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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

iambrooke_
This post was written by fifth-year Extra Lifer Michael Stephens playing for Boston Children's Hospital. You can learn more about Extra Life at extra-life.org.
 

 
I've been a gamer all my life, and I didn't get into much charity work until I started working at my job. They partner with several groups, including Children's Miracle Network Hospitals. That's when my team and I started.
 
The idea of playing games and being able to heal kids resonated with me so easily. We did it for Boston Children's Hospital. We were all parents except for me at the time, so this just came naturally. Then it was my turn to be a dad. But when my wife was 18 weeks pregnant, we found out our baby was diagnosed with Tetralogy of Fallot.
 

 
He was born on March 20th, transferred to Boston Children's Hospital on March 26th, and underwent open heart surgery on March 28th. It took him a month to recover, but he's not cured of his condition. He's merely repaired, and it's a disease he'll carry with him for the rest of his life. Our only hope is that my son will not be inhibited by his condition but will persevere through it and do great things with his life in spite of it all.
 

 
He's 7 months old now and the happiest little boy ever. The doctors and nurses at Boston Children's Hospital saved his life and gave him a shot at a normal childhood. William Michael Stephens. He's why I Extra Life.
 


iambrooke_
This post was written by seven-year Extra Lifer Matt Parsons playing for Janeway Foundation. You can learn more about Extra Life at extra-life.org. 
 

 
For my daughter, Scarlett. While this is my 7th year as an Extra-Lifer, this year in January my daughter Scarlett was born with a cleft palate.
 

 
Cleft palate is a birth defect where the roof of your mouth does not properly form, leaving an opening between the mouth and the nose. This was a scary time for us as it was not immediately diagnosed, and she was struggling to drink milk and slowly becoming jaundice and losing weight.
 
Thanks to her children's hospital, the Janeway Children's Hospital in Newfoundland, Canada, after she is a year old she will receive reconstructive surgery (possibly multiple) to fix the cleft palate. Even with the surgery, she may still have a long road of speech therapy and hearing issues ahead of her, only time will tell.
 

 
I've never needed a personal reason to participate, but this year I have one and I hope it inspires more people to participate. While you may have no current connection to a children's hospital you never know when you or someone you love may have need of their services.
 

iambrooke_
This post was written by first-year Extra Lifer Diane Dolan playing for Jim Pattison Children's Hospital Foundation. You can learn more about Extra Life at extra-life.org.      When I was born on November 3, 1988, I weighed 1lb 11oz. I suffered four intraventricular hemorrhages grade four (bleeding in the brain) as well as having "died" I was off life support for 40 min. I started breathing, on my own, when the hospital staff lifted me to remove tubes for my parents to hold me.     I had a patent ductus arterious (persistent opening between the two major blood vessels of the heart) at three weeks and my weight was down to 1lb 2oz. I suffered from Bradycardia( slower than normal heart rate)until I was seven months old. I ended up with mild retinopathy of prematurity (abnormal blood vessel growth in the retina), which was corrected before I was four months old and released from the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).   From six months old to two years old I suffered both petite mal (Absence) and grand mal (Tonic-clonic) seizures of unknown origin but they were controlled with medicine.   When I was born my parents and family were told if I lived I would I would be non-functional. That they should put me in an institution and continue with their lives as if I didn't exist.   My parents went against the medical advice given to them at the time and took me home. Over the last 30 years, I have always been a fighter right from the day I was born and have exceeded all expectations of what I was supposed to be.      I Extra Life because I want the best care possible for the children and parents of the future.

Jack Gardner
The fifth generation of the Pokémon franchise did something unheard of - it had two direct sequels to the duo of games initially released. In 2011, Pokémon Black and White introduced the world the the new region of Unova, a land full of never before seen Pokémon. It also spun a tale involving the dastardly Team Plasma... that didn't completely end with the completion of either game. Instead, the story continued in Black 2 and White 2, arguably placing more emphasis on narrative than any Pokémon game before or since. 
 
Does the fifth generation of Pokémon stand as the best of them all?
 
This week the show is joined by O'Dell Harmon Jr.! You can (and should) follow him over on Twitter: @ODellHarmonJr
Be sure to check out his podcast, Full Circle, and his content on Game Fanatics!
 
