herobyclicking
Extra Life Tabletop Appreciation Weekend
It's a common misconception that Extra Life is solely a video game marathon, when in reality, we had over 15,000 people participate by playing tabletop games just last year! We’re excited to announce that on Saturday, Sept. 23 we will be kicking off the third annual Extra Life Tabletop Appreciation Weekend!
 
Think of Tabletop Appreciation Weekend as the pre-party for the crazy fun that will go down on Game Day on Nov. 4th. Thousands of our #EXTRALIFETabletop supporters will be creating Extra Life teams, playing their favorite games and sharing Extra Life with their friends and fans. Let's give a shout out to tabletop players everywhere for their relentless support of our hospitals and the families they treat! 
 

 
If you're planning a live stream or a public event to help celebrate, add the details to our community calendar!
Help Us Spread The Word!
Rally fellow tabletop gamers for a weekend of fun! Share pictures from your play on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and use #EXTRALIFEtabletop with your posts.

LeaveIt2Beaver
Hey Extra Life Community -
 
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 community@extra-life.org or comment below and let us know!
For The Kids,

Mike Kinney
Team Extra Life
Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals

Naomi N. Lugo

Review: Lock's Quest

By Naomi N. Lugo, in Features,


 
That last wave of Clockwork horrors has left me exhausted with my defeat looming imminent. The enemy infiltrated my barriers, and have begun their final push toward their objective. The stronghold will be destroyed within seconds once they break through, but I’ve got the next round planned. I’ve assessed my strategy and know how to hold the oncoming Clockwork army back until I can regroup. This round my plan will surely... wait, no! How did they get through there that fast? Wait! 
 
Lock’s Quest immerses players in tower defense gameplay with RPG elements sprinkled in. The game first hit the scene in 2008 when THQ released it on the Nintendo DS. At release, it enjoyed a bit of a cult status with mixed reviews from critics. On May 30, 2017, the remaster released on consoles with updated music, controls, and graphics, as well as the addition of extra content.
 
 
The new graphics slap a new coat of paint on Lock's Quest that looks like an isometric mash-up of Pokémon and Stardew Valley. While music and UI got the remaster treatment, combat saw expansion. A new progression system, strategy elements, map, endless mode and other features were added to appeal to old fans of the series as well as "sophisticated gamers" according to the new features listed on the game's website. This beefing up affects build and combat gameplay (more on those modes later). The progression system now aligns with the plot, unlocking relevant goodies for build-mode. And the remaster also boasts speedier build/combat cycles so players can assess their strategy if necessary to tackle the next wave more effectively. While I did get frustrated when I failed a stage, I did appreciate the ability to reset and tackle the challenge with new knowledge. However, I did occasionally have issues with crashing when attempting to do so.  
 
Speaking of building and combat, 5th Cell structured gameplay around tower defense into two distinct modes: Build Mode and Battle Mode. Players have a time limit on their barricade planning in Build Mode. This barricade protects an objective and must withstand a barrage of enemies within the combat time limit. The tools and resources at your disposal correspond to progress as the enemies get more diverse and stronger. Structure options include walls, turrets, land mines, soldiers, and more. The currency you'll use to construct your barricade comes from defeating enemies and adds a depth to the difficulty. If you're not doing well in your planning it will carry over to the next level. 
 
During the battle phase you have control of Lock, and depending on your progress, he has different abilities. At the very beginning of the game though he has a vital skill called ratcheting where he repairs the damage done to structures. His other abilities range from attacks and energy drains to more advanced repair and money drops. The enemy, the Clockwork focus on attacking your infrastructure during this stage. Guiding Lock will help you save your defenses for future rounds and help earn some currency. 
 


The foundation for the civilization of the Kingdom where Lock's Quest takes place surrounds the discovery of an element called Source, aka that currency we were talking about earlier. Source doesn't really have an explanation, but people who have been dubbed Archineers found a way to manipulate it. The magical stuff powers defense items, like what Lock builds and uses. Conflict came when one Archineer found that Source could replicate life and utilized this ability. The king banished this Archineer. This Archineer then became Lord Agony and created the Clockwork, "living" machines, in retaliation. Lord Agony disappeared seemingly defeated, but the details of the battle remain unclear to the world's inhabitants. This all happened before the events of the game. One thing is clear, however, the Clockwork have returned.
 
