We have some exciting news to share! In an effort to help make fundraising more fun, more accessible and ultimately easier, we’ve added two new applications to the Extra Life experience. Now you can fundraise through Facebook or on the go from your phone!
Extra Life Facebook App
Fundraising has never been quicker or easier than with the new Extra Life Facebook App. It installs in just a few seconds and allows you to opt-in to automatic status updates, upload Extra Life profile and cover pictures and ask your entire Facebook network for donations in just a few clicks. To start fundraising through the Extra Life Facebook App, login to to your Extra Life account, and click "Fundraise with Facebook" in the participant dashboard.
Extra Life Mobile App
Manage and share your Extra Life experience on the go with our new Extra Life mobile app. This free app lets you fundraise and connect with others through SMS, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn & Email. You can update your Extra Life page and check your fundraising progress all from the palm of your hand.
Download the app here: iPhone | Android
We’ve also spent the last couple of months improving the mobile experience on the Extra Life website so give the new apps a try. We want to hear what you think so send any feedback and ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org or comment below and let us know!
For The Kids,
Team Extra Life
Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals
As promised, Rockstar Games' Red Dead Redemption 2 trailer has been released into the wild. It shows a lot of wide open spaces, tranquil wildlife and slow living... at least until a ranch smolders in the background and a gruff man tells you that "when the time comes you gotta run and don't come back." Maybe this is the story of how John Marston became an outlaw in the first place, which could be a neat way of bringing his life's story full-circle. Either way, the trailer just makes me want to see more of whatever Rockstar is cooking up in their secretive headquarters.
Red Dead Redemption 2 will release sometime during the fall 2017 release window.
Article written by Liana Ruppert a first-year participant playing for Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago.
Gaming has done amazing things for my husband and me. We fell in love through gaming and our mutual interests. We have mad the most intricate, life-long friendships with fellow gamers through a shared love of leveling up and pwning until the rise of dawn.
We think about expanding our family with a mini-us, our very own player 3, and all those thoughts that come with potential parenthood flood late night thinking sessions about why we Extra Life.
We think of all the beautiful aspects of becoming a parent, as well as the terrifying ones. We think about the parents that watch their little ones fight for their lives, and it does not seem fair.
When we heard about Extra Life through friends, we thought this was the perfect opportunity to do what we love and support both parents and children alike. We play for Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago. This will be our first year playing for Extra Life as part of our wondering gaming community: Don’t Feed the Gamers. BioWare fandom runs strong through our veins, but with the Legion expansion for WoW, that may be our game to play for this marathon.
EXTRA LIFE PLAYER STATS
Team Name: Don't Feed the Gamers
Team Goal: $200
Nintendo's NX console was unveiled as the Nintendo Switch, a console that can also be used as a mobile gaming device. The console appears to maintain full functionality whether snugly in the Nintendo Switch Dock or taken out on the go. Gamers will be able to take the console with them and play local multiplayer splitscreen games. The launch video shows this in action with a Mario Kart title and hints that it is possible to locally link multiple mobile Switch systems for larger group multiplayer.
When in mobile mode, two Joy-Con controllers can slide onto either side of the console screen to become a more traditional controller interface or they can be detached and wielded in both hands for single player or shared between two players for multiplayer. Of course, more than two Joy-Con controllers can be linked to the console for larger multiplayer gatherings. If the Joy-Cons aren't really appealing, gamers can use the Nintendo Switch Pro controllers for gameplay more like the Switch's Xbox One or PS4 counterparts.
“Nintendo Switch allows gamers the freedom to play however they like,” said Reggie Fils-Aime, Nintendo of America's president and COO. “It gives game developers new abilities to bring their creative visions to life by opening up the concept of gaming without boundaries.”