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: Pokémon X 'Thy Everlasting Winter Wind Blows' by timaeus222 (http://ocremix.org/remix/OCR03531)
 
You can download or listen to the podcast over on Soundcloud, our hosting site, and iTunes. A YouTube version is available, as well!
 
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
If you've ever wondered what it would be like to play a classic game with a completely different soundboard, here's your chance to experience the magic. 
 
NBA Jam is receiving its own Boss Fight Books treatment and the official Twitter account for the book dug up a pretty interesting video from back in the day. The video from 2012 depicts a working Mortal Kombat arcade cabinet that has had its soundboard swapped with one from an NBA Jam cabinet. The results are incredible.
 
 
All anyone could possibly say to this is, "NUGGETS! NUGGETS! NUGGETS! NUGGETS!"
 
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
Ingress, Niantic's previous real-world mobile game, laid the foundation for the phenomenon that became Pokémon Go. Armed with a warchest filled with the success of Nintendo's foray into bringing Pokémon to life on Earth, their next stab at Ingress seems to be going all-out. The game has an anime series, live-action teasers, and seems to be doing everything it can to create a self-sustaining player base. 
 
Ingress Prime brings players into a secret war between the Enlightened and the Resistance, two groups with opposing views on how to use the mysterious resource known as XM. Coming from portals all across the world, XM seems to hold massive power and the potential to reshape humanity on a massive scale. Players travel to these real-world locations to gather the resources for their particular faction and complete mission. In the past, some of these missions could mobilize hundreds of people - Niantic seems to be hoping Ingress Prime will reach even larger numbers of players. 
 
 
Ingress Prime is currently available for mobile devices.
 
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 city of Nivalis stands at a tipping point, though to the outside observer it appears to be ticking along much the same as it always has. That is, until one fateful night Rania makes a deliver for Cloudpunk, a delivery company with a special disregard for the law. Nivalis changed forever over the course of that night.
 
Ion Lands has announced a new kind of cyberpunk game: Cloudpunk. It's a story-driven game featuring a colorful cast of characters both organic and synthetic. Players will have the towering city of Nivalis to explore either on foot or by hover car as they make delivers that touch the lives of people from every part of society.
 
Decisions players make can change the course of the story and have long-term impact on residents of the city. Those who explore carefully and pay attention to the stories around them will be rewarded with access to hidden locations and additional or expanded narrative opportunities.   
 
Your name is Rania. This is your first night working for Cloudpunk, the semi-legal delivery company based in the sprawling city of Nivalis. You go everywhere, from the Marrow below to the spires that pierce the grey clouds high above before scraping the edge of the troposphere. No delivery job is too dangerous, and no one is faster than a Cloudpunk driver. Ion Lands 
 

Cloudpunk has an open-ended release window of sometime in 2019. 
 
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
Before setting out on the return trip to Faragos, Arakiel, Pribi, and Sean Valjean decide to hit up the local shops and perhaps pick up some useful new gear. 
 
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.
 

 
You can download or listen to the podcast over on Soundcloud, our hosting site, and iTunes. You can follow the show on Twitter for updates. 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!

Naomi N. Lugo
Night City is the setting for the upcoming game from CD Projekt Red, Cyberpunk 2077. The game is based on the tabletop role-playing games Cyberpunk and Cyberpunk 2020 by Mike Pondsmith
 
Once shrouded in mystery but still able to garner a ton of hype, we finally have a concrete vision of CD Projekt Red's latest IP, Cyberpunk 2077.
 
This past August, CD Projekt Red released a much-anticipated gameplay reveal trailer. The trailer generously showed a 48-minute walkthrough of early-story content. This same content (likely with some differences) made its debut earlier for a select crowd at E3 2018. I got a first-hand look at this hype when I was able to snag one of the coveted spots to see this much talked about footage. Cyberpunk 2077 easily had the biggest hype behind it during E3. Press, industry, and gamers crowded the long halls leading to the private showing area just for the mere chance to be squeezed in for one of the nearly 50-minute gameplay demos. The CD Projekt Red team, hoping to spare disappointment and save time, came out periodically to tell those hopefuls that they were overbooked. I stood in that line for about two and a half hours, fighting off waves of hopelessness and persevering through pure stubbornness. About three people were let in every hour, and sometimes less. One developer came out and firmly said that absolutely no extra spots were available while another said he'd see what he can do. With a bit of luck, I managed to get in, and oh man, was all that angst worth it. 
 