Players participate in the current, battle-ridden world as the titular Lock, a young hero with an unclear past but a determination to pave his future. Lock lives with his sister Emi and grandfather Tobias. One day while making repairs to structures on the shore Lock and Emi come across a wounded Archineer who fled from a battle against the Clockwork. The wounded Archineer enlists Lock to help fend off an upcoming attack. In the chaos of the attack, Emi is lost, the town falls under the attack and Lock gets determined to defeat the Clockwork.
 
What I could really get behind in terms of the story was the fact that it explained the gameplay. Lock's Quest's use of story makes it unique. Rather than arbitrarily running alongside the gameplay, the story seeks to explain the presence of the RTS gameplay. Lock has Archineer abilities and can manipulate source making him able to build turrets. This makes sense with this context. Rather than expecting players to just accept the mechanics of the game, the devs did a good job of weaving it into the story. Not a small feat for a tower defense. 
 
While Lock's Quest's strength shines in its storytelling, its weaknesses lie in combat. Isometric view is standard in games like this, but I found myself fighting with it during the battle sequences. Moving Lock around was painful. The slow movement became especially noticeable while fighting under the constraints of a time limit on a battlefield swarmed with enemies. I also had some issues with crashing and having to restart. I wasn't a happy gamer when I discovered that the cutscenes were unskippable.
 

 
Conclusion:
 
While frustrating at times, Lock's Quest provides engaging mechanics that makes you want to progress. I found it a little addicting to see how the enemy would interact with my builds, and the degree to which they would be successful. And like a good little gamer I was driven by the need to unlock new gear to fortify. Crashes and trouble finding Lock during a stressful attack sequence definitely detracted from my initial experiences, but overall this title had me pushing my left brain during combat and engaged my right with the world it managed to create. 

Lock's Quest was reviewed on Xbox One and is also available on PC, PlayStation 4, and Nintendo DS. 

Jack Gardner

 
Twin-stick shooters have been gaining more attention lately with a number of small releases like Full Mojo Rampage, Nex Machina, and Helldivers. The influx of indie titles has made the genre become more crowded in recent years. Solstice Chronicles: MIA aims to differentiate itself from the pack, but only comes up with concepts that have been done better elsewhere or half-baked ideas that barely function.
 
Solstice Chronicles: MIA’s most glaring problem comes down to a severe lack of polish. It feels like an unfinished build of what might eventually have been an interesting game. Pretty much every kind of rough edge you can think of permeates the experience. Typos abound in the text prompts. Glitches rear their ugly heads at inopportune times, occasionally completely blocking all progress. It runs sluggishly. The story seems to be missing key parts that would help string it together; dialogue, transitions between scenes, etc.  
 

 
All of that simply leads to a frustrating, jagged mess, which could be forgiven if the gameplay itself was satisfying. Unfortunately, the lack of polish results in the complete disruption of any sense of pacing the various levels might potentially possess. Despite having a system that controls the spawn rate of alien enemies, there never seems to be consistency to it. Some levels begin mid swarm. Others go long stretches at the max alien spawn level without releasing much of anything. Often, the best solution to reach the end of a level is by ignoring enemies altogether and sprinting for the end, fighting only when the game boxes you into a corner to wait for an elevator or a door.
 
During those hold your ground sequences, Solstice Chronicles: MIA manages to have a pulse of life. The developers sometimes provide various tactical defenses like turrets or barricades or napalm bombs, all of which can be placed strategically to help ward off oncoming waves of aliens. Due to the pacing of the game being completely off, you will not often have the breathing room necessary to place those pieces of equipment. Also, for some reason the game seems to think lights are a good defensive item? If you’re given a choice between an automated turret and a set of lights, why on earth would you pick the lights? Also, sometimes doors don’t open or get stuck, leaving you to battle monsters for eternity or until you turn the game off.
 
The story, such as it is, functions. Players take on the role of a space marine left for dead at a remote outpost struggling to find his way back to civilization as a mutating plague infects a nearby colony. He encounters an autonomous drone with some attitude and the two make an uneasy alliance to get them back home and stop the virus. It’s a tired premise, but the dialogue occasionally manages to earn a chuckle. The whole thing ends on a somewhat baffling cliffhanger. We experience this story through a number of cutscenes that often unceremoniously dump the player into the next stage with little to no transition or set-up.
 

