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Jack Gardner

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Posts posted by Jack Gardner


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    The year is 1347. A strange, creeping illness has been sweeping throughout Europe, leaving a trail of corpses in its wake. Corpses that have begun to rise again in shambling processions. In an almshouse on the fringe of society, a group of people living with disabilities, blindness, deafness, mobility impairments, and more, make the decision to survive against the tide of death. 

     

    Survival of the Able is a tabletop roleplaying game created by Accessible Games, a company staffed almost entirely by individuals living with disabilities or otherwise marginalized people. Headed by Jacob Wood, a blind game designer, Survival of the Able was born out of the desire to tell a story about people living with a variety of disabilities in a time when such conditions were viewed as rendering people useless. To some extent, a lot of the prejudices and beliefs about those with disabilities persist even centuries later. To help challenge those perspectives, Wood and his team created a tabletop experience unlike any other. 

     

     

    In the setting of Survival of the Able, players will have to overcome the challenges presented by the disease, the wandering undead, harsh weather conditions, and the discriminatory attitudes of those around you. To top it off, the absence of accessibility technology or accommodations means that the deaf won't have sign language, the blind won't have braille, and those who aren't able to stand won't have wheelchairs. This will force characters to figure out other ways to survive in a setting so full of death. Players will be armed with the knowledge a character in 1347 might have - they won't be able to readily identify the symptoms or effects of the Black Plague, meaning that the disease could prove even deadlier than the zombies. 

     

    Survival of the Able is based on the Fudge System to encourage roleplaying and eliminate the need for typical attributes that exist in many RPGs. Instead, the underlying system allows the developers to present a sliding scale to represent how those with disabilities often have differing degrees of ability. The reason for this is that Survival of the Able isn't supposed to be a story about strong heroes accomplishing incredible feats - just a story about average people who want to live. 

     

    If all of this sounds intriguing, you can actually play a beta version of the game for free by downloading it directly from the publisher's website.

     

    If you enjoy the game or simply want to support the project, the team has launched a Kickstarter to raise $8,000 that will be used to create art, edit the beta version, and organize the book into an easily understood layout. The team has also presented stretch goals that include being able to better compensate the team, creating an audiobook version of the game, and penning additional settings for Survival of the Able that include the likes of 1980s USA during the AIDs epidemic. 

     

    There aren't really any other tabletop games quite like Survival of the Able, so check it out if you have the time! Maybe even give the beta a whirl on Game Day?

     

    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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    Hideki Kamiya, the director of Clover Studio's Okami, has tweeted indicating that the beloved action-adventure title will be receiving a sequel. The hints of a sequel in the works came in the form of several tweets between Kamiya and Ikumi Nakamura, the creative director formerly employed at Tango Gameworks. Nakamura has been touring a number of prominent game studios around the world with her latest stop being PlatinumGames where Kamiya now works.  

     

    There are those on the internet, however, that remain skeptical. Kamiya has a history of playing with fan expectations on Twitter. The director, who know works as a game designer at PlatinumGames, teased impatient fans of Scalebound back in 2015 by routinely telling them that new screenshots would be released next week. Each week, the elusive screenshots were pushed back another week and never emerged. His account even puts forward rules for followers and fans. Those who violate his Twitter rules find themselves quickly blocked.

     

    However, the announcement was made alongside Ghostwire Tokyo's former creative director, Ikumi Nakamura. Nakamura posted a video to Twitter earlier today in which Kamiya said with a smile and a thumbs up that "Okami is going to come back." Nakamura looks surprised and asks, "Really?" "Really," Kamiya responds, before laughing.

     

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    The cheeky announcement might well be a joke, but Nakamura seems to sincerely want Okami 2 to become a reality. She worked at Clover Studio as a concept artist alongside Kamiya on the original Bayonetta. While Kamiya is one to pull a joke on fans, Nakamura's sincerity and energy has made her a popular developer in the game industry, even after her departure from the recently announced Ghostwire Tokyo. Nakamura followed up her video with Kamiya by saying, "Okami is going to be back. We want to make Okami sequel and fans are looking forward to it too. You guys want to see Kamiya’s Okami again, right, everyone? I want to work on it too!”

