As I stumbled, bleary eyed and blinking, towards the dinner table last Sunday, my mother in law said, “Mike, you look really tired!” Well, yes, other-Mom, I was. I was tired because I had not slept more than forty minutes on Saturday night. And why? Because I was using video and board games to help sick kids.
There’s been a lot of talk over the last few months about the negative aspects of the gaming community. And there certainly have been some really negative aspects in the last few months. But we here at the Ace of Geeks believe in the power of gaming to help people, and Extra Life is one of the best ways to do just that.
Extra Life is a charity event that asks gamers to play games – any kind of game, from board games to pen and paper RPGs to League of Legends – for 24 hours straight. During your playtime, your convince your friends and family to donate money on your team’s page, which then in turn is donated to a Children’s Hospital of your choice. It’s played by people from all walks of life and all over the world. And for the last two years, we’ve participated as well.
Our first year, last year, was the first time we’d ever streamed anything. And while we had a great audience and raised some good money, it definitely all could have improved. This year, our Empress of Events, Stephanie Cala, went all out, contacting our friendly local game shops Gator Games and Hobby, Gamescape San Francisco, Games of Berkeley, and Anime Imports. Together with a few private donors, they donated over 300 items for us to giveaway to donors on the stream.
Over the course of the day, we played Minecraft, Thunderstone, Fifth Edition Dungeons and Dragons, Betrayal at the House on the Hill, Neverwinter, Aye Dark Overlord, Ticket to Ride, and finally Red Dragon Inn. Every hour we were able to give away four different items to happy viewers, including our grand prize of an Atari 2600.
And in the end, we raised over twelve hundred dollars for the Oakland Children’s Hospital. That’s about ten times what we raised last year.
Overall, Extra Life raised, well, I’ll just show you:
Holy crap, everybody.
That “and counting” is important, because while October 25th was the official streaming day, the event doesn’t actually end until the end of the year. If you want to set up your own fundraiser, head to extra-life.org and set up a team, there’s still time.
There’s a lot of talk out there about the dark side of gaming these days. But for one shining day, gamers rose up and together, did something amazing. When we take stock of our culture, that should come into effect, too.
Mike Fatum is the Editor in Chief of the Ace of Geeks, and one of the hosts of its flagship podcast. He is really, really tired.
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