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Jack Gardner
At its best, the tabletop gaming community can be wonderful, coming together to discover new adventures, forge new alliances, and bring out the hero or heroine in all who come to play. Three years ago, the Extra Life Twin Cities Guild in Minnesota worked with the local non-profit tabletop gaming convention Con of the North to have a presence at their event. Over the years that relationship grew into something that brings figures from across the tabletop community in Minnesota together to raise money for the kids. 

The Extra Life Twin Cities Guild president, Troy Cleland, took point on organizing the event. As with past years, Con of the North graciously gave Extra Life table space to come and talk with curious con-goers about how they can help sick and injured kids in hospitals by playing games. This year, however, Troy was able to bring the convention deeper into the Extra Life fold. “[Because] they donate our table to us, it is no cost to us to be there,” Troy explained, “so we can focus on promotional items and materials.” Being freed from worrying about booth space allowed Troy to coordinate with Con of the North to launch additional fundraising endeavors across the wider convention.

One of these fundraising attempts came courtesy of Gen Con, the largest tabletop convention in North America. Con of the North dubbed the event Cardhalla which has people building impressive structures out of playing cards and then donating money at the end of the convention to knock them down. Cardhalla made use of cards donated by the local company Prolific Games, which supplied around 600 decks of playing cards to serve as construction materials. This had never been done before at Con of the North and managed to raise about $150 for Extra Life. Con-goers enjoyed the event quite a bit and there’s little doubt as to whether it will be returning again next year. 

That wasn’t the only event that Troy was able to coordinate, however. One of the most interesting events occurred in Con of the North’s vendor hall. A group of artists called The Long and Short of It had decided to hold a miniature painting contest at the convention and then hit upon an idea to raise money for Extra Life by holding a competition between the organizers, the titular Long and Short. They engaged in a battle all throughout the convention weekend in a no-holds-barred match of skill. As they progressed, onlookers were able to donate money for which model they thought was the best and the model that raised the most money would be declared the victor. One of the artists chose to create the many-headed dragon Tiamat from Dungeons & Dragons, complete with lighting effects customized into the figurine, while the other tackled a Warhammer 40K mech that he constructed entirely out of household recycleables and garbage. Tiamat managed to clinch the victory, but the close rivalry between the two wound up raising over $460 for the Extra Life Twin Cities Guild hospital, Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare. The Long and Short of It had such a good time competing and raising money that they plan to bring the event back with some expanded features for Con of the North 2020.

The main event benefiting Extra Life at this year’s Con of the North had to be the involvement of D&D Adventurers League for the second year running. They hosted a silent auction with items they provided themselves, a prize drawing, and more. However, the epic event they hosted on the Saturday of the con proved to be one of the most interesting initiatives they undertook. Players who were participating in the epic event could purchase in-game items and rolls by donating to Extra Life. Guild president Troy Cleland was on hand to MC the prize drawing and silent auction held before the epic event. All told, D&D Adventurers League was able to raise about $1600. “This is the second year they have done this for us,” said Cleland of the amazing effort the league had brought to raising money for Extra Life, “[D&D Adventurers League] didn’t disappoint at all.”  

Con of the North being a gaming convention, it seemed only natural for Extra Life to bring dice to the event. Working with the local children’s hospital, the Twin Cities Extra Life Guild was able to acquire over 150 six-sided and ten-sided die to use as a means of attracting curious con-goers and also raise a bit more money for Extra Life. A $1 donation conferred a d6 while a $2 donation got the donor a d10. The D&D room also made use of the dice for their in-game purchases to raise money. By the end of the weekend, the Twin Cities Extra Life Guild had managed to pull in over $140 with dice alone. Some people came by multiple times to donate more money for more dice, gushing about how much they loved using dice for a good cause, donating more than the suggested $1 or $2.  

