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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 August 25-26 we'll be hosting our fourth 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. 3. Thousands of our #EXTRALIFETabletop supporters will be creating Extra Life teams, playing their favorite games and sharing Extra Life with their friends and fans. Join us in recognizing tabletop players everywhere for their relentless support in helping raise $40 million since 2008. Here's how you can participate: 

Make The Pledge
Register for Extra Life 2018 and make the pledge to Play Games, Heal Kids

Tell your community
Host a tabletop event the weekend of August 25- 26 for your friends & community

Help heal kids
Ask for donations to support sick and injured kids at your local children's hospital
Join!
Fill out the form below to Grab the event's official Social Media Badge!


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 a new application to the Extra Life experience. Now you can fundraise through our mobile app made possible by a grant from the ESA Foundation! 
 

 
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. Learn more in our best practices section!

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

Marcus Stewart

Review: State of Mind

By Marcus Stewart, in Features,

State of Mind presents a vision of 2048 that feels equal parts neat and unsettling. Robots dominate society, acting as household servants and even make up a fully autonomous police force. Citizens have augmented reality implants that display basic information for every person they come into contact with. Virtual reality has evolved into fully immersive worlds that many people prefer to spend their entire lives within. Technology can be wonderful, but should it advance at the expense of our humanity? State of Mind presents meaningful transhumanistic questions, but the delivery leaves much to be desired. 
 
Daedalic Entertainment’s narrative adventure has much in common with Life is Strange in terms of its third-person design. The meat of the experience involves exploring compact hub areas and interacting with characters, with additional elements sprinkled on top. These include puzzle-solving, stealth sequences, and even light shooting segments. 
 
The plot centers on technophobic journalist Richard Nolan. His life gets flipped on its head when he’s involved in a near-fatal car accident. As he gradually picks up the pieces, he realizes his accident may have been anything but. Worse, his family has also gone missing. In his search for answers he uncovers a conspiracy revolving around a secret virtual world. Despite his reservations with tech, Nolan must cooperate with forces in both realities, including a digital copy of himself, to rescue his family and squash a grander scheme. 
 

 
Nolan’s overwhelming unlikability holds back the story in a big way. Granted, much of this is by design. He’s tangled in an affair despite being married with a kid. His paranoia, both tech-related and personal, causes him to regularly fly off the handle, often irrationally. Nolan’s glaring flaws play into one of the game’s themes: escapism. Many characters turn to the virtual world to escape real world pain or imperfection. Richard has every reason to do the same, but he detests the idea of an artificial existence. That’s fine, but Nolan’s sheer abrasiveness made it nigh impossible to get behind him as a
sympathetic character–something State of Mind clearly tries to accomplish. 
 
Nolan and the most of the cast suffer from cheesy, wooden performances that often rob serious moments of their emotional weight.  A character death, for instance, doesn’t hit nearly as hard because of the rough acting. The story periodically drops players into the shoes of other supporting characters. Some tales land better than others–the story of a robot gaining freewill feels uninspired. However, these scenarios do a solid job of providing backstory and tying together different plot threads. Experiencing the troubled life of Nolan’s mistress Lydia became my favorite tale. She has easily the most fascinating history as well as the most genuine performance.
 
Even though it features player choice, State of Mind tells a largely linear plot. Most choices lead to minor changes in tone, like choosing to respond angrily or passively. The only decision of significance comes at the flat conclusion. Those hoping to see branching paths for everything they do will be disappointed, but I personally didn’t mind the more focused approach. 
 

 
What did bother me was how the hokey, somewhat pretentious writing got in the way of State of Mind’s otherwise intriguing themes of transhumanism. The game sometimes feels like it tries too hard to be profound and can get up its own butt with its philosophy. State of Mind clicks best when those themes simply prop up the relatable human drama; an estranged father attempting to rebuild his family, for example. 
 
