when I got home by redownloading everything, but in the end, this was trivial.
But after a fairly relaxed timeframe on Friday, we had packed up Max’s car with the PCs and other essentials and were out the door… only to return quickly as I had left batteries I had picked up in case we all played something on the MCP for the 360 controllers (a thought more then anything) and the 5 hour energy shots we were going to need at the end of the day (far more important). But after a quick stop, we were back on our way…
Once we got there, Sean and Lindsey showed off the 4-machne setup they had built in place to give all the towers a wired connection and we got to work. Setup was quick, easy and before long we were in “pregame” mode with Minecraft on one side of the room and a display to show the countdown to ExtraLife on their main TV, and bowls of rice and chicken to complete an amazing Friday night before everything began.
Saturday morning saw us all going to our choice starting games. In my case, I picked up Lengends of Kyrandia book 1 since I had just started it prior and wanted to get somewhere in the game during the event. That “somewhere” turned into completing the game by the time evening began rolling around. I will be writing the review when I finish this recap, but it was both amazing and frustrating, proving a very solid game that had issues common of point and click games from the early nineties… and one absolutely broken puzzle that if done after a specific event, could not be finished at the end of the game, rendering a “dead-man-walking” scenario. If there is a game I have played in recent years that advocates for the ability to save any time and room for LOTS of save files, this was it.
Towards the end of this game, Max and Lindsey took a break to go get Chinese food because (according to Max) “Dumplings must be had!” They got back during the end credit roll, timing things perfectly to start the evening. And that began really with our live-action game of the night: “Joking Hazard”
For those who do not know the game, it is a card game made by the people behind the comic Cyanide and Happiness and in fact features the same characters. The game is played much like Cards against Humanity in which one player will draw a card and the others will have to match it with whatever they think is funniest (and very possibly the most messed up) in their hand. Then the player who’s turn it is decides who wins the round. However, in this case, the cards are pictures like from the comic, and the player drawing places a card from their hand as well, giving everyone else the first two panels before they place the last. Simple and hilarious, we spent HOURS playing through the entire deck.
After this, we were back to the PCs and while most of the group played Dead by Dawn, I bowed out due to communication issues (we had a player with us off-site via skype which I don’t keep on my gaming PC and no room to place my laptop nearby for it) So I got to laugh at random screams of “oh God!” nervous laughter and sinister laughs when one of my group was the serial killer while continuing my way through Knights of Pen and Paper.
This was followed up with Minecraft and gaming on MCP where Max installed “Super Cosplay Wars Ultra,” a homebrew fighting game around cosplayers, which I setup the stream to capture and maintained to make sure the ElGato software we were using did not mess up I have had happen from time to time during the #100daysofgaming we were doing leading up to this. He and Lindsey went head to head for a while playing characters who’s super-moves would change them into costumes of everything from the Evangelion angels and EVA units, to Power Rangers, to Hunter x Hunter and God knows what else I saw. It was hectic, action packed, and because the game was never written to be sold, something you could find yourself if this interests you.
When they finished we took a small break gaming to give away games… almost 60 of them. We had enough entries that I took them all down in a list and cut down to the winning entry the way I pick my next game around here… process of elimination via D10 rolls, and then announcing the winner LIVE before spending the next 30 minutes sending gift emails through Steam. To the winner, I hope you enjoy them… I had fun collecting them for just this occasion.
After we finished with that bit of fun, I took over media center in the mood for something random. Didn’t take long to find something and I soon opened up “Super Amazing Wagon Adventure.” For those of you who haven’t played this game, it can be described quickly as “Oregon Trail on LSD.” The game plays quickly, and in under an hour, I played through several sessions, unlocking several “survival modes” and even playing one before moving on to the next game.
After playing this for a while, I began playing around with random games before settling on Symphony, a game about fighting deamons that have taken over your music collection on the machine in the form of a shootem-up that based on the song you currently play. It was a lot of fun, as I expected since I have played this prior, but I was being casual on the lowest setting, so it was a suprise to see the second deamon show up. (It got away, but it’s now hiding in my Nine Inch Nail collection, so I know where to fight it later.)
Finally, we finished the night at our main gaming PCs, in my case, going back to Knights of Pen and Paper and leveling up my new knight player. Again, a lot of fun, but I was moving VERY slow at this point. The 5 hour energy ran out and I literally couldn’t sit down without risking passing out… but we made it, and everyone collapsed promptly, finishing Extra Life right.
Will we do this again? Absolutely. In fact a mini-marathon for it has been suggested for some time this summer, but we will have to see. In the meantime, this has been one HELL of a good weekend, and I am already awaiting news of when the next one will happen (as well as watching for total numbers raised by all of us gamers to help kids out). To everyone who joined us (donating to ANY team out there and the teams playing), thank you so much.