 
As much as I don’t usually point fingers at the graphical quality of a game, Solstice Chronicles: MIA really needed more polish on that front. Most of the locations look or feel the same. If you’ve played a generic sci-fi action game before, you know what this looks like already. A climactic boss encounter occurs late in the game against a giant sand worm while the player clings to a moving train. This sand worm just clips through the surrounding terrain and the train itself. It’s not even uncommon to see similar graphical glitches in Solstice Chronicles, the worm just provides one of the most noteworthy examples.
 
It took four hours to complete Solstice Chronicles: MIA. There are several difficulties, a survival mode, and the entire thing can be tackled with a friend, but only via local co-op. A truly dedicated player might be able to squeeze out twelve hours of gameplay, but most won't have any desire to stay within Solstice's world for that long. The game checks all the boxes of being a functional, if horribly messy, twin-stick shooter, but offers very little else.  
 
Some interesting ideas do appear within Solstice Chronicles: MIA. The main innovation takes the form of the drone. Players can use the drone to perform a number of different tasks to add variety during the hectic bullet shooting. The drone has the capability to scavenge, finding ammo, upgrades, and health while mid-combat, but it comes at the cost of attracting more enemies. As a counterbalance, the drone can taunt enemies, attracting more of them to the player's location while decreasing the overall spawn rate. It can also create a forcefield to give the player a bit of temporary breathing room. If things get a bit too overwhelming, players can have the drone detonate an AOE explosion that can be intense over a small area  or cover a larger zone and do less damage. If, miraculously, Solstice Chronicles: MIA receives a sequel that has more time to be fully fleshed out, I’d love to see the drone’s unique functions expanded.
 

 
Conclusion:
 
When everything goes right and Solstice Chronicles: MIA manages to fire on all cylinders, there are glimmers of a much better game. that being said, I find it hard to recommend, especially at the full price of $20. If you’re really hurting for a local sci-fi co-op game, pick it up when it inevitably goes on sale. Similar games exist out there for lower prices and with more content, like the 2010 Valve title Alien Swarm, which offers a more refined experience, four player online co-op, and comes at the low cost of free. Steer clear of this one unless you truly can't get enough twin-stick shooting in your life.
 
 
Solstice Chronicles: MIA was reviewed on PC and is now available. It has a release planned for PlayStation 4.

herobyclicking
"The why finds you. You will inevitably know someone, or know someone who knows someone who needs a children's hospital. You'll know many more if you talk about it - many of your closest friends likely have experiences with these places that you don't even know." @Sean Rooney
 
Why I Extra Life
It may seem odd to make "Extra Life" a verb, but the incredible community continues to make a pledge to "Play Games, Heal Kids". Year after year, since 2008, our passionate and generous Extra Life community grows. So naturally to do "good" for this community via gaming means to "Extra Life". Our reasons for doing what we do may vary, but we are all here for the purpose of saving and helping the lives of kids in Children's Miracle Network Hospitals across the US and Canada. 
 
 
https://youtu.be/AAlGcFi_hU4
 
Here are some other "whys" from the community. Consider sharing your "why" via social media, email or on your Extra Life participant page:
 
"It started out as a selfish "Cool here is an excuse to play video games for 24 hours." kinda deal  And so the first year my roommates and I decided to do it and honestly we didn't try to do any real fundraising until the day of the event....
 
Then this past year has been two really big events. Between attending ELU and both meeting members for this community and the Champs. And the birth of my son this year who a few weeks into his birth we had to head to our children's hospital to have some extra lab work done because he had some abnormal results come back on his blood tests.  It's amazing to see how those hospitals function and the families that are in them." @heartandthesynapse
 
"I worked at Wal-Mart for 10+ years, and if anyone knows they do a lot of fundraising for the CMN, and when I lived in Arizona, I ended up taking over the responsibilities for those fundraising at the Wal-Mart I had worked at. And by doing so, I was able to visit the Children's Hospital one day, and I had a very good tour of how the money is used and how it benefits the kids. And to me, I was thinking, how can I do more? That's when Extra Life found me." @JSStudz
 