       

    While this is all very exciting to hear, Capcom has confirmed to outlets like Polygon that it hasn't made any official announcements. However, the love for Okami runs deep. The game originally released in 2006 for the PlayStation 2 before transitioning over to the Wii via a port in 2008. In 2010, a Nintendo DS sequel released called Okamiden. 2012 saw an HD remaster release on the PlayStation 3. A five year lull followed without much in the way of Okami happening before a surprise port of the PlayStation 3 remaster appeared on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC in 2017. A year later, the remaster appeared on Nintendo Switch. 

     

     

    Capcom sits on a game franchise that has become known as one of the greatest artistic achievements in gaming. The reaction to this strange, small tweet (regardless of whether it's a joke or not) speaks to how eager fans are for more Okami. With a new console generation coming up and the recent ports selling well, there might very well be another Okami in the works at this moment or in the near future - and that's very exciting. 

     

    Kamiya capped all of this off by tweeting: “Okami will be back,” he wrote. “... Someday ... I believe.”

     

    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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    Tomorrow marks the beginning of Enthusiast Gaming Live Expo (EGLX) weekend. This will be the fifth year the show has been put on and Extra Life is happy to be a part of the event. You will be able to see us from our traditional booth presence on the show floor as well as during various stretches of time on the EGLX main stage. The weekend will be highlighting a number of streamers and special guests from both the game industry and SickKids, the local Children's Miracle Network Hospital in Toronto. 

     

    EGLX 2019 takes place from October 18-20 at the Metro Toronto Convention Center in Toronto. The event brings gamers from across Canada together to celebrate gaming. There are both casual and competitive tournaments, live shows, free play areas for casual, communal gaming, unique convention storefronts, as well as recently released and upcoming games from indie studios and AAA publishers. The list of confirmed guests includes the likes of Kinda Funny Games' Greg, Nick, and Andy, the creators of Death Battle, the team behind Game Attack, and Kris Wilson of Cyanide & Happiness. 

     

    Extra Life will be appearing on the main stage throughout the event during 10 minute intervals that EGLX has been gracious enough to provide for us. We'll be talking about Extra Life's wider mission to help kids in Canada and the United States while also getting into more specifics about Toronto's own SickKids hospital. Keep your eyes peeled for a lengthier appearance on Sunday where Extra Life will be taking the stage for a full half-hour along with a Champion Child from SickKids. 

     

     

    If you will be at the event in person, be sure to stop by and say hello at booth 311. We will have our own free play stations, host a rotation of special guests for attendees to interact and play with, and be giving away prizes sponsored by Arozzi Gaming Chairs, Dell, and more! The booth will be staffed by employees from SickKids, Extra Lifers, and maybe even one of the kids who has been helped by Extra Life donations. 

     

    SickKids, also known as The Hospital for Sick Children, is one of the most research-oriented hospitals in Canada. It offers cutting-edge care, both specialized and general, for kids in the Toronto area and beyond. Their goal is to keep pushing the boundaries of care to make sure that every child receives comprehensive, safe, and effective care. 

     

    To learn more or participate in raising money for SickKids through Extra Life, you can head over to: SKExtraLife.com.

     

    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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    Today is Canadian Thanksgiving, a day for celebrating accomplishments and being thankful for the blessings of the past year. We wanted to take a minute to celebrate the amazing things the Extra Life community has helped accomplish across Canada in just the last month or so. It has been incredible watching Extra Life's partners and dedicated participants come together to raise awareness, shatter fundraising goals, and even help start entirely new hospitals. This year, we are thankful for all of you. Thank you! 