Other scenes feel outright dumb. In one unintentionally hilarious moment, I met a character infiltrating the virtual world undercover. He reiterated his need for secrecy, then immediately denounced the beliefs of the society he’s supposed to blending in with by making a loud scene in public. Well-worn archetypes (e.g. the messiah with a god complex, the self-righteous hacktivist) could have been stronger if they were written with more subtly. They can be over-the-top to the point being cartoonish and are painfully one-dimensional. 
 
In terms of presentation, the sharp, polygonal art direction gives State of Mind a cool style. I especially love the slick camera framing that adds to the cinematic feel. Unfortunately, scenes that abruptly switch to the loading screen and occasionally wonky angles (such as from within a character model) mar the production values. 
 

 
State of Mind’s gameplay can be hit and miss, as well, but I admire its variety. More involved mechanics include using a drone to navigate a maze of ventilation shafts while avoiding rogue bots. Sifting through notes to find correlating intel offers cerebral fun akin to a classic adventure title. An interactive art exhibit allowed me to manipulate music and visual effects for no real purpose but was neat diversion nonetheless. Best of all, only a few mechanics repeat themselves. 
 
Recurring activities are simplistic but mostly inoffensive. For example, piecing together jumbled AR scenes like a virtual puzzle. Others, such as a hacking mini-game, feel too easy. Players must position the analog sticks in the right spot but exacts solutions worked repeatedly, sometimes even consecutively. 
 
 
Conclusion
 
State of Mind presents interesting ideas wrapped around solid gameplay and a good look. However, the questionable writing and performances bring everything down. It has some bright spots, but State of Mind ultimately boils down to an ambitious yet average sci-fi thriller. 
 
Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games!

Jack Gardner
Dewey Owens has a strange internship. He's not overly important in the grand scheme of things, just another cog in the corporate machine of DevTech... until the fire nation aliens attacked Earth. Now Dewey must enter the Hypergun Simulation, a technology designed to find the best weapon configuration to defeat the invaders and save the world. 
 
Each time Dewey enters the simulation, it will be entirely different from the last attempt to defeat the simulated alien threat. The FPS gameplay seems reminiscent of classics like Doom crossed with the RPGness of the Borderlands series. As players progress toward finding the perfect weapon, Dewey will pick up over 150 different augmentations for the titular hypergun. This leads to a dazzling number of weapon configurations with which players can experiment. To add even more spice into the mix, players can unlock additional powers and abilities by gaining access to Dewey's co-worker's accounts. There are over 40 of these, so players will have to poke around and really push themselves to find them all. 
 
The neon color palate and bright flashes seem ideal for people who looked at Tron and thought it wasn't "Extra(tm)" enough. You can also explore DevTech's offices and find passive-aggressive sticky notes. I can dig it. 
 
 
Hypergun releases on August 23 for PC and later this fall for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
 
Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games!

Jack Gardner
The gang receives two pieces of gold to buy a pair of pants for the upcoming mission. This serves as the conclusion of the prologue and the beginning of an even greater adventure....
 
As a side note, the audio quality can become a bit bumpy over the first few recording sessions, but it will get better. Please bear with us. ❤️
 
We Wanted Adventurers is a liveplay Dungeons & Dragons podcast that follows a motley trio of unlikely heroes as they bumble into adventures both big and small across the fantastical continent of Nevarrone. For the uninitiated, a liveplay podcast features an unscripted recording of a traditional tabletop roleplaying game, with all of the goofs and drama that comes with the territory.
 
With Tabletop Appreciation Weekend on August 25-26, you can also delve into the deep worlds of imagination and fun with your own friends and family. There's no better time to start a game of your own and forge some memories you'll never forget in the old-fashioned and time-tested form of pen and paper RPGs! 
 

 
You can download or listen to the podcast over on Soundcloud, our hosting site, and (soon) iTunes. You can follow the show on Twitter, too. Let us know what you think of the show! We know that some parts of it are a bit bumpy, but I hope it doesn't get in the way of your enjoyment as we all learn and grow together. Thank you for listening! 
 
