Extra Life Game Day Update: 🙁 Edition

Well, this one didn’t exactly go as planned, we’ll say.

A few hours into my stream to raise money for Extra Life, there was a rather loud noise in my home. Some brief investigation from my children didn’t turn up anything, but a few hours later, it was revealed to me what had happened.

My wife had rolled her ankle on the stairs and it was clearly injured—it’d swollen up to about the size of an orange.

My good friend Ken was kind enough to take her to the hospital, as she’d told me she didn’t want us to end the stream. I went on to stream with four of my children, as she waited six hours or so for attention in the emergency department.

(You should understand that my wife does all of the social media work when I do charity streaming. She really enjoys it and she loves supporting the charity. For her to stop doing so meant she was most definitely hurt.)

Turns out she broke her ankle, and she’ll need to get a cast a bit later this week. So instead of staying up all night playing video games, I’m staying up most of the night making sure she can keep weight off the injured foot. Life took precedence.

Sure, it’s not what we expected, but that’s perfectly OK. I’m happy to help my wife—she’s not normally one to sit still or not do much, and it turns out that’s exactly what she needs to do right now. And at the hospital, they did give her this pretty rad award:

She got a gold star. :)

To everyone who either watched, donated, or both: thank you so much for supporting my stream for Extra Life this year. This won’t be the last one; I’ll be announcing further streams to benefit the charity, and you can make sure you know about them by following me on Twitch or Twitter.

Because the schedule was shortened, not all raffle prizes will end up being claimed. I’ll message the winners after this weekend is over when I get a minute to sit down and figure out who donated when. (There were only a handful of donations by the time we had to stop the stream.)

It may no longer make you eligible for a prize, but if you would still like to support my Extra Life fundraising efforts, please consider dropping by my donation page and giving what you can. All of the money goes to help children’s hospitals in the St. Louis metro area, and I know they will appreciate every dollar.

I look forward to streaming more often in coming days. I sincerely hope you’ll tune in.

Extra Life Game Day 2018

When I’m streaming live, watch it embedded right here, or visit me on Twitch! Please consider donating to Extra Life by clicking here.

What Is It?

Extra Life is a fundraising program that benefits Children’s Miracle Network hospitals in many cities. Every year, they designate one day to be a 24-hour focus for these fundraising efforts, and participants are encouraged to livestream their games.

I’ll be doing so this year for the sixth year this upcoming Saturday, November 3rd. I’d like to invite you and many others to participate in this with me and support my fundraising efforts. Every dime raised is used for direct benefit to children’s hospitals in the St. Louis metropolitan area.

After a couple of years of being too optimistic with my goal, this year I’m making it more achievable. I’d like to raise $1,000 for these hospitals, and I’m going to need your help to do it. You can track how close we are right here:

What Will You Be Playing, and When?

I have a full schedule prepared for you. Until the marathon starts, it’s somewhat tentative, but most of it at this point should be correct. You can find the marathon schedule on horaro.org here.

I’ll be playing a mix of games from various consoles and eras, and for some content blocks, will be joined by family and friends. Please consider joining us and helping us raise money for charity!

How Can I Help?

The best way you can help is by making a donation directly to my fundraising effort. You can make your payment using a variety of methods here. All donations are fully tax-deductible, and all funds are given directly to the hospitals.

It’s also really helpful to me if you watch the stream on my Twitch channel or by using the player embedded above. More people watching helps people find my channel and can bring more interest to my fundraising stream—which can lead to more donations. You can also chat with me live using the chat box, but you’ll need a Twitch account to do so. If you have one or sign up for one, please chat a bit! I love interacting with viewers and talking with you about what’s going on.

I’d much rather you made a donation to the campaign itself, but if you want to donate something like a meal for me and my stream helpers or something to benefit stream quality (I’m in need of NodeCG help), please reach out to me directly. (These donations will *not* be tax-deductible.)

Anything Else?

Yep!

For the first time this year, any donation of $10 or more via my Extra Life fundraising campaign will be entered into a raffle for a prize. The prizes are detailed in the schedule for the event. The prize you’re entered for will depend on the block during which you donate; if you are hoping for a specific prize, make sure you donate during the appropriate block!

Some rules and disclosures regarding raffle prizes:

  • Donors are eligible for raffles by donating a minimum of $10 during the block for which a prize is offered. All raffles will be conducted off-stream after the event has concluded.
  • Raffle prize winners will be contacted via email.
  • Raffle prizes are subject to change or removal prior to the start of the event.
  • Prize winners located outside North America may be offered prize substitutions of equal value, depending on shipping or customs costs required.
  • Prize winners who do not wish to share their address for prize delivery purposes will be offered an alternate prize selection at the event’s discretion.
  • Family members of the streamer (me) and/or those people appearing on-camera during the event will not be eligible for prizes.
  • Donations prior to the start of the event will be eligible for the first prize in the schedule.
  • Any prizes that are unclaimed will be re-raffled to another donor from the same time block, or if no donors remain, the money for purchasing those prizes will be returned to the prizing sponsor.
  • Raffle prizes are courtesy a donation from Thrivent Financial and their Action Team program.

