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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

Jack Gardner
Today, the creative mind behind Dim Bulb Games' Where the Water Tastes Like Wine, Johnnemann Nordhagen, announced the release of Fireside Chats, a free collection of stories that supplement the main game's narrative. The collection will serve as a welcome addition to the stories held within Where the Water Tastes Like Wine or as a teaser for those who have yet to play the game and are interested in its unique take on American folklore. 
 
Described as a companion app, Fireside Chats consists of each character telling their respective stories. It also relays the Dire Wolf's introductory conversation. It's also fully voiced by the original cast.  
 
You can download Fireside Chats for free on Dim Bulb Games' itch.io page. 
 
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
It seems that, though development on The Walking Dead: The Final Season will be finished by Skybound Entertainment, the demise of Telltale Games will result in some of their games being pulled from digital distribution. Some eagle-eyed observers have noticed a number of Telltale titles had become inaccessible recently. While it's possible that there's some coincidence and that the delisting isn't related to the studio's closure, this could be the beginning of a wider delisting campaign.
 
The following games can no longer be found on Steam:
 
Jurassic Park: The Game Tales of Monkey Island Episodes 1-5 Tales of Monkey Island Complete Pack Back to the Future: The Game Episodes 1-5 Back to the Future: The Game
  These titles can still be found on other digital storefronts like GOG, XBLA, and PSN, though for how much longer? Hopefully this turns out to be temporary as legal issues are resolved and the rights to all of these games go to new homes. 
 
 
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 group faces an existential threat as another interested party comes to claim the artifact they've recovered in Riverton.
 
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!

Jack Gardner
It can be easy to lose sight of the smaller indie titles with all of the high-profile games releasing as we near the holiday season, but one in particular stands out following its release last Friday: Collidalot. 
 
Collidalot is a fast-paced hover car combat game with a heavy emphasis on local multiplayer for up to four people. Players attempt to ram one another off the map or into hazards like spike traps. These vehicles receive a speed boost by riding rails with even higher speeds gained by riding rails painted their particular color. Each vehicle comes with its own special move to help give it the edge needed to pull out a victory. 
 
Also, it has a jammin' techno soundtrack that you can listen to for free on the company's SoundCloud page. 
 
The story of Seattle-based Grunka Munka Games begins with most of the team still in college where they worked together on a project called "The Enragement Ring." Even in an unpolished state, it gained attention from professors and it wound up making a circuit around the Seattle game dev scene where it won the Audience Choice award at both Seattle Indie Game Competition and Intel Game Developer Showcase among several other nominations and distinctions. All of that buzz landed the team at Grunka Munka on Nintendo's radar and after years of work, Collidalot has finally released!
 
I had the opportunity to ask Andrew Ward, the CEO of Grunka Munka Games, some questions about Collidalot and he was gracious enough to provide some insightful looks into the world of scrappy game dev and shipping a studio's first game.
 
---
 
What were some of the ideas for games that got bounced around before landing on what would become Collidalot?
 
Originally, the game was intended to be giant spaceships slamming into other ships and knocking them out of the “sumo ring” arena to destroy them. We also wanted the game to be a local multiplayer game. Beyond that, everything we implemented was in an effort to achieve those intentions. We found that it is really boring to fly giant, slow spaceships at each other, especially if there are no projectile weapons, which we didn’t want. We thought that might be better if the ships were small and fast, so we tried it. It was better, but it was so easy to fly out of the map into the emptiness of space. Then we thought about how to add a better sense of control, so we ended up adding energy rails to grind on. This essentially created the first iteration of Collidalot.
 
At what moment did you feel like Collidalot had enough potential to build a gaming studio around it?  
 
People seemed to love the first version of the game even though the controls were terrible and the game was slapped together so loosely that it would be a stretch to even call it a demo. It also had a terrible name, “The Enragement Ring”. It was fun though, and definitely unique. That gave us a lot of initial momentum.
 
Most of us were still in school at the Academy of Interactive Entertainment, Seattle, but the excitement around early versions of the game during class got the attention of the staff. The most notable staff member to take note was Peter Huff. He handled most of the event coordination for the school and invited us to join iFEST 2017. Things moved quickly from there. People were asking us if the game was out because they enjoyed it so much at iFEST, even though we didn’t have any menus in the game yet. Someone responsible for helping run another local gaming event, Power of Play, approached us at iFEST and asked us to show the game off there the very next weekend. We went to Power of Play because it was a great opportunity, but we had no idea what to expect. While there, a representative from Nintendo approached us asking if we would be interested in bringing the game to the Wii U.
 