"I got recruited on the Giant Bomb forums, and lazily fundraised that first year. I then got some close friends and family to realize that my video gaming in life has contributed to something cool and they started doing marathons with me. I reached out to my hospital on my own and started seeing how that money was being used. Ever since, I've been more and more involved and am still one of the only people involved in the area working to get more and more people." @zolloz89
 
"When you're just starting out, I think "Guilt-free gaming" is a good enough reason for your first year participating. Once the first year is over, the donations are tallied and all of that, I think many people will get the warm and fuzzies and will re-commit themselves for another year.  I'm based in Sydney, Australia where CMN doesn't operate so I haven't had the same personal experiences as many other Extra Lifers but the feeling of doing something you love, the feeling of doing something good and the feeling of being connected globally all combine to create a very powerful, very compelling force." @Rue
 
How to talk about your "Why"
 
As you can see, one of the best ways to share your "why" is to speak from your experiences. Your honest telling of a story that has affected you or someone close to you is a powerful tool to help support your fundraising efforts for Extra Life and your Children's Miracle Network Hospital. 
 
Meet Jeremy Smith (@gumbystation) for a great example of how to talk about your "why"!
 
https://youtu.be/I3WqXIpK4As
 
There so many stories like this across our community! What is your "why" and how did you find it, or it you? Share in the comments below! 

Jack Gardner

 
Aliens have been conspicuously absent from Elite: Dangerous since its release in 2014. Space-faring ship commanders have been fighting with other humans out in the verse for the past few years with human technology. That's all about to change. 
 
The Elite franchise once had a species of alien known as the Thargoids, an insectoid race who served as antagonists in the very first Elite game from 1984. In Elite: Dangerous, they have passed into legend. Various bits of in-game lore have hinted at their existence, but most of the evidence that they even exist has been wiped out. It has been hundreds of years since the last Thargoid encounter... but now the humans of the Elite universe will have to adapt to the reemergence of humanity's boogeymen. 
 
 
"Expect a little bit of an arms race to be going on," said Sandro Sammarco on the revelatory livestream held earlier today to talk about the rollout of 2.4. The weapons of the Thargoids will indeed be powerful, however, they will be powerful in a way different from how power has been calculated for human vessels. Their function and abilities will be wildly different from the enemies Elite players have encountered over the past few years of combat and exploration. However, that doesn't mean humanity won't have a way of fighting the alien threat - new weapons effective against Thargoids will be releasing, too.
 
Frontier Developments also showed off the first in a series of cinematic shorts designed to introduce players to the new dangers of the universe. These follow a group of commanders equipped with experimental technology as they attempt to understand the Thargoid incursion.
 
  
Not all of the features and narrative beats will be present when 2.4 initially launches. Frontier Developments envisions this release as an ongoing process, with events slowly occurring around the universe. Changes will be coming to the way bounties are placed on player killers that haven't been unveiled quite yet, but Sammarco assures players that bounties will have more consequence and be harder to avoid if one is attracted. He also hinted that engineering will be receiving an overhaul, though he couldn't comment on any specifics.
 
2.4 will go live on September 26, though the full rollout of all features and story points will go beyond that date.

herobyclicking
 
 
So you want to stream for Extra Life? Great idea! It's a fun way to participate and show everyone what you're doing for your Children's Miracle Network Hospital. Streaming is NOT a requirement for participating in Extra Life! It IS another tool to use and our community has become very well versed in streaming, often because of their interest in Extra Life. 
 

https://youtu.be/cM4g1UTWtDk
 
Take a few moments to check out this video (and other useful videos concerning streaming) from the community's own @Daddywarrbux! 
 
 
Remember to grab all of the great stuff from our media kit!
 
Head over to our Downloads or to extra-life.org/mediakit
 
Have a favorite streaming tutorial? Share it in the comments!
 
 

Jack Gardner

 
Bruce Straley announced his intention to leave Naughty Dog last night. Straley made a name for himself handling the art on the Sega Genesis game X-Men, and has had a somewhat legendary career ever since. He had a hand in the creation of Crystal Dynamic's Gex: Enter the Gecko, joined Naughty Dog to work on Crash Team Racing, moved onto the Jak & Daxter series, became the game director of Uncharted 2, and then was made the game director of what would eventually become The Last of Us. Most recently he won awards for his work on Uncharted 4: A Thief's End. 
 