Level Designer Miles Tost served as our guide through the demo. We entered the character creator first. Tost formally introduced us to a mercenary named V, our fully customizable protagonist who made a brief appearance in the official E3 trailer. V can be either female or male and has various cosmetic settings to go through; the usual sliders and color options one might expect. The class system, however, had me interested since it offered a fluid experience that changes as you play the game. The different classes aren't meant to be set in stone, allowing the player to switch between them. V can then adapt to each player's individualized playstyle while progressing through the game. 
 
For the live demo, the team chose a female V. After setting up, it was time to get immersed in Night City. 
 

Jackie Wells is a fellow assassin that accompanies V during the course of the 50-minute demo shown at E3
 
Located in coastal California, Night City contains six seamless districts. The city reminded me of a hybrid between Blade Runner (but with sunshine) and Fifth Element. My not-so-bold prediction pins Night City as the main setting for the majority of the game. Towering mega-buildings scatter the landscape. In one of these giant structures, we met the aforementioned V and her mercenary partner Jackie Welles. The duo work as freelance guns-for-hire, taking jobs and recognizing opportunity when it presents itself.
 
The demo began with the duo on a mission to retrieve a high priority target, the victim of kidnapping and implant harvesting. Obtaining implants, no matter how grisly the method of acquisition, proves a lucrative business in the dark future of Cyberpunk. With this introduction to Night City, V got a bit of action hunting down organ scavengers in a cramped and dingy apartment complex. They made their way through rooms, taking out enemies until stumbling upon the female target unconscious alongside another body in an iced tub. 
 
As you've most likely read/heard by now, Cyberpunk 2077's gameplay takes place from a first-person viewpoint. This fact seemed to generate some degree of frustration from fans of CD Projekt RED who have been accustomed to The Witcher series' third-person perspective. Personally, that didn't impair the experience as a viewer. Actually, the way combat functions, first-person seems to be the optimal way to play. Combat lets the player use a combo of high-tech weapons, cybernetic abilities, stealth, good ol' fashioned head bashing, and I'm sure loads more that we haven't seen yet. It definitely ventures away from what we've seen in the Witcher series. 
 
Upon securing the iced and unconscious woman, V and Jackie pointedly ignored the other person. They'd only been hired to save one life that day. 
 
V inserted an implant behind the woman’s ear to get a reading on her vitals. Twitching and iced over, the woman clung to life. The two mercenaries quickly moved outside of the apartment to a balcony. The exterior of the tiny complex exposed a massive but crowded world. Across from the giant building that V and Jackie find themselves in stands another equally massive construction. Apparently, a lot of buildings in Night City share this form and, since they're so massive, function almost like their own cities.  
 
No good deed goes unpunished, and our two heroes quickly found themselves surrounded by aggressive armed people in matching blue uniforms with a red symbol. The interlopers demanded that the two mercenaries hand over the woman. V explained that they are hired help, but these soldiers weren’t the listening types. As quickly as they had arrived, they disappeared with the woman in a helicopter. From what Tost told us, these soldiers represent a high-end medical company. Think of them as insurance for rich people. The icy, dying woman V and Jackie retrieved happens to be a client of theirs. In the world of Cyberpunk 2077, corporations run everything and this merc'ed up medical company is just another one of them.
 

These soldiers represent a medical corporation 
 
The stress of the job proved to be worth the trouble for V, her paycheck earning her enough to go off on a three-day bender off-screen. The action resumed with an NSFW scene featuring a half-naked V in bed next to an equally half-naked stranger. Tost jumped in to say that this game contains mature content, definitely not a first for CD Projekt Red. He also revealed that Night City contains many inhabitants, a large amount of which V can interact with. These types of interactions could vary between random encounters with enemies to new partners with which V can bring on missions and likely a lot of things in-between. 
 
After her wild series of days, V needed to get back to work. Luckily, Jackie called with an exciting lead: A new client that could launch their careers into the stratosphere. The client, Dexter DeShaw, had a request for the two mercenaries, the details relayed via a shard that V plugged into her head. After downloading the mission info, V and Jackie left to prepare for the job. 
 