Nintendo wants development for the Switch to be as simple as possible and will supposedly allow devs to design playstyles they think most appropriate for their game. The brief product trailer shows the Switch playing a variety of titles, most notably The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. Nintendo has released a list of companies that will be working to release titles for the Switch. Below you can see the full list:
• 505 Games
• Activision Publishing
• ARC SYSTEM WORKS
• BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment
• CRI Middleware
• Electronic Arts
• Epic Games
• Firelight Technologies
• GRASSHOPPER MANUFACTURE
• Gungho Online Entertainment
• HAMSTER Corporation
• INTI CREATES
• KOEI TECMO GAMES
• Konami Digital Entertainment
• Maximum Games
• Nippon Ichi Software
• Parity Bit
• RAD Game Tools
• Silicon Studio Corporation
• Spike Chunsoft
• SQUARE ENIX
• Starbreeze Studios
• Take-Two Interactive Software
• Telltale Games
• THQ Nordic
• Tokyo RPG Factory
• TT Games
• Unity Technologies
• Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
• Web Technology Corp
While today's tease might not be the full-blown reveal that many Nintendo fans might have wanted, Nintendo wants to assure them that more information is on the way. More will be shown and announced in the form of full game demonstrations, the list of launch window titles, the precise launch date, price, product configuration, and related specifics prior to the March launch next year.
After over a year of fruitless negotiations, the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) has declared that they will be going on strike beginning October 21. After the strike goes into effect, guild work will cease on all projects with select video game companies that went into production after February 17, 2015.
In case you are wondering how and why the strike is happening, SAG-AFTRA has been pushing for the first update to standard working contracts in over 20 years to reflect the changing demands of modern game development. If you want a deeper dive, this piece from last September goes into the details. SAG-AFTRA wants the following: Royalties based on every 2 million units sold, the limiting of vocally stressful recording sessions such as when developers need death screams or shouting (some actors have reported fainting, bloodied throats, vomiting, and loss of voice during such sessions), the presence of a stunt coordinator during motion capture sessions (injuries have been reported), and transparency when it comes to the project title, role, and job requirements before having actors sign contracts (some actors have signed on to projects that have required motion captured sex scenes and were not notified in advance or asked for consent).
The counter-offer SAG-AFTRA received was less than ideal, to put it generously. In SAG-AFTRA, 75% of union members must vote yes to authorize the strike. The counter-offer sent to the union was so unfavorable that 96.55% of video game voice actors voted to strike. Since then, the union has been in talks with numerous industry companies to find a new working relationship. Unfortunately, it seems that talks have not even come close to an agreement. As a result, SAG-AFTRA members and any voice actors that hope to one day become a member will be striking against the following video game companies:
Corps of Discovery Films
Disney Character Voices
Electronic Arts Productions
Take 2 Interactive Software
Union members will be able to continue working with other game companies, animation, TV/film, corporate/educational projects, audiobooks, commercials, etc.
A common refrain when the possibility of the SAG-AFTRA strike has been discussed in the past comes around to the topic of non-union members working across the strike lines. After all, if you can't get union actors, won't you get non-union actors? SAG-AFTRA counters this idea with the following: "Going nonunion would mean that the producer would lose access to all professional union talent for all their union games. That is a big risk that they are going to have to weigh when deciding to go non-union." While only 20% of all games are estimated to use union talent, almost 100% of all major blockbuster titles make use of SAG-AFTRA voice actors for their vocal and motion capture performances.
Nothing like this selective strike has happened in the video game industry. It will be very interesting to see how this plays out and affects game development in the long-term.
To the dismay of many, the newly announced Amnesia: The Collection for PlayStation 4 will not be putting the fear of mind-shattering darkness into players until after the spookiest day of the year. However, for the first time ever Amnesia: The Dark Descent, Amnesia: A Machine For Pigs, and Justine will be playable on console . PlayStation 4 owners will be able to experience the game that I once called "the best way to paint your pants brown" on November 22.
The announcement on the PlayStation blog was made by Thomas Grip himself, the creative director at Frictional Games, who proceeded to delve into the history of how Amnesia came to be. The studio was struggling to create a game called Lux Tenebras and had almost run out of funds back in 2009. The vision for Lux Tenebras was "to make a Super Mario version of a horror game; something that could be enjoyed in bite-sized chunks, was replayable, and mostly relied on easily repeatable gameplay mechanics."
