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Jack Gardner
Cerebral palsy can make life difficult. Movement and communication can become a challenge. The differences those challenges present give those with cerebral palsy a unique perspective on the world, one that can be hard to understand for those without the condition. However, that doesn't mean that kids or adults with cerebral palsy don't need love or connection. They dream just as big as anyone else. 
 
October 6th is World Cerebral Palsy Day, a time for everyone to consider the community of people living with the condition alongside all of us. Those with cerebral palsy travel a difficult road with all kinds of challenges both physical and mental. Their perspectives on the world teach us the importance of creating more accessible environments, buildings, and devices for those who might lack the ability to effectively move across short or long distances - or even play games.
 
With input from physicians and numerous groups including the Cerebral Palsy Foundation, Microsoft was able to release the Xbox One Adaptive Controller, a device that allows those with conditions affecting their mobility to game with a wide variety of peripherals that can be mapped to different buttons on a traditional controller. Developers on the software side of things in the games industry have been creating different in-game settings to accommodate those who might have a hard time playing due to audio or visual impairment or even easier difficulty settings that allow everyone to experience their games. 
 
One of the people trying her best to make the world a better place for kids with cerebral palsy is Boston Children's Hospital's Miracle Child Stella and her mother. Born over a month early, Stella had numerous complications while growing up. Her mom had to call 911 numerous times to have her resuscitated and it became clear early on that Stella had cerebral palsy. As she grew older, her mom found it difficult to do little things like take her to the beach or go on walks. Stella's grandfather had an idea: A beach buggy. 
 
 
The device Stella's grandfather created out of PVC piping and four wheels altered the family's life:
 
Going down to the beach was so much easier. I could just put her in the chair and we could go over all types of terrain. Even just going on field trips for her, like we went apple picking on a field trip and we were able to bring the buggy. And then we realized, after we had her buggy, that we were able to take her for walks along the street which was just awesome. 
 
After experiencing how much the buggy changed their lives, Stella and her mom started a non-profit, Stepping Stones for Stella, a group that has helped hundreds of families to open up the world for those with cerebral palsy. "It’s not an easy road at first," says Stella's mom, "but it gets easier — and less scary.”
 
Extra Life is proud to be able to support kids like Stella in Children's Miracle Network Hospitals around the United States and Canada. Thank you to everyone who helps build up facilities like Boston Children's Hospital with the best equipment, buildings, and people to make sure that every child who comes through their doors gets the care and attention they need. 
 
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
Many games revolve around conflict and fighting, the struggle to prove one's superiority to another via online competition or by overcoming single-player challenges. With October being Bullying Prevention Month, we thought it might be a great idea to spotlight some game series that focus on learning to appreciate and work with others. No one likes bullying, but it's unfortunately the case that children who need medical care or live with conditions that lead others to perceive them differently are more at risk to be on the receiving end of bullying. 
 
We've taken the opportunity of this month to talk about a few games that might help someone who has been bullied feel less alone. On the flip side, these titles might be used to teach kids who may engage in bullying behavior about empathy and learning to appreciate the differences between people. Plus, they are all just great game series that everyone should play at least once!
 
Stardew Valley
 
 
ConcernedApe, the lone developer behind one of the most beloved indie games of the past few years, really knows how to put together a town of interesting characters. Players take on the role of a character who leaves the bustling and soul-crushing city to take care of their grandfather's farm in a town called Stardew Valley. The dilapidated old farm leaves much to be desired, but through hard work and dedication players can restore the farm to its former glory and befriend the colorful cast of locals. 
 
Stardew Valley doesn't really have an antagonist outside of the looming corporate interests of Jo-Jo Mart. The game emphasizes friendship and co-operation, something that came into clearer focus when a co-op mode was added to the game last year. This lack of social friction makes Stardew Valley an ideal escape from the stresses of real world living. Many people find it to be a comforting experience that helps them heal and face the world again.
 
People looking for a game that teaches kindness and emphasizes communal harmony, two things that fly in the face of bullying, couldn't do much better than this game about farming and friendship.
 