If you have any questions regarding prizing, please contact me and I’ll be happy to answer them for you.

Destiny 2: Forsaken Launch Party

Hey, friends!

A couple of things I love are going to join forces in a Twitch stream this upcoming Tuesday, starting around noon Central time and extending until Whenever I Feel Like Stopping:

  • With Extra Life weekend coming up in a few months, I thought it a good idea to do some early fundraising and get the ball rolling
  • Destiny 2: Forsaken launches around that time and I’ve taken some time off to play through it right away with my son, live on stream

I would love it if you would stop by and support the stream! Load it up, hang out, chat a bit, and if you feel generous, donate to my Extra Life campaign for this year. All proceeds donated via my Extra Life page go directly to local children’s hospitals and are tax-deductible.

Watch us run through the story of Destiny 2: Forsaken, experience the new Gambit game mode new to the franchise, or just stop by and chat neat-o Destiny stuff with us while we explore!

If you can’t attend directly, if you would tell your friends and families we’re doing such a thing, it would be greatly appreciated. More eyes on what we are doing means more possible donations to help sick kids in the St. Louis area.

Here are the important links for the event:

Thank you so much for your consideration!

One Last Invitation for This Year

As I finish my prep work making sure I have everything lined up for Extra Life 2016 starting tomorrow morning, I just wanted to drop one more post in for the evening. I’ll update Twitter and probably Facebook throughout the day to let you know what I’m playing and what’s going on, but I’d really love it if you would stop by and watch my livestream tomorrow (and into Sunday!) for Extra Life.

And if you have the means and the motivation, to consider donating to this very worthy cause.

Sometimes, it’s too easy to get overwhelmed with all the crap that’s out there in the world and think that you can’t make a difference. The thing is: that’s not true. Even a single person doing something meaningful can be enough to change the world, if only for a single other person.

When you watch or chat in the livestream, you brighten my day just that tiny bit more.

When you donate to help fund children’s hospitals here in my hometown of St. Louis, that donation could mean a life-saving dose of a drug. Or a stuffed animal for a kid who is too weak to get out of their hospital bed. Or a piece of equipment a surgeon needs to save a gravely injured child.

And yes, when you donate and get my campaign closer to the $2,000 goal, you are (possibly unfortunately) making a difference, because that puts me one step closer to having to sing a Bieber track live on the internet.

When you share my announcements regarding the stream, you help point others to it, causing more to watch, and possibly more to donate.

Everything you do—this fundraising campaign notwithstanding—causes a difference in the lives of others. Never forget that. This thing I do every year is one thing I know I can do to try and do some good.

I hope I’ll see you tomorrow. You can watch here.

Extra Life Incentives: Rock Band 4

All right; time to detail the first of the donation incentives for Extra Life this weekend!

As always, I’ll be opening my stream with some Rock Band. I have a history of always opening with “The Hellion/Electric Eye” from Judas Priest and then playing what I feel like for the remainder of the hour.

To participate in the donation incentive, either:

  • Make the donation and indicate your choice in the donation comment, or
  • Make the donation and make sure the name you choose matches your name in chat and then tell me what you want in chat

Incentives:

  • Any $10 donation entitles you to choose a track from my library for me to play (details on the library below).
  • Any $25 donation entitles you to force me to change instrument to your choice between Guitar, Bass, and Drums. I will start on Guitar.
  • EXCEPTION TO THE ABOVE: “Free Bird” requires a $100 donation.

I have set aside some time in the schedule for some overflow. If enough donations come in requesting songs, I’ll keep playing!

To view the list of songs you can choose from, go here:

http://rbdb.online

Click the button at the top that says “User Code,” and enter the code:

KOP-37D

This will show you the tracks I have available. Please note that some tracks may not yet be available to me in Rock Band 4; if you choose one of these I’ll let you know and you’ll get to choose an alternate track.

And remember: if I break my $2,000 goal for donations this year, you’ll get an hour of me on Expert Vocals! Tell your friends.

Rock Band will start this upcoming Saturday at 8 a.m. I hope I’ll see you there!

(For more information on my Extra Life marathon, please see this post.)

Extra Life 2016

It’s that time of year again. When I’m broadcasting, you’ll see it here:

tl;dr Version

My Extra Life marathon for this year runs from 8 a.m. Central time Saturday, November 5th until 8 a.m. Central time Sunday, November 6th.

You can watch at http://live.backlogathon.com/.

You can donate to the fundraiser at http://extralife.backlogathon.com/.