     

    DreamHack Montreal - September 6-8 

     

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    DreamHack Montreal kicked off an amazing month for Extra Life in Canada. The competitive gaming event brought together gamers from across all of Canada as well as a large number from the United States. The event was generous enough to provide Extra Life with two booth spaces, one for streamers to raise money for local hospitals and another to talk with attendees throughout the weekend. Streamers took shifts at the booth that varied between 4 -24 hours. Hospital Champion, Jean-Gilles, attended the final two days of DreamHack with his mom, playing new games, interviewing streamers, and chatting with Extra Lifers. In total, the amazing efforts of Extra Lifers at DreamHack Montreal were able to raise over $14,000 CND (over $10,000 USD) for local kids.  

     

    Extra Life North - September 7-8 

     

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    The same weekend as DreamHack Montreal, Extra Lifers from across central Canada descended upon Winnipeg to participate in Extra Life North, a weekend-long fundraiser to help the kids in the Children's Hospital Foundation of Manitoba. Numerous organizations worked with local Extra Lifers to pull the event together, particularly Bold Commerce, Flocker, and RBC. The event was attended by several Miracle Children, local celebrities, and Canadian Olympians. In total, the event raised over $73,000 CND (over $50,000 USD) for the kids of Manitoba. 

     

    First Patient Day at Jim Pattison Children's Hospital - September 29 

     

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    Jim Pattison Children's Hospital opened its doors to the very first kids in need of treatment late last month. That tremendous occasion, which was made possible with the support of partners like Extra Life, marked the first time patients in the province had access to a dedicated maternal and children's hospital. The facility provides tailored care to the needs of babies, kids, and moms who come from across Saskatchewan for help. Hospitals can be scary for kids, so Jim Pattison Children's Hospital has been built to be as friendly and welcoming as possible to its youngest patients. We here at Extra Life are so proud to have been able to play a small part in making JPCH into a reality. Photos from the event were taken by Lisa Landrie - A Photogenic Life.

     

    Extra Life Ottawa Summit - October 5 

     

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    Extra Life guild members in Ottawa were able to partner with their local Marriott Hotel to put together their own gaming event earlier this month! Extra Life Ottawa Summit created a free play area where attendees could enjoy both tabletop and video games while taking in the expansive views from the space the hotel was able to provide. Those who attended the event had a fantastic time gaming, networking, and taking in the event itself. There are currently plans in motion to grow the event for next year while working with the wonderful people at the Ottawa Marriott.  

     

    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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    Join in the fun tomorrow as one of our most dedicated Extra Lifers kicks off a 12 hour charity marathon! Aureylian will be playing a variety of games (and even doing some live singing!) on her Twitch stream while working to raise $12,000 USD for the kids at St. Louis Children's Hospital. There will be a number of incentives for fundraising including pies to the face, gift packages, and more! 

     

    If you aren't aware, Aureylian has been participating in Extra Life for the past five years making use of her platform as a Twitch Ambassador to help kids in her local Children's Miracle Network Hospital. She regularly gives key note speeches at TwitchCon, Twitch's PAX events, appears prominently in Mindcrack events, and served as a co-host for MineCon Earth in 2018. Her streaming channel is best known for Minecraft and The Sims, but she also branches out into a variety of FPS games. She even played a part in Michelle Obama's Twitch stream that was held for #CollegeSigningDay alongside Ninja and Anne Munition!

     

     

    Over the past several years, Aureylian has raised over $47,000 USD for the kids at St. Louis Children's Hospital. With her goal this year, she's hoping to reach or surpass the $60,000 USD mark. She boasts a following of over 150,000 on Twitch and just shy of 300,000 on YouTube. She has been one of our biggest supporters, earning her the title of Extra Life Ambassador for 2019. We are so proud to be able to work with such a positive force in the gaming community to build something amazing for children across the United States and Canada.  