Animal Crossing
 

 
From the very beginning of the series, Animal Crossing has been about making friends, performing acts of community service, and contributing to the greater good. Those same basic concepts have been present across all future entries in the franchise. It's a game about interacting with a world where conflict is largely absent, a rarity in video games. It also takes place in real time, encouraging players to make continual, daily investments into their digital communities.  
 
In Animal Crossing, players move to a new town and find themselves unexpectedly roped into a money-making scheme by local businessman Tom Nook. From there, players can weed the town to make it more pleasant for themselves and their neighbors and give gifts to their fellow townsfolk. When the various animals in town like the main character enough, they might choose to live in town permanently. This is all done without a main antagonist (unless you count the comedic opposition of characters like Tom Nook or Mr. Resetti). Players can also contribute to the local museum to help the community learn more about wildlife and the natural wonders of the world. There are countless ways players are encouraged to live in harmony with the other residents of their town. 
 
If ever there was a game that emphasized the greater good and living in peace with all kinds of different people, it's Animal Crossing.  
 
Fire Emblem
 

 
The Fire Emblem series has a long and storied history of encouraging social interaction between its myriad of different characters. Sometimes they begin as enemies and other times as amicable rivals, but over time they learn to respect and even love one another. A major theme across all of the games deals with the bonds people forge between one another in their communities. 
 
Unlike the other two games highlighted so far, Fire Emblem does involve a fair bit of combat. Players take on the role of a strategic commander giving orders to units on a battlefield. The more that the player's units, who all have names, histories, and personalities, fight next to one another, the more their bond develops. Once that bond reaches certain levels, the two unites can hold a conversation in which they poke fun at one another, express their desires and passions, or even reveal crucial plot details. 
 
Fire Emblem is a series where numerous people from different social and political backgrounds with differing views and physical appearances all come together to work for a common goal. Watching people learn about those differences and embrace them, learning about the little quirks that make them human, it helps the player appreciate the differences between people in the real world - and maybe help bridge the divide when things seem unfamiliar.
 
What sorts of games do you play to find a positive sense of community or connection with others?
 
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
Joe Joe is 13 years old. He loves to swim and surf. He's been competing in track and field. His family keeps him active in school and the community by involving him in extracurricular activities and services at their local church. He never gets mad or upset, and he tries to lift up everyone around him. Joe Joe also lives with Down syndrome, a condition his doctors discovered shortly after his birth along with a rare form of cancer affecting his bone marrow. 
 
Joe Joe's mom, Kris, loves her son. "He wears us out!" she laughs, "He is an 8-to-8 kid; he is on the go all day." Joe Joe is a miracle kid in every sense of the word. He was born with a rare form of cancer called transient myeloproliferative disorder. This condition can affect fetal blood-forming organs like the liver and bone marrow. This can have wide-ranging effects from permanent organ damage to death. With the help of his skilled team of doctors, Joe Joe was able to recover from the condition and become the happy, healthy kid he is today.
 
While Joe Joe has Down syndrome, Kris believes firmly in the advice she received from the pediatrician who helped her right after Joe Joe was born. "If you want a disabled, sick child, treat him like a disabled, sick child. You want a healthy, active child in society? Then that's how you treat him." Those few sentences have shaped how Kris and her family have raised Joe Joe, letting him live in the world without sheltering him from the challenges he has to overcome.
 
 
Down syndrome arises in individuals due to a quirk that can occur in chromosome 21, often caused by an extra copy of the chromosome being present in their DNA. This extra genetic material can result in a divergence in brain development, facial structure, as well as certain developmental delays. Though they might face certain difficulties, individuals who have Down syndrome live lives very similar to those who don't have it. Those with Down syndrome have personalities, interests, and talents, with the ability to learn the same skills as people born without Down syndrome. 
 
You can watch Kris and Joe Joe on the reality series produced by Children's Miracle Network Hospitals called Real Moms. The twelve episode series follows the lives of several moms out in the world as they raise kids who deal with life-altering medical complications. The series premiered earlier this year and you can watch the entire run on YouTube for free. 
 