V followed Jackie through the streets of Night City. At street level, the space seemed overwhelming. The cityscape loomed overhead with skyscrapers taking up every scrap of sky. Life kept moving around V as she walked with Jackie. NPC's interacted with each other apparently leading their own lives, according to the devs, within Cyberpunk 2077. This makes the fact that V can interact with all of the NPCs that she dodged around certainly impressive. The NPCs themselves all had labels above their heads, giving a bit more characterization to the world. Pressing on through the mass of humanity, V and Jackie entered into the lair of the ripperdoc, a purveyor of especially interesting technological artifacts.
 

This is a Ripperdoc - specializing in cyberwear, some docs deal in legal upgrades, but some supply less than legal tech 
 
The ripperdoc sells mechanical upgrades. In a corner of his shop, for example, the mantis blades from Cyberpunk's original teaser trailer can be seen. Shortly after her arrival, V settled into the doc's chair. He then proceeded to surgically remove her eyes, rendering our protagonist sightless. Darkness for a few seconds and then light. Those same eyes began transmitting images again, and V can see herself across the room for a short, surreal moment. The upgrade V had installed allows her to zoom in her vision to scan objects, useful for analyzing threats and concocting strategies. Some docs provide legal upgrades, others, not so much. The upgrades that V equips throughout the game depend on your playstyle. This leaves a ton of room to customize the game even further. 
 
After V finished getting fancy with new tech, Jackie returned with a vehicle in tow. Shady characters hung out by Jackie’s new baby, definitely looking ready to start some trouble. This understandably sounded some alarms for our mercenary friends. At this point, Tost jumped in to say that in this living world, random encounters can happen at any time. V and Jackie read the danger of their situation and took off in their ride, triggering a car chase. Speaking of vehicles, I only saw a few during the demo, but Tost said that a variety more exist in the game. 
 

2077 is dominated by corporations and Meredith Stout is a top executive of one of them. In the demo, she uses V and Jackie to get what she wants. 
 
After some tense shooting and gadgetry take care of their pursuers, V and Jackie arrived at the rendezvous point to find a corporate woman waiting for them surrounded by armed guards and vehicles. It turns out she's Meredith Stout, a higher-up with the megacorporation Militech. Stout explained that she feels as if there are hidden schemes going on at Militech and wants in on the mysterious plans. She believes that V and Jackie are in on some key details that she needs. As a sassy, tough as nails mercenary, V won't willingly hand over all of the answers that Stout wants. Fully prepared for this scenario, the ruthless businesswoman hacked into V’s mind, forcing lie detector tech into her subconscious.
 
In this future, not even your thoughts are safe.
 
Through this interaction, branching narrative paths form that affect not only the upcoming gameplay, but the story overall. V could decide to try to fight her way out or comply with various dialogue options. After shaping the situation to her liking, Stout released V to complete the job by stealing a specialized piece of military hardware currently in the possession of a ruthless gang.
 
This last act really got into the meat of Cyberpunk’s combat. The mission focused on retrieving a spider-like mech guarded by a well-armed gang holed up within an abandoned meat fortress. 
 
The newly acquired eye enhancements came in handy, as V used her techno peepers to spot nearby targets and plan her assault. Players can decide to go in guns and cyberwear blazing or sneak around the compound performing stealth takedowns. Or perhaps a more diplomatic solution could be reached? In the demo I saw, V negotiated for the prize. 
 

One of the fine people that V and Jackie are sent to negotiate within a fortified gang fortress. Their target this time is the piece of tech beside him. 
 
In Cyberpunk 2077, it’s not uncommon to see mechanical pieces on people. Some of these enhancements featured pretty prominently n the E3 trailer. The members of this gang don't mind the metal and wires; some have completely swapped their fleshy faces for a full-tech look. V met up with one such person to see the highly sought-after piece of military-grade equipment. The drone resembled a spider with all its limbs. Many in dangerous lines of work value its adaptive and versatile nature in all sorts of combat situations. 
 
Payment for this metallic creature resided on one of the chips seen throughout the demo. One of the gang members inserted this into their bases’ system and things go immediately awry. The woman from Millitech sabotaged the system with a virus. Bullets began to fly.
 
V then hacked into one of the fallen enemies to gain access to the layout of the building, gaining an immediate advantage and a plan to get out. 
 

Pictured is the female V, very closely resembling how she looked in the demo. Her jacket not only looks rad, but it's also a key piece of gear called the samurai jacket that is connected to a street cred system. 
 