In total, the Twin Cities Extra Life Guild was able to raise around $2,350 to support the sick and injured kids at Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare while also spreading awareness in the tabletop gaming community about how people can play and help kids at the same time. Troy Cleland played a huge part in bringing it all together and deserves so much credit for forming the ongoing relationship between Con of the North and the Twin Cities Extra Life Guild. Minnesota’s conventions don’t draw the large crowds of a PAX, a Gen Con, or an E3, but there’s a lot of heart and passion in these smaller cons that can really bolster the support local hospitals experience. All it takes is the effort necessary to expose these tight-knit communities to Extra Life’s core message of compassion and play. 
Here’s to another Con of the North… 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 Sims 3 from Maxis released in 2009 and slowly proliferated across the console and handheld market in the years that followed. It eventually made its way onto PC, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Nintendo DS, Wii, Nintendo 3DS, iOS, and Android. Players of The Sims 3 were able to become defacto gods of their own digital worlds, presiding over the daily routines of their digital underlings, building them houses, and steering the courses of their lives. The expansions that released for it added features that came to be seen by players as integral to the overall experience, allowing players to time travel, experience seasonal changes, become werewolves, and more. Outside of the sheer depth and breadth of control in-game, The Sims 3 would become a testing ground for the rise of the microtransaction economy in games, specifically proving to EA the profitability of this then nontraditional pricing model.
Could The Sims 3 be 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: Chrono Cross 'Hold onto the Dream' by prophetik music, Chris ~ Amaterasu, and DragonAvenger (https://ocremix.org/remix/OCR03881)
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
Hyper Light Drifter, a game that might just be an all-time great action-adventure, released in 2016 and has persisted in the gaming consciousness for years thanks to its stylish and imaginative use of pixel art as well as its tight, rewarding combat. Those stunning visuals and action-packed conflicts will be adapted into a Hyper Light Drifter television series thanks to a partnership between developer Heart Machine and Adi Shankar, the producer responsible for getting the Netflix Castlevania series off the ground (and who is currently doing the same for Devil May Cry and Assassin's Creed).   
Hyper Light Drifter tells the story of a lonely wanderer afflicted by a progressive illness who traverses a world full of others who have been displaced from their homes. His adventure eventually leads him through the ancient ruins and bones of long-dead creatures to recover memories and shards of power that are linked to a doorway at the center of a slowly growing settlement. The mystery that lingers in the heart of this world holds the key to understanding both the Drifter and his world. 
Polygon released details from a conversation they had with Alx Preston, the founder of Heart Machine, about the upcoming adaptation. "We're going to make it cool," said Preston, "Hyper Light as a game was pretty atmospheric and kind of overbearing at times. For a series, the question is: how do you sustain and keep your attention on a non-interactive run? Does it get really, really dark and serious? Does it have some levity?” Given Shankar's success with Castlevania, the solution likely involves a mixture of both gritty material unafraid to take a show to some uncomfortable places while injecting some quippy dialogue that conveys a lot in a short amount of time.
Given how well Castlevania was received, it's likely Powerhouse Animation could be tapped once again to adapt Hyper Light Drifter. The animation studio has been on a roll recently between Castlevania (which is expected to get a third season this year), the upcoming action-adventure Gods & Heroes animated Netflix series, and their original production Seis Manos coming later this year. While the style of Hyper Light Drifter relied on a gorgeous pixel aesthetic, the series will be more directly taking inspiration from the anime work of Hayao Miyazaki in Studio Ghibli's heyday. 
The project of adapting Hyper Light Drifter is still in its infancy, so many details about the series are still up in the air. For one, the game featured no dialogue whatsoever, something that would be incredibly difficult for a series if it's looking to find anything resembling mainstream appeal. “Considering Hyper Light was wordless, there’s an idea there of how much that would carry over to to a show,” Preston mused, "Could it be a more silent series or would we have voice acting? There's also the question of whether this would be a straight adaptation of Hyper Light Drifter's story or whether Preston and Shankar will expand on the story - or take it entirely new places. 
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
After encountering a strange metallic structure buried in the earth, the adventurers venture into its depths hoping to rescue the daughter of Dub-Lin's mayor. 
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.

"Static Motion," "Werq"
Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 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! 
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!

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