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 showdown with the undead special agent below South Gate Prison turns deadly. The gang reunites with old friends and encounters an enigmatic priest who invites them to a place none of them have ever heard of before: Spire, City of the Returning God. 
 
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. If you've never listened to the show before, here's a handy playlist to get you caught up.
 

 
"Rynos Theme"
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, Spotify, 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
TwitchCon has come and gone leaving all of us with unforgettable memories and marking some impressive achievements for the Extra Life community. Thousands of TwitchCon attendees descended upon the San Diego Convention Center and were exposed to Extra Life. Hundreds flocked to the booth and the human claw machine to sign up to support their local hospital. It was an incredibly moving experience that left everyone involved with memories that will last for years to come. 
 
The Human Claw Machine represented a major part of Extra Life's presence at TwitchCon 2019. A giant contraption capable of lifting attendees and lowering them into a pit full of mystery prizes, it definitely drew a crowd of both experienced Extra Lifers and curious newbies. One of the people who stopped by was Ryan from Flocker.tv, one of Extra Life's sponsors. Ryan has five years of Extra Life under his belt and raises funds for The Children's Hospital Foundation of Manitoba, a place that gave him a life-saving heart surgery when he was a kid. He was one of the people who helped make Extra Life North a resounding success, too!  
 

 
While we were at TwitchCon, it was an honor for our Community Director, Lou Adducci, to appear as a guest in an interview on Cheddar Esports, a live gaming news show that airs on Twitch. You can catch the segment on Twitter and hear Lou talk about how amazing The Human Claw Machine is in person. 
 
 
The claw wouldn't have been a successful draw for the crowd without the help of Extra Life's corporate sponsors. In total, sixteen different companies came together to help Extra Life make the prizes for The Human Claw Machine incredible.
 
 

 
As part of a collaboration with Astro Gaming, Extra Life gave away codes for Astro's line of headsets. Winners were sent emails with codes and a link to use when redeeming the headsets online. If you were one of the lucky winners and are having trouble with either receiving your code or its redemption, our support team has a few steps to follow:
 
If you won and haven't been able to locate your code, check your spam folder. Unfortunately, some of our notifications to winners have gotten stuck in the spam folder.  If the code hasn't been caught by the spam filter, please reach out via email to support@extra-life.org. We'll have someone look into your issue as fast as we can.  If you have your code and are encountering difficulty in redeeming your prize, support@extra-life.org should be your go-to solution. In your email, include the email address you gave to the redemption kiosk, the code in question, the URL they are using to redeem their prize, and a description of the issue.   
Thank you to all of our partners for helping us to give our community an unforgettable TwitchCon experience and bring even more people to the cause. It was incredible seeing everyone working together to bring Extra Life to as many people as possible. 
 
Let's keep going forward and gaming For The Kids!
 
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
2010 was the heyday for free games released online and powered by Flash. Titles like Meat Boy grew in the wild frontiers of Newgrounds and other websites that catered to those looking to play games in their web browsers. Into the mix stepped Uruguayan studio Ironhide Games. The company had found success with a few minor titles, but their latest game, Kingdom Rush, achieved a rare level of success. With more than 300 million plays under its belt, the developers created a version for the then new iPad. This portable version found massive acclaim and propelled the creation of a mobile version for iPhones and eventually Android. It became one of the most popular games in the world for a window of time. Within innovative gameplay and incredibly solid execution, it remains one of the best tower defense games of all time, arguably the best of them all. 
 
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.
 
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: Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge 'Cozy Campfire' by Yffisch (http://ocremix.org/remix/OCR03974)
 
You can download or listen to the podcast over on Soundcloud, Spotify, 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
Tomorrow, thousands will descend upon the San Diego Convention Center for TwitchCon, the streaming platform's yearly celebration of its talented and creative community. TwitchCon 2019 will take place September 27-29. Extra Life will be there representing the best the gaming community can offer in the DonorDrive Charity Arcade.
 