This is the guy that gave us "The Bruce" during E3 2012 when The Last of Us was announced. 
 
After 18 years, Bruce Straley departs from Naughty Dog to pursue interests outside of the game industry. "This has been the hardest decision of my career, Straley wrote in a blog post discussing his career move, "Naughty Dog is home. The Kennel is family. I’ve learned and grown so much from working with this incredible team. But after heading up three extremely demanding projects, and taking some extended time away from the office, I found my energy focusing in other directions, and I slowly realized this was the signal that it’s time to move on."
 
Straley talked about his beginnings at Naughty Dog saying, "I was employee #15. From day one, I knew I was surrounded by some of the most talented, driven, and passionate people in the industry. They were pushing themselves to do things beyond what they even thought was possible, which in turn pushed me, and I loved it! I mean, it was also extremely intimidating, but the energy and determination to make something great, something we could all be proud of, was infectious. And that’s the way it still is to this day. [...] I can't wait to see what they create in the future."
 
He ended his statement with a heartfelt expression of thankfulness for co-workers, friends, and fans:
 
 
Naughty Dog is sure to feel this departure. Straley is a talented developer - here's hoping his next workplace can help him find happiness and a bit of rest after going through the crazy process of creating numerous AAA titles. 

Jack Gardner

 
We finally have more details on the upcoming Square Enix title Project Octopath Traveler that was teased during the Nintendo Direct back in February. With Project Octopath Traveler, Square Enix seems to be angling to recapture the retro RPG fans with stylish presentation, a branching narrative, and a unique combat system.
 
Watching Octopath Traveler in action and it immediately becomes clear that you've never seen anything quite like it. Square Enix announced that the title will make use of a new aesthetic technique that they have dubbed HD-2D. This new style looks like an old-school RPG format that has been tilted into a 3D world while retaining 2D characters. It's certainly unique and eye-catching while retaining that ye olden days RPG feel. 
 
We now know that the octopath in Octopath Traveler references the eight potential protagonists that players can select when beginning their adventure. Each character has their own story, motivations in the world, and a unique ability that will allow them to pursue their goals. The two characters shown, Olberic and Primrose, can manipulate NPCs. Olberic can challenge almost anyone to a duel to prove his strength or move characters out of his way. Primrose, on the other hand, can seduce NPCs to help her on quests or lure enemies into traps. 
 
 
While Octopath Traveler certainly seems like a retro RPG, Square Enix has been experimenting with combat mechanics. Turn-based battles that will be immediately familiar to RPG fans are present in full force, but the major difference in Octopath Traveler is the ability to gain Boost Points with every turn that passes. These points can then be used to boost attacks, doing two, three, or four times more damage. They can also be used to heal, cast spells, or even chain combos together. 
 
A demo for Octopath Traveler is currently available on the Nintendo Switch eShop. The full game is expected to release sometime during 2018 and, while it has certainly been covered in Nintendo events, it seems like it might be coming to other systems as well. 

Jack Gardner

 
Far to the north lies a mysterious school for the magically gifted. Children go there to learn how to harness their magic and make the world a more enchanting place. Of course, as with most magic schools, Ikenfell has had its share of near disasters from various magical mishaps. Luckily for the school, one of the most popular students attending Ikenfell has always managed to save it from destruction before going home for the summer. What happens when that student disappears, leaving friends and family behind?
 
Mysteries both magical and mundane beckon in Ikenfell. Players venture there to track down the erstwhile hero of the school, but in the process, they'll make friends, rivals, and maybe even find some romance. Oh, and they'll have to fight some monsters in classic RPG fashion. 
 
While the story, retro visuals, and RPG mechanics might be some of the biggest draws in Ikenfell, it's certainly worth mentioning that the music is being handled by aivi & surasshu, a duo best known for their work crafting the songs from Steven Universe. Their heartfelt, grounded-yet magical work seems to be a perfect fit with where creator/writer/designer/artist Chevy Ray Johnston wants to take the world of Ikenfell.
 
We had the opportunity to talk with Chevy Ray Johnston and ask some burning questions to learn more about Ikenfell's delightful magic. 
 

 
Could you tell me a little about your background/history in game development?
 
