Play Games. Heal Kids. Redux.

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Published on: October 2, 2012



Well, it’s that time of year again. Some of you may remember last year when I posted about participating in the Extra Life gaming marathon charity event. I’m participating again this year (on Saturday, October 20th), if all the various things I’ve hinted at and flat-out said the last couple weeks on twitter hadn’t clued you in, and as a result, most of what I say on twitter over the next couple weeks is going to be kind of spammy about it, for which I’m only a little sorry for.


For those that weren’t around last year, or just need a recap of what Extra Life is, it’s a charity based around a 24-hour gaming marathon. Participants, such as myself, pledge to play video games for 24 hours straight, and try to gain supporters who show their support by donating. Every participant chooses a Children’s Miracle Network Hospital to support – McMaster Children’s Hospital in my case – and all donations that that participant manages to raise go directly to that specific hospital. This unbalances the spread of funds a bit, but these are funds that these hospitals wouldn’t normally be receiving and helps add the local feel to something on a global network (the web).


Last year Extra Life raised 1.2 million (!) dollars, and I, personally, was able to raise 200. This year, I’m aiming a bit higher for my goal and setting it at $500, and I will double my goal if it gets met (and will continue to do so as each successive goal gets met). All donations are 100% tax-deductible. If you can’t afford to donate yourself, that’s unfortunate but fine; the economy’s a bit rough for everybody these days. You can still show your support by helping spread the word and/or joining me in my streams.


Yes, “streams” plural. Last year I streamed for 20 hours on the day of the event, and I plan to livestream all my gaming on the day of. I also intend to stream every day leading up to the event. So if you just want to hang out in the streams and keep me company – especially on the 20th – feel free to pop by. Skype friends, you are encouraged to call me on Skype and/or play games (that we have in common, obviously) with me.


Now for a few anecdotes based on my participation in Extra Life last year. If you don’t really want to read these, feel free to skip this and the next two paragraphs. I’ve quite honestly not had the best of years. I’ve spent the last ten months searching – and failing – for a job. Participating in Extra Life last year honestly feels like the only thing I’ve done in the last year that wasn’t a drain on the economy (despite not being on welfare or EI). Participating in Extra Life is also probably one of the things I am most proud of in my life. To borrow a phrase from a meme, feels good man. Deciding to livestream my marathon last year also resulted in discovering that I rather like streaming my gameplay. I had never streamed up until that point, and while it was filled with many technical difficulties, I enjoyed doing it a lot.


When I chose to participate last year, it was mostly because I preferred their helping strategies over those of Child’s Play. To clarify, Extra Life directly supports Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, whereas Child’s Play purchases toys, games, what-have-you to help the children in these hospitals cope with the situations they’re in. Child’s play is still a very good charity program, I just prefer Extra Life’s method of help. When I initially chose which hospital to support – I chose McMaster last year too – it was because they were the Children’s Miracle Network Hospital that was closest to my current geographical position; no other reason. I found out after the fact that that was the actual hospital that helped save my dad when he was younger.


When my dad was a baby, it was the mid-1940s – and thus before child-proofing was really a thing – and he did what many babies did; he put things in his mouth. One of the things he put in his mouth was an electrical socket. He survived, obviously, but he required medical treatment. He was given skin grafts from his stomach onto his tongue and the inside of his cheek. This is a story I already knew about my dad. What I didn’t know, was that McMaster Children’s Hospital was the hospital where he was treated. So by pure luck, last year I helped support the hospital that once helped my dad. (Thus ends the personal anecdotes.)


In summation, this Saturday, October 20th, I will be participating in the 24-hour Extra Life gaming marathon charity event, livestreaming myself doing so, as well as livestreaming every day up to then. I sincerely hope that you can support me in supporting them, by either donating or spreading the word, or hell, just by keeping me company. You can go to my donation page by either clicking anywhere in this sentence, or on the large image I started this post with. You can view my livestream on the 20th at Streams on the days leading up to the main event will be there too of course, but the times on that are variable beyond “daily”. They will be announced on twitter though.

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