Combat in Cyberpunk contains both smooth movements and chaotic destruction. V slid around corners to catch targets unaware, bounced bullets off of walls to catch those hidden around corners, and utilized slow-mo to jump and shoot. It all looked fun as hell, and from what I saw and heard, the CD Projekt Red team hopes that their combat system will form around each individual players style. Escaping the fortress signaled the end of the demo.
 
Coming out of seeing Cyberpunk 2077 firsthand, I felt a surge of enthusiasm. Night City included so many elements that I wanted to explore and questions I wanted to answer. What do interactions with NPCs really look like? What will the different game styles play like? Will the story form around this world, or around V? Will I like V? Am I supposed to? How sick will those cybernetic upgrades feel? Why do I feel so much hype from this game?
 
Then the gameplay trailer launched to the public, and the hype grew even more. The reaction seemed fitting since we have had to wait six years since the game's announcement in 2012. 
 
Even now, we only saw the tip of the iceberg in the hour demo. It included enough to fuel my fascination with the game. However, the skeptic in me knows that some caution is healthy. Hype this big can be dangerous. Cyberpunk 2077 will either hugely benefit from following the Witcher 3 or it could lead to undeserved expectations. We saw this with Mass Effect: Andromeda which followed the hugely acclaimed Mass Effect Trilogy. The game needed to pretty much reach a level of perfection for its fans that it inevitably fell under the pressure and rushed development cycles. 
 
However, CD Projekt Red has a different way of doing things. The studio has built a rapport with its fans that we don't see very often. Fans trust the company completely as it has delivered time and time again on ever increasing expectations.
 
CD Projekt Red has not given us a timeline for the game. Cyberpunk is available on Amazon for pre-order with a placeholder release date of December 28, 2018. Even so, it's likely we won't see the game's release this or even next year. Whenever it does reach the public, it will be playable on Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC. 

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 1999 N64 release of Pokémon Snap catapulted it into instant cult classic status, a position that has only become more entrenched over time in the almost twenty years since its release. The on-rails photography game makes the case for an mechanic that still seems mysteriously underutilized today. It's a fascinating, strange, little game and it has had people wondering for over a decade why we aren't seeing more iterations on the core concept. 
 
However, is all of that uniqueness enough to make it one of the best games of all-time? 
 
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: Tyrants: Fight Through Time 'The Vast Glass Orb' by Inrudiment (http://ocremix.org/remix/OCR03806)
 
You can download or listen to the podcast over on Soundcloud, our hosting site, and iTunes. A YouTube version is available, as well!
 
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
Back in August, we put together a short campaign with Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition called Dragonguard as a part of Extra Life Tabletop Appreciation Weekend. However, the adventure never fully wrapped up and we have even more adventure in store for our heroes planned special for Game Day weekend! Join Naomi Lugo (Nomsooni the druid), Marcus Stewart (Scratch Mangy the ranger), and Kyle Gaddo (Barphus the bard) as they don the armor of the illustrious Dragonguard, sworn to defend and protect the realm of Alterra from the dragons at its doorstep. Jack Gardner serves as the Dungeon Master, guiding our heroes through their journey.
 
Dispatched to the small town of Verne, the party began investigating the rumors of draconic activity in the area. Learning of a kobold encampment deep within the Morrithil Wastes, they made their way into the vast swampland only to find a largely abandoned village built in the shadow of an ominous dragon skeleton. Encountering a number of old and infirm kobolds in the heart of the town, our heroes learned of an impending attack led by the vengeful dragon, Fallowfell. When we last left off, the party had just tried to alert the leader of Verne, Sir Rothurt, about the impending attack, but he seemed curiously distant, perhaps preoccupied with thoughts about his recently kidnapped son, Charles? The party decided to rescue Charles and force Sir Rothurt to listen to their dire warnings. 
 
If you want to get a sense of how great a time tabletop roleplaying can be, you're invited to enjoy the adventure along with us. If you weren't able to play games on this particular Game Day weekend, hopefully this adventure brings a little bit of Game Day cheer to you! You can listen to the new episodes below or start at the beginning with this handy SoundCloud playlist. 
 

 

 

 
Intro and Outro music:
 
"Furious Freak"
Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/
 
You can download or listen to the podcast over on Soundcloud, our hosting site, and iTunes. A YouTube version is available as well.
 
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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