Chevy Ray Johnston: I've been developing games for around 18-20 years now, starting way back on Hypercard on the Macintosh. I used to make adventure and story games using the software's built-in drawing tools, hand-drawing every single room in the games. I would distribute the games to my friends on floppy disks, hand-drawing the labels for each one.
 
I moved onto Game Maker for several years, making weird experimental games, before moving onto Flash around 2009, where I continued to make weird experimental games. Eventually I started getting work doing games, animation, advertising, and gallery exhibitions doing Flash work.
 
You can see more info about some of the games I've made on my website. This is a small selection, I think in total I've probably created ~20 or so games on my own, and worked on over 30.
 
I now know a dozen or so programming languages proficiently and am running my own game company that is working on Ikenfell. 
 
How long has Ikenfell been in development?
 
Chevy: Ikenfell has been in active development since January 2016, so just over a year and a half. I can find old mockups and prototypes that look... suspiciously similar... dating back to 2006 though.
 
Where did the initial idea for Ikenfell come from and how has it changed over the course of development? What games/movies/books/*insert media* did you look to for inspiration? I definitely get some Earthbound vibes from what little I've seen. 
 
Chevy: I've had various ideas for a witch/wizard game in my head for a long time that has seen many different prototypes. It wasn't until I read Carry On by Rainbow Rowell that I finally got a huge spark of inspiration, deciding to place the game at a magic school setting. A small location, completely doable content-wise, but a way for me to fill it chock full of detail, history, personality, and hidden secrets everywhere.
 
It started out as an open-ended action RPG actually. You could get different magic spells in any order that would help you explore the school and access different areas. That actually still sounds really fun, but it didn't fit my vision for the story and aesthetic of the game.
 
I wanted you to be able to play a group of friends and rivals, magic students! So I decided to make it a turn-based RPG, and initially it was more inspired by Fire Emblem and Shining Force, battling in the game's regular perspective with a party of magic school friends. What I didn't like about this was that suddenly every room, all the maps, had to be designed for battles, and they hogged all the space. The rooms didn't feel like real rooms anymore, just big open spaces, weirdly laid out for battles, and it lost a lot of its potential personality.
 
Moving battles into a second screen allowed me to keep the school looking and feeling like I wanted, and I decided to spice up the battles by giving them bigger sprites and more animated graphics so they'd feel really big and exciting. I kept the strategy-RPG elements, but mixed it in with some inspiration from a few of my favorite games of all time: Chrono Trigger, Mario RPG, Paper Mario 1/2, and Final Fantasy Tactics.
 

 
You describe it on Twitter as a game about hugging and kissing, magic, monsters, and there seems to be combat, so how does that all come together mechanically? Can you hug the monsters? 
 
Chevy: At its core Ikenfell is a game about relationships. Relationships between friends, lovers, ex-lovers, rivals, students, teachers, apprentices, and yes: monsters. Unfortunately you don't get to hug the monsters (maybe my next game???), but they act as the catalyst that causes the hugging and kissing -- the thing that pushes these relationships to their breaking point, that prods at them and tests their limits.
 
Without giving too much away, what's the general story of Ikenfell?
 
Chevy: Maritte is an Ordinary, a person without magic, but she's OK with that fact. Her sister Safina, on the other hand, is a witch... and a very popular one. Safina goes to a magic school called Ikenfell, and comes home every summer to tell Maritte about her adventures. She's saved the school many times, and also put it in grave danger many times. She's made friends, enemies, and has a tenuous relationship with the headmistress of the school for all the trouble she causes...
 
But one summer, Safina doesn't come back, and no matter how much Maritte asks around, she can't find out why. So she packs her bags and travels to Ikenfell to find her sister. When she arrives, strange things start happening, and she begins to suspect that her sister is at the center of something secret, something dangerous.
 
Maritte must explore the school, find Safina's friends, allies, rivals, and the teachers of the school, to solve the mystery of what happened to her... and also what is causing even magic itself to behave so erratically.
 

 
What do you think the main draw of Ikenfell will be for your audience?
 
Chevy: It's a hard fight between the exciting story full of a big variety of colorful characters and the original turn based party-oriented battle system that seems to have people's attention. The battle system is nothing you've played before, full of strange mechanics and monsters with a lot of personality, but familiar enough to draw you in if you've played any of the games that inspired it. I get constant messages from people saying they are excited to learn more about the characters, and they often already tell me who their favorites are.
 