New episodes of We Wanted Adventurers will be released every Wednesday
 
Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games!

Jack Gardner
Brazilian Twitch streamer Luality has been on an epic quest (or at the very least a sidequest) to see what her pet bunny can accomplish in the PS4 action-RPG Bloodborne. If you're wondering how exactly a bunny might play through an action-RPG known for its difficulty, the answer seems to be, "not well, but well enough to win." With significant coaxing, the little rabbit hops around on a repurposed Dance Dance Revolution dance pad to laboriously move its in-game avatar. 
 
The project kicked off with the attempt to kill a single enemy about a week ago, with the deadly encounter lasting under a minute. However, the next logical challenge was going toe-to-toe with the Cleric Beast, Bloodborne's first boss. The fight seemingly took place on a New Game + character that possessed a large amount of health and a weapon only obtainable later on in the game. So, capable of taking numerous hits, beast fought Beast. Take a look at their tense (and adorable) battle below:
 
 
Amazing and inspiring. Good job, bunny! ❤️
 
Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games!

Jack Gardner
If you want weird games, the developers at Usaya have you covered. One of their most prized creations stars a young woman who encounters a freakish monster that can only loosely be considered a horse, but possesses the head of a man. It also happens to be a dating simulator (with quite a few microtransactions). Fittingly, Usaya titled their strange, horrific creation, "My Horse Prince." It has amassed something of an underground cult following as an oddity on mobile devices, and, hey, we even prominently featured My Horse Prince in an article about Usaya a while back. 
 
While not even remotely one of the best games of all-time, its profound weirdness at least deserves a look.
 
With schedules being what they are, sometimes coordinating a full episode of The Best Games Period can be difficult. When we can't have a proper discussion, we will be breaking off to do these shorter mini-casts, Honorable Mentions, to talk about fringe games that we might not otherwise be able to talk about on a full episode.
 

 
Outro music: Shovel Knight 'Digging into Memories' by Jorito, Furorezu, and Stephen Kelly (http://ocremix.org/remix/OCR03769)
 
You can download or listen to the podcast over on Soundcloud, our hosting site, and iTunes. A YouTube version is available as well, so you can watch what we are talking about while we talk about it!
 
If you want to have your opinion heard on air, share your opinion in the comments, follow the show on Twitter, and participate in the weekly polls: @BestGamesPeriod 
 
New episodes of The Best Games Period will be released every Monday
 
Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games!

Jack Gardner
The sequel to the Russian cult classic has donned its plague mask and begun its final march toward release.
 
Pathologic 2 gives players twelve days to explore its mysterious and creepy open world, a land stricken with a deadly disease. While the people who reside there have become ever more paranoid and prone to extreme reactions to newcomers, something about the outbreak seems to have attracted the attention of otherworldly entities. 
 
The society presented in-game will almost certainly collapse, leaving players to navigate its ruins. Do you look out for everyone you meet or blaze your own violent trail? Either way, one of the core tenants of Pathologic 2 is a simple phrase: You can't save everyone. There will be unwinnable challenges to face where every choice brings with it a bitter downside. 
 
A variety of mysteries invite players to investigate. Uncover why your father, the town's chief doctor, was murdered and who killed him. There's also someone who might possibly be your twin who seems to be mixed up in the outbreak somehow. And as the adults join gangs and begin spreading death in their own ways, the town's children seem to be acting strangely.... 
 
 
Developer Ice-Pick Lodge will be showing the alpha version of Pathologic 2 at PAX West at the end of the month to those who attend the show. If you're interested in trying the game for yourself, you can sign up for alpha participation on the game's website. 
 
Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games!