Unfortunately, Lux Tenebras wasn't coming together as smoothly as Frictional had predicted. Outside funding ran out in 2009 after two years of working on the project and the studio was looking like it would soon be closing down. Then, a minor miracle changed everything. Frictional Games' niche horror series, Penumbra, went on sale and the studio saw a small influx of cash and fans. The feedback they got from those enamored with their style of scares and additional money inspired some desperate number crunching. Frictional came up with a plan to save the studio. If everyone took a 50% pay cut, they would have one year to make a successful game.
"The trouble was that [Lux Tenebras] just wasn’t very good, explained Grip, "but the recent sale had almost doubled our fan base, and everyone praised the horror aspects of our past titles. It seemed that we knew how to scare people — and more importantly, it was something people wanted more of. Our goal became to make the most frightening game we possibly could."
Taking the assets and framework they had developed for Lux Tenebras, Frictional began cutting away all the elements that got in the way of scaring players. They conjured their knowledge of physics-based object interactions from Penumbra and took away the ability to fight off dangers. They added insanity, sound effects, anything and everything they could think of to induce unease and enhance the sensation of horror.
One year later, Frictional Games released Amnesia: The Dark Descent and it went viral. Let's Plays latched onto the game and exposed it to millions of people around the world. Frictional didn't just manage to survive; they managed to thrive. The small studio basked in the limelight and used it wisely. They managed to put out a standalone expansion called Justine and worked with The Chinese Room to create a short, unique horror game set in the same universe called Amnesia: A Machine For Pigs. Frictional had enough success that they were able to spend over ten times as much money on the studio's follow up, Soma.
Amnesia: The Collection might not release until almost a month after Halloween, but the game series that might very well be the contender for scariest of all time should certainly be on your radar if a game hasn't made you shiver alone in the dark.
Ben Prunty, best known for his work composing for indie games, has released an album of music he describes as "Halloween electro-funk." The collection of six songs bares the title ElectroCrypt, an apt description for a darkly funky album. Prunty cites Danny Elfman, the SNES game Zombies Ate My Neighbors, and the OCRemix community as the inspirations for the album.
ElectroCrypt was originally created as the soundtrack for the Early Access title FranknJohn, a roguelike about a reanimated boy who gains super powers and must escape a maniacal lab. Prunty decided to release the music early as a collection to celebrate his favorite holiday and help support his efforts to create his live show set.
<a data-cke-saved-href="http://benprunty.bandcamp.com/album/electrocrypt" href="http://benprunty.bandcamp.com/album/electrocrypt">ElectroCrypt by Ben Prunty</a>
The full album contains six tracks at a total length of around sixteen minutes and costs $5. Definitely something to consider for those of you hosting a gaming-themed Halloween party!
Rockstar Games has been teasing an announcement related to their Read Dead series, leading to wild speculation over the past few days as to what the project might be. Today they confirmed that the game they're currently working on is Red Dead Redemption 2. Details are scarce for now, but Rockstar has already set up a site for the game with the above image and a release window for Fall 2017.
A short description on the Red Dead Redemption 2 website reads:
If you're excited to learn more about what a brand new online multiplayer experience might be or what kind of epic tale Read Dead Redemption 2 might weave, Rockstar will be launching a trailer on October 20 at 11am ET to give players a taste of the wild west the GTA developers have in store.
If you are in the mood for a blast from the past, YouTuber Luminist might just have what you need. Over the past month they have been creating tracks from Nintendo's NES classic Metroid on classic 80s synthesizers. The results are absolutely fantastic. While the original NES tracks certainly have a haunting, ethereal quality, the Korg MS20 Mini synthesizer really adds a lot of body to the composition.
More than anything this makes me want to see Metroid make it to the big-screen as a 80s-style sci-fi adventure. You can practically see how it would look with music like this making up the majority of the soundtrack.
Article written by Joe Finelli, a fourth-year participant who plays for Akron Children's Hospital.