DonorDrive provides a platform to power the most used charity streaming programs. At this year's TwitchCon, they have partnered with the convention to create a space for attendees to learn about how they can raise funds for the charities that are nearest and dearest to their hearts. As part of the DonorDrive Charity Arcade, Extra Life will be at TwitchCon to show everyone how to harness streaming to support sick and injured kids in their local hospitals. 
 
As part of the draw to Extra Life's area of the show floor, one of our most popular booth attractions will be make a reappearance: The Human Claw Machine! With prizes donated by sponsors from across the industry, attendees will be able to line up and strap in to be dunked into a giant pit of awesome and mysterious prizes. The device drew record numbers to Extra Life's booth at this year's E3, so we figured we'd break it back out for TwitchCon 2019! 
 
"This year, we will bring our human claw machine to TwitchCon 2019 in the DonorDrive Charity Arcade," said Extra Life's Managing Director Mike Kinney. "TwitchCon attendees can try their luck for free loot as they are harnessed onto a crane-like device and dipped into a pit of games, collectibles and gaming accessories from several of our sponsors and partners."
 
 
TwitchCon 2019 will be one of the biggest events Twitch has ever thrown. Lil Nas X will headline the show while attendees enjoy their favorite streamers appearing in gaming tournaments, educational talks, and open panel discussions that will tackle a variety of topics. There will also be a significant floor presence for merchandise, meet-and-greets, and convention specific events. It's going to be a fantastic time and we really hope that we'll be seeing you stop by the Extra Life booth in the DonorDrive Charity Arcade to say hello and give the Human Claw Machine a try! 
 
Let's keep pushing on toward Game Day together, For The Kids. 
 
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 begins a joint operation with the newly freed thieves, pirates, and murderers to break out of prison and find the hidden chamber which their former leader, Syd Sylvane, has been taken for questioning. 
 
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. If you've never listened to the show before, here's a handy playlist to get you caught up.
 

 
"One of Them" "Werq"
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. 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
PlayStation broadcast its slate of titles that will be making their way to PlayStation 4 over the next several months via its State of Play platform. Today brought us tantalizing looks at new indie games like Humanity, Arise, a sweeping overview of PSVR games, and the AAA games coming out between now and early 2020. The State of Play also revealed the PS Plus games in store for October. Modeled after Nintendo's announcement and update series, Nintendo Direct, State of Play offers players a direct and digestible line of information on the latest games coming to Sony's flagship console.
 
Here's everything that Sony revealed at their livestreamed event:
 
Humanity - A new game from Enhance, the developer behind games like Rez and Tetris Effect. It appears to be some sort of puzzle game depicting the mass movement of people in both peaceful and violent ways. It's framed as a puzzle experience where the player guides streams of humans into pillars of light. Perhaps it is a commentary on some sort of afterlife?
 
Humanity will be coming sometime in 2020.
 
 
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare - State of Play revealed a new trailer focused on the story of the upcoming entry in the Call of Duty franchise. The story follows Captain Price, a brewing civil war in the Middle East, chemical weapons, and a US Embassy under attack. One of the main characters of the story appears to be the daughter and of a terrorist, their conflicting ideologies creating additional drama. The Special Ops Survival Mode, this game's co-op, will be coming to PlayStation 4 first.
 
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare releases next month on October 25.
 
 
Wattam - One of the more inexplicable games teased during the State of Play broadcast, Wattam comes from the creators of Katamari Damancy. It seems to be about shapes trying to be friends. Players are tasked with connecting reconnect various anthropomorphic shapes and characters and building up their relationships. A big part of this appears to be the primary character tipping its hat to reveal a present shaped bomb, a friendship kaboom, that explodes and spreads happiness. The game takes players across numerous worlds to spread love and kindness. It even allows singleand co-op play. 
 
Wattam will be coming to PlayStation 4 during December of this year.
 
 
Arise - Coming as part of a joint endeavor from the folks at Techland and Piccolo, Arise seems to be a story about an old man navigating the afterlife. We're treated to scenes of him traveling through a snow filled wasteland, seemingly in pursuit of a light on a distant mountain. That journey leads him through vibrant forests and dark stretches that appear to be home to some kind of hostile force.
 