How long do you intend Ikenfell to be?
 
Chevy: Ha-ha-haaaa. It was originally supposed to be a 6-8 hour game. I am finishing the 4th (of 8) chapters, and the game is already about that long. Soooo it'll actually end up being around ~20 hours at this rate. No matter how long I make games for, it will forever be impossible to predict this kind of thing.
 
What are some things (story moment, character, mechanic, etc.) that you hope will stand out to your players?
 
Chevy: Each of the 6 party members you get learns 8 spells, and each spell in the entire game is unique. There is no mana or MP, each spell is designed for contextual and strategic use. I think the challenging battles and boss fights will really put these to the test, and players will get excited when they discover new strategies and combine spells that I have worked hard to facilitate.
 
Story-wise, I think people will really like the progression of the game's story. It sets a lot of different plot threads in motion, and builds a big exciting mystery over several chapters. Then, the final 3 chapters of the game are about dissecting and solving the mystery, and I'm working hard to make sure each plot thread has a satisfying and impactful payoff.
 
I might not succeed, but I'm trying the best I possibly can to make it so.
 
What message do you hope Ikenfell will convey to the people who play it? 
 
Chevy: I hope the game will help people reflect on the different relationships they have, maybe see them in a fresh light, and find a way to strengthen them.
 
But most importantly, I hope people who know someone who is in pain, or suffering, are inspired to finally step forward and help them. To sympathize with them and give them the support they need to flourish.
 
Several people I love dearly have done this for me, selflessly, and thanks to them I am no longer ill and the happiest I have ever been. If I can inspire others to do the same, hopefully others will be able to make wonderful art and tell their stories as well.
 
I also hope they have a whole lot of raw fun playing it!
 

 
If you're hoping to get your hands on Ikenfell soon, you'll have to be a bit patient. After a little over a year and a half of concentrated development, the title has a tentative release window for summer 2018 for PC and Mac.

herobyclicking
Wha t is Extra Life? 
 
Extra Life, a fundraising program of Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals®, leverages the passion of the gaming community to rally support for our 170 member hospitals. Participants fundraise year-round and pledge to game for 24 hours with one goal: to save and improve the lives of sick and injured kids.
 
Since 2008, Extra Life has raised more than $30 million for member hospitals
 
 
https://youtu.be/D7kfCS0ruhc
How to participate
Sign up: Pledge to play games from your home or online. Play during the 24-hour marathon (Nov 4th) or on any day that works for you! Fundraise & Recruit: Ask your family and friends to donate to your fundraising. Create a team and recruit others to join you! Play games, heal kids: Raise funds, have fun, and help heal kids at your local Children’s Miracle Network Hospital!  
Why support Extra Life and CMN Hospitals?

 
More than 10 million kids enter Children's Miracle Network Hospital across North America every year. To provide the best care for kids, children’s hospitals rely on donations and community support, as Medicaid and insurance programs do not fully cover the cost of care. Since 1983, Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals has helped fill those funding gaps by raising more than $5 billion, most of it $1 at a time through Miracle Balloon icon campaigns. Extra Life is among various programs that support the nonprofit’s mission to save and improve the lives of as many children as possible.
 
Getting Started
 
•Customize your participant page   •Utilize the team captain tools in the Extra Life Dashboard   •Use the Extra Life Mobile Fundraising Apps   •Make a plan for Game Day   •Send a dedicated e-blast   •Share (and share often) on your social media channels   •Write a blog post   Have a question? Join the discussion!

Jack Gardner

 
Today Kaz Hirai announced the end of an era. Not the real Kaz Hirai, of course, the president and CEO of Sony probably has more pressing things on his plate than a Twitter account. No, the legendary CEO Kaz Hirai parody account released a statement to let the world know that 2018 would be the final year it would be active. 
 
In a rare moment of seriousness, the fake Kaz Hirai explained why the account would be coming to an end:
 
 
 
So, we have a few more months of jovial jabs at the game industry from the best fake CEO around, but after that? The game industry's social media landscape will be a slightly colder place. Here's to you, Fake Kaz Hirai!