In 2017, Crosstix and I embarked on our first 24-hour gaming marathon called Extra Life. I had done Relay for Life when I was high school. The cause was worthy, but I was in it more for the girls. Extra Life brought my passion of video games together with my work in Children’s Hospital. It was a match made in heaven. Moreso than the girls from high school? Nah! I married one!

Last year, Crosstix and I tried to prepare all we could for the event. After extensive email chains, we were ready. It has been a year since and I wanted to take the time to reflect on the night that was before embarking on the insanity again.

Game Day

Seattle Childrens HospitalAfter finishing an 8-hour shift at Children’s Hospital, I drove the hour to Crosstix house. I was packing pizzas, video games, tons of controllers, and clothes for the next day. Excitement overcame the sleepiness as we sat down and finished our preparations.

We had several games in our sights to take down that day. In our year on Youtube we had never done any first person shooters. To rectify that we began with Timesplitters 2. I had played the game extensively in high school. At one point I even networked two PS2s together to play my friends vs many of the popular kids in school. Nerds vs Cool. I forgot who won, but it was a blast. Dusting off Timesplitters 2 was a trip down memory lane and a chance to see how the game aged.

After a quick warm up, we jumped in and began taking down levels. I had scouted out the levels so I would know where to go for most of them. It was that or our schedule would need to be trashed early on. Playing with Crosstix was a blast, but the game did not age well. The textures were way too dark in many levels, which hindered navigating the level. I like a challenge, but with no map it was easy to get lost in the game. Being lost is not a challenge it is just obnoxious. Thankfully, my practice helped eliminate that for the run.

Night was now day. We had taken down our first game. Sleepiness would have taken over, but I was so excited to have Crosstix play the next set of levels. I created several Mega Man Maker levels for him to play. This was not just any troll level, but one meticulously planned to torture Crosstix. Watching him struggle was one of my highlights of the night.

Reinforcements Arrive

Mega Man MakerThe level began with a multiple screen drop. Reading the words as you fall quickly tells the player what their fate will be: U die. Crosstix died a few times before being able to make it into one the teleporters. He snickered as he thought he saw the real exit on the right hand side in a gap in the spikes. I played it coy, but knew it was just another path of death for him.

I must admit that I was impressed with his skills as he beat every section of the level I made. Each path was a long drawn out challenge that ended with you dying in a silly way. For viewers, I had uploaded the level earlier in the day so they could be in on the joke and see how he would have to beat the level. You can view it here.

I finally had to point out where to go. He figured out the system of seeing one ups to signal that you were on the right track. Think of it as a dinging bell to reward him for good work. One devilish trick had him virtually give up, so I had to explain how to solve the mystery. When he finally beat it, and yes with my help he did, he thanked me for such a great level. Ok, fine! I was lucky I was not punched and kicked out of his house!

OvercookedPayback came quickly though as I played another Mega Man level I had made while we waited for our friend James. I called this level Mega Classic Wily 1, as I imagined it as my first level in the castle. I had beat the level to upload it, but I struggled when playing it a second time. I knew the section that would decimate me before I entered it. The section is a room full of lasers that requires such precision and skill that I got crushed by my own creation. With James and Crosstix looking on, victory was finally mine. *Deep sigh!*

Now that I had saved myself from certain embarrassment, we changed games and got some food. Donations for Children’s Hospital were very close to our goal. It was not a huge amount, but still great to support such a great cause and people.

With James, we jumped on to Overcooked DLC. Crosstix loves this game. For me the game raises my stress and blood pressure through the roof. When I have heart issues, I will blame this game! Having a third player made the levels much easier. Any level where we had to run across a platform meant instant death. Thankfully, Kevin did not kill me repeatedly this time!

The Crash

After dismantling the DLC for Overcooked in short order, we took another break and got set up for our final game of the night. This is where the proverbial Yoshis hit the fan. The Elgato Game Capture was virtually fried from extensive use and would not turn on. Behind the scenes Crosstix was worried that we would not be able to finish the stream thus spelling the end of our first attempt at Extra Life. I was no help in providing any tech support. “Crosstix- did you try unplugging it and plugging it back in? Did you reset?” Offline we talked about possible solutions. Recording just ourselves seemed lame and boring. The other possibility was to just nix the stream and finish out the time. We could also play another game on the computer. As we talked, it was a great reminder of why we were doing the marathon in the first place. We were streaming not so that we looked great or got views. The goal was to support the care of children in hospitals. The goal was to give even just a tiny bit to those who had no way to pay for the medical care of their sick children. With that goal in mind, we decided to set up a camera to record the screen and continue with Halo. It was not ideal, and looked horrible, but it was a perfect reset on our mindset.

Halo_-_Combat_Evolved_(XBox_version_-_box_art)With that, we launched into Halo: Combat Evolved. Both Crosstix and I went all Rambo on the Covenant. I loved seeing how many Brutes I could melee from behind…or to the face. Either brought a stupid grin to my face. We dominated early on. Once the difficulty increased midway through the game, we slowed down and settled in for the slog. The Flood were more obnoxious and time consuming than I remembered.

The clock was rapidly approaching our 24-hour mark. We still had not finished Halo yet. Crosstix’s wife entered the room and watched a bit of the action. The clock was winding down as Crosstix and I jumped in the truck for the final race to escape the explosions. When we crossed the finish line and completed Halo, it was only a few minutes past 24-hours. Victory!

Checking our donations one last time, we had gone over the goal substantially! Mission accomplished! Our princess was in this castle. It was the perfect cap to such a great event.

Extra Life 2- The 2018 Sequel

Mario Maker Troll LevelWith our inaugural Extra Life in the books, we are thrilled to come back for another year. We have many exciting games to play including Toejam and Earl 2, Overcooked 2, A Way Out, and of course a few troll levels made by yours truly. Come share part of your day with us as we stream on Nov. 3rd starting at 6am PST. Our stream will be at- twitch.tv/lastbossgamingtv. We would love your company as the delirium sets in. Finally, if you want to donate to help Children at Seattle Children’s Hospital then check out our donation page: extra-life.org/participant/LastBossGaming

Game on!