I've been playing for Extra Life the past five years after hearing about it from a friend. I play each year because people need a great hospital, like Akron Children's in their community, to offer support when they need it the most.
This past summer my wife and I found ourselves in need of Akron Children's. Our daughter Serafina was born on July 31, a week late but completely healthy. Everything was fine until one evening the nurse informed us Serafina had turned blue. She was then transferred to Akron Children's NICU.
Seeing our daughter in an incubator was almost too much to bare, but thanks to the amazing nurses and practitioner, they were able to keep us calm, collected and informed. The doctors diagnosed her infection and prescribed her antibiotics for treatment.
During our stay in the NICU, the nurses were always willing to help us with anything and even gave us some advice on feeding and caring for Serafina. After five days our beautiful girl was finally able to come home and she is incredibly healthy and happy. Without the help and support of Akron Children's Hospital,our community and children would not be the same.
EXTRA LIFE PLAYER STATS
Team: Akron Extra Life
Team Goal: $8,000
Favorite Game: Mass Effect 2.
Why do you Extra Life? Tell us here.
Rockstar Games tweeted out a plain red image yesterday bearing a slightly washed out version of their logo. The tease ignited a frenzy of speculation - were they hinting at a long rumored remaster of Red Dead Redemption? Maybe an overhaul of the classic Red Dead Revolver? Or perhaps something entirely new?
Though no official answers have been released by Rockstar, the tease has caused many to re-evaluate a supposed leak from earlier this year that was reportedly the world map for Red Dead Redemption 2. That leak, appearing on NeoGAF and later confirmed by an anonymous source to Techradar, seemed to indicate the next Red Dead game would be a prequel to the highly acclaimed Red Dead Redemption. Keep in mind that Rockstar has never substantiated any of that and the leak could very possibly have been fabricated.
Some gamers have claimed to crack Rockstar's website and confirmed that the name of the upcoming title will be Red Dead Retribution. Those claims ended up being a misleading hoax.
The only additional piece of solid information about the Read Dead project comes from a second image that Rockstar tweeted out earlier today:
The image displays an array of gunslingers against a classic Western sunset in Magnificent Seven-like posing. It suggests an ensemble cast of characters, in which case a game diving into the outlaw gang days of Red Dead Redemption's John Marston might not be totally out of the question. Of course, this is Rockstar - a company that strives to do new and better things, so perhaps they're aiming to take their Western franchise in an entirely new direction with a wholly different story and characters.
However the details turn out, a new Red Dead title will be riding over the horizon sometime soon and that's worth some excitement.
Extra Life was formed by gamers who were bonded by passion in 2008. Today, the Extra Life team, Gaming Coworkers exemplify what it means to be gamers who are bonded by passion. Meet Nik (Shuel), Bailey (Rhino), Justin (d3bt coll3ctor), Cody (Almost Respectable) and his baby, Cole.
Not only are they co-workers, they also happen to work for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Information Systems department. Their passion for Extra Life is evident each Friday, when they arrive at work dressed in their Extra Life t-shirts. Once-a-month, they pick a Friday to stay late after work, bring in their computers and game for Extra Life.
“I Extra Life because it gives me a chance to do what I love, help an amazing cause, and also help sick kids,” says Justin (d3bt coll3ctor).
There are many reasons why these gamers are drawn to not only work for CMN Hospitals, but participate in Extra Life too. One in particular, is honorary member, Cole. After an incident at daycare left Cole needing the services of Primary Children’s Hospital, a local CMN Hospital. Now five-months-old, Cole is hitting typical milestones such as rolling over in both directions, and holding a bottle by himself.
EXTRA LIFE PLAYER STATS
Name: Cody (Almost Respectable)
Job: IT Help Desk
Favorite Game: Earthbound
Name: Bailey (Rhino)
Job: Application Support
Favorite Game: Audio Shield
Name: Nik (Shuel)
Job: Help Desk Technician T2
Favorite Game: Metal Gear Solid Series
Name: Justin (d3bt coll3ctor)
Job: Application Support
Favorite Game: Zombie Training Simulator