While Arise was teased as coming soon, no date was announced. 
 
PlayStation VR games were shown in a rapid-fire manner, one right after the other. Viewers were treated to a good look at the drama, car chases, and gun fights of LA Noir: The VR Case Files, a game that Sony proudly announced was released today. The next game glimpsed was Gorn, a fantasy gladiator combat VR experience making its way from PC to PS4 sometime during Winter 2019. A thrilling spy adventure, Espire1: VR Operative, comes to the console later this month. Stardust Odyssey appears to be a fantastical space voyage through an imaginative universe on a mystical spacecraft, another Winter 2019 title. After the Fall is a VR game with monsters and mystery that will be releasing sometime in 2020. Finally, Space Channel 5 VR Kinda Funny News Flash brings a lighthearted and psychedelic dancing experience to VR sometime during Fall 2019. 
 
 
MediEvil - A demo launched today showcasing the revamped graphics and combat of the classic PlayStation 1 title. Playing through the demo will unlock a special hat in the full game.
 
Sir Daniel rises again to fight evil and look better than ever this October.
 
 
Sid Meier's Civilization VI - The popular strategic history game comes to PlayStation 4. It's supposedly a direct adaptation of the PC version. At launch, there will also be a bundle of the two expansions, Rise & Fall + Gathering Storm, will also be available. However, the bundle will be sold separately. The PlayStation 4 version will come with free Nubia + Khmer and Indonesia civilization & scenario packs.
 
All of this hits stores on November 22.
 
 
Death Stranding launches on November 8. Sony's State of Play announced that the game's launch would be accompanied by a limited edition PlayStation 4 Pro bundle the comes with the game, a custom PlayStation 4 Pro, and a unique controller design. 
 
Afterparty - An indie game from Night School, the developers behind the adventure game Oxenfree, Afterparty tells the story of Milo and Lola, two college friends who died right before graduating from college. Following their deaths, they were sent to Hell. However, as they were making their way through the bureaucracy, they learned of a loophole and challenged Satan himself for a chance to escape their eternal fate. In order to defeat the demon, the friends will have to out party the monarchs of hell and eventually the devil himself by drinking, dancing, and gaming their way through Hell.
 
Afterparty hits PlayStation 4 on October 29.
 
 
One of the last teases of State of Play came in the form of the upcoming lineup of free games for PlayStation Plus members during the month of October. The two games being given away for free will be MLB The Show 19 and The Last of Us Remastered. This will allow baseball fans to get their game on during the World Series and give PS Plus members the chance to catch up on The Last of Us before The Last of Us Part II releases next year.
 
The Last of Us Part II - The last game of the broadcast, The Last of Us Part II stands as Sony's most anticipated first party title on the horizon. The new trailer gives fans a better look at what to expect from the story, though early reactions to the trailer seem to reflect disappointment with the direction the game seems to be taking the queer romance that featured prominently in the original reveal trailer. The latest story tidbit gives fans their first look at Joel, the protagonist from the first game.
 
The Last of Us Part II releases on Feb 21, 2020.
 
 
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 gaming world has been clamoring for a new Animal Crossing for years now. With one approaching on the horizon, we figured it was a perfect time to take a look at the mobile game Nintendo introduced back in 2017. Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp puts players in the role of a campsite manager and arms them with the tools to make it the best gosh darn campsite ever. With activities like bug catching, fishing, and making animal friends, it seems relatively similar to other offerings in the series - but some say it just might be one of the best games of all-time. 
 
To get to the bottom of why this game resonated with so many and to discuss why it might be one of the all-time greats, we brought on Aiden Strawhun! Aiden writes for IGN and their work has appeared on Kotaku and Gamespot. They also serve as the Advocacy Director of Women in Games, an organization that works to help women find and create more inclusive places in the game industry.
 
You can (and should!) follow Aiden over on Twitter: @AStraww  
 
Each week on The Best Games Period, 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: FTL: Faster Than Light 'An Open Galaxy' by Sir_NutS (https://ocremix.org/remix/OCR03963)
 
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!

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