Remember, the game had no menus, little content, and was barely a working prototype. We were still students with more than a year left until graduation. This was the turning point for us. We took this positive momentum and ran with it. No matter how hard it got, we pushed through because we knew this game and this team was on the right track for success and we didn’t want to squander such an opportunity.
 

 
There aren’t any guns in the game – how did that decision get made and what does that absence of guns bring to Collidalot?
 
The game was supposed to be all about slamming spaceships into each other originally, although that eventually changed to slamming jet-powered hover cars into each other. If you give players guns, that opens up the option to avoid other players and to shoot at them from a distance instead, bypassing our original vision. For this reason, you could say it was initially a design choice to get people to play the game [as it was intended]. We wanted people to be in each other’s face in game and out of game since it was a local multiplayer game, and you don’t really feel that intense connection if you can play without ever going near each other.
 
Later, we realized that having no guns is kind of a big deal for many kids and families - a large portion of our target audience. We want everyone to experience our games and that design decision makes it easier for many families to feel comfortable with Collidalot.
 
What were some of the inspirations for the mechanics behind Collidalot?
 
Inspirations for Collidalot come from every corner of the universe. Warhammer 40K was the biggest one in terms of the concept for the game. Towerfall Ascension is one of our favorite local multiplayer games, so we tried to sneak many of their brilliant design choices into Collidalot in subtle ways. Smash Bros, Splatoon, Mad Max, Tony Hawk, Extreme-G, Kinetica, Star Wars: Episode 1 Racer, and a ton of other sources outside of video games served as inspiration to us.
 
Collidalot seems to have racked up a large number of awards since it began making the indie game circuit – which one has meant the most to the team?
 
The Seattle Indie Game Competition’s People Choice Award 2017 (received at Power of Play 2017), is the award that means the most to us. It was our first major award. It was also the first award we worked towards months before receiving, and it felt incredible to earn it. Receiving that award was not just about us, either. It was about showing the people who have given us so much amazing support that we were not going to let them down; we were going to push ourselves to succeed.
 
Collidalot is Grunka Munka’s first project, what are the biggest learning experiences you’ve had trying to ship this game?
 
There have been so many and they are unique to each person on the team. We had to learn everything from scratch, like how to use the Unity game engine and how to make a game in general. Things that seem simple, like making a player select UI, were difficult because we hadn’t done it before. Most things took research and several iterations, so they took a while. We also had to learn how to form and run a company on top of it all, which added even more chaos into the mix. Then there were things like attending conferences to demo the game, joining competitions, and figuring out how to market the game so people would simply know it exists. Being a game developer is a learning experience that never ends.
 

 
The Grunka Munka team participates in Extra Life – how did that begin? Why is it important to you all?
 
One of our team members previously interned, and later worked, in the medical field before, during, and after undergrad. He’s always had a tremendous level of respect for the entire industry. That’s where it began. Since we work within a few blocks of Seattle Children’s Hospital (SCH), he quickly started reaching out to SCH and Extra Life about how we can get involved and help. After he joined the team, we started chatting about what we can do to help out and contribute. We all have been gamers since we were young and remember specific games that we loved both then and now. We know that hospitalized kids and their families could always use more reasons to smile and we simply couldn’t stop thinking about how to help. This drove us to get more involved with the Extra Life Seattle Guild, who immediately amplified our ability to spread some gaming happiness with SCH and beyond. We are proud to be a part of the Extra Life Seattle Guild and are incredibly excited for the work we are doing with them right now and will continue to do.
 
What message did you want to send with Collidalot? What do you want people walking away from a session with it to be thinking about?
 
I think everyone on the team has something different they want to say through the games we make. We all agree that moments in life are more special when you can share them with others. Collidalot aims to bring people together so that they can make and share those moments. We also want to show that there are still many amazing, unique things games can do that have never been done and that they are worth making.
 
What sorts of projects is Grunka Munka interested in making in the future?
 
Our goal is to create original ideas and new types of gameplay. Having just launched Collidalot, we are prototyping new ideas and deciding on our next project now. We are definitely interested in expanding concepts from Collidalot beyond its 2d/3d layout. We also have a number of completely different ideas for games we would like to work on. Our main focus will be to create something new and push ourselves creatively.
 
Why do you believe Collidalot should succeed? What’s your best elevator pitch to someone who’s undecided?  
 
Because Collidalot is a unique take on the 4-player brawler. There are a lot of games available nowadays and it’s always exciting when there is something new and different to experience. We appreciate when people are a bit confused, yet excited by novel, unique games. Games should incite this and we feel we have captured that feeling. We pitch the game as “Collidalot is Jet-powered destruction derby crossed with high-speed rail grinding”. Basically, think Smash Bros. in jet cars.
 
 
Collidalot is available now on 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!

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!

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