Well…my first Extra Life came to a close yesterday at 9:00 AM, after nearly 24 hours of playing videogames nonstop. By “nearly” I mean that I ended up taking a half-hour power cat nap around 4:30 AM because I simply couldn’t keep my eyes open long enough, not even to attack monster after monster after monster in Diablo III: Reaper of Souls. Moving over to the couch for a bit might have been a grave mistake because–and I don’t know if you know this or not–couches are way more comfy than kitchen table chairs. That said, I did it, and I’m glad I did it, though I certainly learned some things through the process which I hope to put to use for next year’s go at the charity thang.
A couple of quick thoughts then.
First, promotion is hard, and promoting yourself solo is even harder, especially when you have to also play the role of driver/entertainer. I tried Tweeting/Facebooking every couple of hours during my stream in hopes of increasing viewers and leading to more donations, but I did not earn a single new donation during my entire 24 hours of streaming. I love that I got so much early support before the action went down ($280 for my little goal of $100!), but I was also hoping to see some support come in as everything pushed forward. I can’t downplay what I already earned because money for children’s hospitals is money for children’s hospitals, but I can’t also can’t deny that I had higher hopes to climb over $300.
Second, I need either a better plan of action or have to check first that my plan of action can work as, well…work as planned. By that I mean I had originally thought I’d play a game an hour for 24 hours, but that scheme quickly unfolded after I discovered that some games were crashing when I tried to stream them and others just wouldn’t even capture in OBS. Heck, I wanted to open with Aquaria, but had to instantly switch over to Hack, Slash, Loot when it kept crashing on me, which was a frustrating start to things. I should’ve checked to make sure each game would work properly before putting together my list; that, or come up with some kind of theme, like playing a bunch of platformers for a bit, then some puzzle games, then horror titles, etc. Either way, this all boils down to one element–better preparation.
Third, streaming from my laptop does not make for a quality stream. The recorded videos are fine and I might upload them to YouTube one day, but reviewing the Twitch archives show that the videos stutter every few seconds. Sorry if that made it not great to watch; I’ll hopefully have some better equipment for next time around, which could potentially mean even larger games played.
With that, let me remind y’all that there is still plenty of time to donate, and you can do so by hitting up the following link: http://www.extra-life.org/participant/pabba
And now, some light blurbage of the many games I touched, in the order that I touched them. Don’t report me for that. I can guarantee a few of these will get larger blog posts here on Grinding Down down the line.
Hack, Slash, Loot – For a game that I get nowhere in, I still keep coming back to this one. I don’t know. I like its laidback feel and look, though I did get pretty far with an archer on one of the runs I did.
The Legend of Grimrock – A first-person dungeon-crawling adventure with an old school vibe. It took some time for me to learn how to actually attack monsters, but I really dig the look and feel of the game. Plan to go back to it at some point, though my current party is not long for the underworld.
You Have to Win the Game – I didn’t realize this until after the fact, but this little free-to-play throwback platformer was actually made by a Gearbox employee, which makes me adore it even more. It’s the first game on the stream that I beat entirely even if I got the “bad” ending. I plan to write more on this soon.
The Tiny Bang Story - Meh. I had really high hopes for this, but I couldn’t even get past the first two screens. Not sure where the last ladder rung was hidden, and I grew tired rapidly of clicking bugs to fill up a hint meter, which didn’t even help me too much in the end. A shame.
SteamWorld Dig – A neat game about digging down deep into the earth and taking resources back to the surface. Plus, it stars a robotic cowboy! You really can’t knock that. Though I do worry about how much fun it’ll be having to climb back up once you’re really deep underground.
Proteus – Oh boy. Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy. I had no idea what this game was all about other than exploring an island, so discovering the little music cues and bouncy animals live on the stream was a pure joy. As it turns out, Proteus is one depressing experience, though beautiful too. I plan to examine this more in the near future.
Super Meat Boy – I did a few levels and even managed to beat a boss in one of the worlds, but this grueling action platformer can get a bit too difficult for me to handle. Especially when the current world I’m in is called…Hell.
Spelunky – I tried to play the original freeware version of Spelunky since my copy is on the PlayStation 3, but the buttons were all wonky and I couldn’t remap them, so this did not last very long.
Rogue Legacy – This game is so much fun, as well as so hard to put down. It has that “one more run!” mentality to it, as every bit of gold helps you expand your castle, which ultimately helps improve your characters. I ended up beating Khidr for the first time and unlocked a few new classes like the lich to try out.
The Bridge – I took another swing at playing puzzles live before people, and this one worked out better than The Tiny Bang Story. I still had to look up a single puzzle solution, but I solved the rest myself. Ended up getting into chapter 4 or so before my friend came to visit me. I dig the drawn look of The Bridge the most though I couldn’t tell you a single story beat behind it.
Civilization V – My friend Pam came over with donuts, chips, and more importantly coffee. Then she schooled me on Civilization V, a game that is very deep and full of menus, but also a lot of fun. Evidently, we played Civ V for like two to three hours. Oops. Nah, it was great, especially having a real-life human being to talk to for a bit.
System Shock 2 – Man, this game is just freaky. The audio still holds up, and when the alarms went off and those space zombie freaks kept coming at me saying whatever it was they said…well, I just couldn’t keep going. It did wake me up a bit though, so there was that.
FTL: Faster Than Light – This is a game of systems, and even though I went through the tutorial, I don’t think I grok all the systems yet. I zoomed about in space for a bit, helped out some stranded ships, and that got destroyed by some larger, much more prepared ship. Really cool soundtrack.
Diablo III: Reaper of Souls – I ended up playing this off air, as I can’t stream from my Xbox 360. Plus, my butt hurt from sitting in that chair for so long, and the couch was calling out to me, though that might have just been the delirium taking over. Alas, I did not last long in chapter five for my demon hunter Whisper before my eyes kept closing and my head kept falling backwards.
DLC Quest – A very cute and easy platformer with a single hook. Thankfully, it’s short, so it doesn’t become tiresome, but I needed some easy platforming at like 4:00 AM, and this was it.
Papers, Please – At one point, I said this out loud–“I could do this job.” Reflecting on that, no. No I totally could not. There’s too much to check on passports and entry permits and body scans and so on, but it is a lot of fun and really gives you a sense of power, of control. It’s also kind of dark, considering both of my playthroughs ended with me in debt, going to jail, and my entire family cold and hungry. I did get an Achievement though.
FEZ – You know I’m super sleepy and unable to concentrate when I could even find all the cube bits in the first section of FEZ, a game I’ve already completed before. My bad.
Race the Sun – Here was a great little pick-me-up that forced me to pay attention. It’s a speedy racer with a gimmick that you need to remain in the sun’s rays to move fast. You have to also avoid a ton of obstacles, some of which move, and there’s a really good head-bobbing soundtrack to keep you pumped for more action.
Fallout: New Vegas – I ended it here, on my dearest, dearest New Vegas. I made a really horrible character (stats-wise) called Pumpkin Pete, but he was at least rocking a sick, green-tinted pompadour. Ran around a bit, used the rifle grenade launcher to cause some chaos in Goodsprings, and then called it a show. Not a grand finish, but a finish nonetheless.
…and that was my Extra Life experience in 2014. Not gonna lie, already thinking about what I could do–and do better!–for next October. Until then, may I catch up on sleep.