I’d love it if you would stop by during the marathon and watch. I’d love it more if you chose to donate to the fundraiser as it is for a very worthy charity. A schedule is located at the bottom of this page.

Thank you!

(end tl;dr)

What’s the Extra Life Marathon?

Every year, thousands of people pledge to slightly break themselves and have a lot of fun doing it to support Children’s Miracle Network hospitals through the Extra Life program. This will be my fourth year contributing to the program.

The marathon date this year is November 5th, and starting at 8 a.m. that morning, I’ll be playing video games, both solo and with friends, for 25 hours (yes, 25 hours, because that is Daylight Savings Time change weekend). I’ll play a variety of things and will have some donation incentives along the way to make things interesting (more on that later).

As part of the marathon, I’ll be streaming the entire thing live on Twitch and will have donation callouts during the broadcast. Donations will pop up a fun notification, and if you donate during certain blocks or games, I’ll let you either choose something fun or extend the amount of playtime, depending on what’s going on. But you’ll need to tune in to know what those things are!

What Is Extra Life? Where Does that Donation Go?

This is a great question, and I feel compelled to give you some information on this so you know that Extra Life is a good, solid, well-run program and not a charity where your dollar is just going to disappear and not benefit anyone.

Extra Life is a program run by Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, a well-respected and efficient foundation that raises over $250 million each year for the purpose of funding children’s hospitals, medical research, and community awareness.

CMN has a four-star out of four-star rating with Charity Navigator, and based on their research, contributes over 88% of raised funds to services and programs.

Extra Life is even more special, as 100% of the funds raised by my fundraiser will be forwarded directly to the two St. Louis children’s hospitals supported by my fundraiser as unrestricted funds, meaning the hospital is given discretion on where and how to spend that money to deliver and improve care to sick children who need our help.

How Can I Help?

Last year, I raised over $1,000 for St. Louis area children’s hospitals. This year, I’d like to double that and reach for over $2,000. I’ll need your help to do this.

The first thing you can do is watch the marathon. If you have some spare time over the weekend, turn it on and help boost my viewer numbers. I’ll try at the least to be not-boring and maybe at the most be entertaining. The more people I have watching, the more chance there is that random other people will pop by. You can watch on any computer, or if you have the Twitch apps for your phone, Xbox, or Playstation, you can look up my channel, which is “backlogathon”. There’s also a chat during the stream—feel free to type some things there and let me know how it’s going or if there’s something I can do better!

The second thing you can do is share with others that the marathon is happening. Here’s a tweet and a Facebook post you can share around:

The third thing you can do is to donate to the fundraiser. I don’t expect everyone to be able to do this, so it’s the thing I’m putting last in this post. If you have the available funds, any donation will help. Check the stream first or the schedule below—there may be an incentive going on! You might be able to direct part of the stream or get me to do something interesting!

OK; So What’s Going On During the Marathon?

Here’s the current schedule for the marathon, which is subject to change:

Some hours will have special guests (hint: my family). Other hours will have special donation incentives, for small and large amounts. You’ll need to tune in to the stream or follow me on Twitter to know what those incentives are!

The first basic donation incentive is that for every $5 donated during the Rock Band block, you can choose one track from my library for me to play on Expert Guitar or Bass. (Please note that a very few tracks in my list are not yet in Rock Band 4 and I may have to force you to choose an alternate.) You’ll need to be in stream chat to redeem your donation incentive!

There is ONE donation incentive that has been set in stone ahead of time: if I break the $2,000 donation goal for the whole drive, I will commit to one hour of playing Rock Band 4 on Expert Vocals. I have never sung on stream before in my life. I’ll do a playlist of my choosing, and maybe some bonus donation incentives for choosing specific tracks to force me to sing.

You are guaranteed that the playlist will contain AT LEAST ONE JUSTIN BIEBER TRACK.

If you want to see this happen, you know what to do!

Twitched

I’ve lost count of how many nights I’ve done this to myself, including tonight:

  • mid-day: “You know what would be great? Doing some streaming tonight! That sounds like it would be fun and relaxing.”
  • late afternoon: “Today has been really busy; I’d still like to stream some later.”
  • evening: “I still have things to do; maybe I can still sneak in like an hour or so of streaming.”
  • late evening (say, 10 or 11): “I can’t stay up much later; guess I’ll stream tomorrow instead.”

I did actually manage to stream some when playing Burnout Paradise with my son this past Friday, but that’s become the exception rather than the rule. (And it was cut short when my Xbox 360 power supply decided it hates life.)

Streaming is something I often want to do, but getting the motivation up to just sit down and get started has been pretty difficult for whatever reason. I suppose it’s the classic dilemma: when I do it, no one watches, so I have a hard time mustering up the desire to turn everything on and start playing.