Jack Gardner
Nintendo kicked off their Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Nintendo Direct today by killing their premier mascot's younger brother. In a shocking display of brutality, the Grim Reaper itself appeared to reap Luigi with such force that his soul became visible as it exited his body. Luckily, the Reaper's reign of terror proved to be short lived with the intervention of renowned vampire hunters, Simon and Richter Belmont, both of whom will be playable characters when Super Smash Bros. Ultimate releases later this year. 
 
Masahiro Sakurai, the director of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, took to the camera to discuss the appearance of Castlevania in the Smash Bros. franchise. Castlevania itself brings an additional 34 music tracks and a special stage that incorporates random boss appearance from across the vampyric series. Alucard will also appear as an assist trophy with a bevy of blood-sucking ability
 
Chrom from Fire Emblem: Awakening and Dark Samus have also been added to the roster as echo fighters, slight variations on classic combatants. 
 
Sakurai then went on to reveal a great number of returning stages like Summit, Pokemon Stadium, Guar Plains, and more. Some new faces made an appearance, too, such as New Donk City Hall. A colossal number of stages have been included, 103 unique stages, each with two variations. Players can now select an option to morph the stage during a match, causing the battlefield to shift and change over time.
 
Oh, and all of those stages and menus contain over 900 music tracks - over 28 hours of music. A soundtest mode can be accessed that acts as a music player on the go with the Switch's screen turned off. 
 
A number of gameplay improvements have been revealed. Stamina Battle has returned as one of the standard smash modes. Rule presets can be made to enable quick access to favorite configurations. The screen in Sudden Death slowly zooms in to increase the sense of urgency. Tournament support has been added, too! The new training mode takes place on a grid to help get a feel for the impact of different moves, with an option to turn on trajectory tracking. 
 
Oh, they have also added a banana gun - it's a gun that looks like a banana that shoots a powerful banana bullet. Probably one of the best things ever. 
 
A whole slew of new pokemon have been added to Smash Bros. with new faces like Lunala and classics such as Abra finally getting their chance to shine. 
 
Monster Hunter appears in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, too! Rathalos, a giant dragon creature, appears as a boss and an assist trophy, marking a first in the Smash Bros. series. 
 
Before the end of the Direct, Sakurai teased a mysterious mode that Nintendo had blurred out on the main title screen. Then the screen faded to black... and they revealed Donkey Kong Country nemesis King K. Rool! Long requested for the fighting game franchise, Rool uses a variety of underhanded pirate tricks, seems to command a colossal laser cannon, and is generally everything players ever wanted from a giant lizard man. 
 
 
Check out the Nintendo Direct for yourself - and also please get someone to check on Luigi. He was clearly very much not okay.
 
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate releases on December 7 for Nintendo Switch. 
 
Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games!

Jack Gardner
The gang tries to recover after a robbery gone wrong. In the face of an objectively humiliating failed operation, Pribi concocts a plan to bring in the money they need to complete Syd Sylvane's task. If they can pull it off, a world of possibilities begins to open up before them.... 

We Wanted Adventurers is a liveplay Dungeons & Dragons podcast that follows a motley trio of unlikely heroes as they bumble into adventures both big and small across the fantastical continent of Nevarrone. For the uninitiated, a liveplay podcast features an unscripted recording of a traditional tabletop roleplaying game, with all of the goofs and drama that comes with the territory.
 
With Tabletop Appreciation Weekend on August 25-26, you can also delve into the deep worlds of imagination and fun with your own friends and family. There's no better time to start a game of your own and forge some memories you'll never forget in the old-fashioned and time-tested form of pen and paper RPGs! 
 

 
You can download or listen to the podcast over on Soundcloud, our hosting site, and (soon) iTunes. You can follow the show on Twitter, too. Let us know what you think of the show! We know that some parts of it are a bit bumpy, but I hope it doesn't get in the way of your enjoyment as we all learn and grow together. Thank you for listening! 
 
New episodes of We Wanted Adventurers will be released every Wednesday
 
Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games!