For instance, when it launched, I played Tokyo Mirage Sessions on stream for several days straight, and (I’m serious) I never rose above one viewer from what I could tell, and anyone who started watching didn’t stick around for longer than about ten minutes. I stopped after a few days, and even stopped playing the game completely. (I never finished it.)

It then leads to a weird litany of criticizing myself, such as:

  • I’m not very good at this game; why would anyone want to watch me play it
  • This game is something I’m pretty sure only I am interested in; why would anyone want to watch me play it
  • I can’t keep anyone who drops in engaged; clearly I’m not very good at presenting what I’m doing or I’m just not an interesting personality (or the worse bit – do I talk to myself when no one is watching? not talk at all? what do I do?)
  • Is there something I’m doing wrong? Layout? Sound? Stream quality?
  • I have so much work to do and want to spend time with my family in the evening; I’m too exhausted to do this

Those of you I have spoken to in the past regarding impostor syndrome and my trouble with that over the years may notice common themes here.

I’m not sure what the key is here. Do I need a gimmick of some kind? Do I just play a bunch of stuff and not care about what happens or whether I pull in anyone at all? (My motivation for games in their current state makes even this interesting, but that’s another post.)

My annual Extra Life fundraiser stream is coming up in around a month, and I’ll be hoping to meet or beat last year’s donation total. At some point, I can’t depend on the people I work with to make all the donations like they have in the past. I’d like to have at least some people who watch otherwise and would be interested in tuning in to the marathon when I pretty much drive myself insane for a weekend to try to raise money for a good cause.

But every year, I do this with the best of intentions: I do the Extra Life stream, and I tell myself that I’m going to try to build off that, and then there’s a business trip, or something comes up in my schedule, or whatever—and I drop the combo.

Here’s a question for you – and you can answer it where/when you please – when you have something you really want to do, but have trouble getting the motivation up to do it, what do you find that helps you to do that thing?

Extra Life 2014 – Coming Soon

Last year, I participated in the Extra Life fundraising campaign, and raised over $700 for St. Louis Children’s and Cardinal Glennon Children’s hospitals. (The campaign benefits Children’s Miracle Network hospitals in a given local area.)

This year, I’ve set what I think is a somewhat audacious goal of $2,000 as my marathon stream goal.

I’ll be streaming from 8 a.m. on Saturday the 25th of October until 8 a.m. the next morning, taking only occasional breaks. I’ll be involving my family and hopefully some of my friends in the marathon. (If you want to help, please let me know if you are available and what you want to play.)

Please consider watching! I’ll post more details soon. And if you would be so kind, please consider donating and spreading the word regarding this marathon! I hope you’ll help me provide donations directly to hospitals for children who need medical care. :)

Extra Life 2013 Recap

Hey!

I unplugged over the Christmas break, so I didn’t have much of a chance to update here on how things went for my Extra Life marathon last month, but in the end I had a pretty great time. There weren’t that many people watching the stream, but in the end I raised $710 out of my $1,000 goal.

I want to thank all the friends, colleagues, and family who donated and the (very few) who watched the stream because without your support I wouldn’t have raised a dime or made a difference.

I managed to clear three games from my backlog by finishing them out during the marathon, and I played the beginning of Terranigma for the very first time (I plan on catching up on that one at some point here because it was a lot of fun).

The 2014 marathon is already on the schedule for this year, and I’ll be participating again. I’ll link things up here when I’m ready, but I’d appreciate your support this October as I run some games and livestream for another 24 hours.

Extra Life 2013: Your Game Suggestions—I Want Them

I spent tonight doing some testing for my Extra Life marathon on Friday, and it’s a good thing, because I ended up finding more than one thing that needed to be changed up and prepared before starting.

The big thing is that Open Broadcaster Software sadly doesn’t have full support for my capture device yet. In testing, I found that better support does exist for Xsplit. I would prefer to use OBS at least for the fact that it is open source, but without full support for the Game Capture HD, I don’t think I can do that.

The better news is that by getting things set up with Xsplit for now, I’m able to get Wii content working in the stream, which means that we’ll be squeezing in some extra retro action through the marathon here and there. Combined with my absurd backlog, that means I have plenty of things to choose from for the stream.

Is there something you’d like to see me play for at least part of the marathon? I’m interested in your suggestions. If you do, please leave a comment on this post, or if you would rather make your suggestion privately, you can send me an email instead.

Things I’m already considering:

  • I own Dark Souls, but have never played it past the beginning of the tutorial. An hour or two with my first experience with Dark Souls would be kind of fun. (Late, of course.)
  • There will be an hour of Rock Band.
  • If I can grab the right friends, there’s going to be some RBI Baseball happening for sure.
  • The same with NHL 94.
  • I’ve been looking at some quick XBLA-style games as well, or maybe some tooling around in Minecraft or something similarly light.

So what’s your weird, awesome, or just plain fun suggestion?