Jack Gardner
That being the case, every single other animal character in Animal Crossing wears some kind of clothing item. Sometimes they get a bit scandalous with a lack of pants or a simple apron in lieu of other clothing items, but they are almost never completely in the nude. I have to say "almost" because of one man- erm, one dog. 
 
Enter: K. K. Slider
 
The smooth groovin', cool dog, K. K. Slider, sure doesn't like wearing clothes. I mean, sure, he's a cartoon dog. I get that. However, showing up every week to flagrantly disregard the social conventions of your Animal Crossing town? That steers into some weird territory.
 
This enigmatic figure has been present in every single Animal Crossing title to date. Clearly a talented musician, the large noggin’ed Jack Russell terrier can play entire sets with just a guitar and some clever mouth noises that you wouldn't expect to come out of a dog, even a cartoon one. He shows up in a predetermined location every Saturday after 8pm and plays music until midnight, at which point he leaves to do... something. It's not really clear what Mr. Slider gets up to in his free time or his professional life. Perhaps things are better that way.
 
However, in Animal Crossing: New Leaf, he works as a DJ from Friday through Sunday under the guise of DJ K. K., his very own Clark Kent-esque persona. While deep under cover, he does wear glasses and a yellow cap, so you might think those constitute enough clothing for an Animal Crossing game. It’s pretty obvious, though, that Slider lives for the moments when he takes to the stage on Saturday evenings from 8pm until midnight, clad in nothing but his own fur and a strategically positioned guitar.
 

 
I maintain that there are two distinct possibilities. In his quest to be as chill as possible, K. K. Slider might have misinterpreted a guitar as a piece of clothing. In a world of eccentric cartoon characters, that's certainly a something that could happen. However, while this clothing snafu might have been an accident at first, it’s unthinkable that no one has ever pulled him aside to explain that carrying a guitar around in lieu of a shirt or pants flies in the face of common Animal Crossing decency.
 
With the statistical unlikeliness of no one bringing up that subject, that leaves one possibility: He likes it. Putting his nudity on constant display alongside his immense musical talents seems to be how he enjoys himself, but he absolutely knows it’s a social taboo. Why else would his incredibly transparent disguise as DJ K. K. include accessories? It all adds up to this cartoon dog either being more risque than anyone ever imagined or the source of his musical talent depends on his disrobed state.
 

 
For the record, there’s nothing wrong about K. K. Slider not wearing clothes, it’s just rude to those around him who didn’t consent to that kind of social contract.
 
 
Also, Go K. K. Rider! is his best song. Fite me. (Really, that was the point of this hard hitting think piece, anyway.)
 
Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games!

Jack Gardner
Released a year and some change ago, Dream Daddy aimed to offer the world a wholesome experience that combined the drama of raising a teenager with the romance of dating a number of conveniently available dads. With the backing of the Game Grumps and solid writing that deftly navigated around stereotypes and exploitation, the game stood apart from the typical dating sims. Now that the wave of enthusiasm has died down, a second look at this friendly and colorful visual novel is more than warranted. 
 
Can a dating sim be considered one of the best games of all-time? And, if so, does Dream Daddy reach those lofty heights?
 
Each week we will be tackling a video game, old or new, that at least one of us believes deserves to stand as one of the greatest games of all time. We'll dive into its history, development, and gameplay, while trying to argue for or against the game of the week. Sometimes we will be in harmonious agreement, other times we might be fighting a bitter battle to the very end. However each episode shakes out, we hope that everyone who listens will find the show entertaining and informative.
 
 
Outro music: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 'Windborne' by Rozovian (http://ocremix.org/remix/OCR03763)
 
You can download or listen to the podcast over on Soundcloud, our hosting site, and iTunes. A YouTube version is available as well, so you can watch what we are talking about while we talk about it!
 
If you want to have your opinion heard on air, share your opinion in the comments, follow the show on Twitter, and participate in the weekly polls: @BestGamesPeriod 
 
New episodes of The Best Games Period will be released every Monday
 
Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games!

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