     

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    If you are curious about what will be going down on the stream itself, a wide variety of activities are planned. The action will start off with a chill morning stream of the house renovation game House Flipper at 8am PT. Following that, get ready for some spooky fun at 10am PT with a playthrough of a Minecraft adventure set in an eerie realm. Speaking of realms, the latest expansion for The Sims, Realm of Magic, will be up at 12pm PT. Subnautica will be the core afternoon game from 2pm PT until 4pm PT. In the late afternoon and into the evening, Aureylian will be putting her voice to the test with two hours of Twitch Sings where donors will choose which songs she belts out live until 6pm PT. The last two hour segment of the stream will be either Green Hell Game or Resident Evil II depending on whether donors have reached the $5,000 USD incentive mark. There will be plenty of other things popping up on the stream on top of all of that, from guests to incentive breaks to giveaways. It's gonna be a great time! 

     

    Finally, Aureylian's Twitch stream has been sponsored by MadeGood, a company that produces organic, gluten-free, and non-GMO snacks for kids in a facility free from the 8 common allergens: peanuts, tree nuts, wheat, dairy, egg, soy, sesame, fish and shellfish. At least one of the prizes being given away during her stream will consist of a MadeGood giveaway.

     

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    One of the really neat things about this sponsorship is that during the month of October, MadeGood will be donating a portion of their Chocolate Chip Granola Mini Bar sales to support Children's Miracle Network Hospitals! These bars are limited and will only be sold during the month of October, so get 'em while they're hot from most major retailers or online through Amazon or MadeGood itself! If you have any questions about the product, be sure to reach out to MadeGood's social media presence on Twitter: @MadeGoodFoods.

     

    Be sure to tune in to Aureylian's Twitch stream any time tomorrow from 8am PT until 8pm PT. Hope we'll see you there! 

     

    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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    With the rise of digital streaming platforms, the Extra Lifers who participate in fundraising efforts on Game Day and beyond have become incredibly visible and shaped the way that people think about Extra Life. However, Extra Life is more than just streaming! We have a large and passionate community that exists in spaces that are left out of the streaming world by choice or technical limitations. If you're looking to up your fundraising game without streaming, here are several ideas that will make your efforts to help your kids in your community successful.

     

    Make the First Donation to Your Page

     

    This first point might raise a few eyebrows. When it comes to fundraising, momentum is important. Participants who already have a donation, even if it is from themselves, are more easily able to attract future donations. In fact, making the initial donation yourself before any fundraising effort is so effective that, according to our friends at DonorDrive who have crunched the numbers, people who self-donate are likely to raise 10 times more than those who don't.  

     

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    Join D&D Adventurers League

     

    This should be of interest to the tabletop gamers in our community: Participating in Extra Life fundraising can help you earn rewards at the table in Dungeons & Dragons' Adventurers League! Adventurers League helps new people to learn how to play D&D while providing high-quality, regulated adventures for players of all skill levels. Since Wizards of the Coast began working with Extra Life several years ago, many local Adventurers League events have offered ways to earn in-game items or a re-roll of the dice via charitable donations. This year, Adventurers League is offering extended Liars Night (the name of their month-long Halloween event) festivities to everyone who has donated to a fundraising page on the Extra Life website, bought a re-roll ticket that benefited Extra Life, or otherwise helped in local fundraising efforts. This will extend the spooky celebration through November 7th, allowing more time for players to fight Wandering Monsters through Game Day and beyond. Defeating those monsters earns in-game candy corn that can be used for unique, holiday-related items.  

     

    Download the Apps

     

    A reminder to download the apps might cause some to roll their eyes. However, if everyone in the Extra Life community downloaded and made the attempt to use the Mobile Fundraising Apps, Extra Life would be able to raise another $1 million USD for the kids! 

     

    Set Up a $1 Donation Playlist

     

    One of the most creative unstreamed fundraising efforts we have encountered is a sponsored cross-country road trips. This involves an Extra Lifer soliciting $1 USD donations per song suggestion to construct a playlist of music they must listen to during their journey. Community member Rich Moser recently put this tactic to the test on a journey from Pittsburgh to Phoenix. "People could choose songs, ANY song, by donating $1 per song," explained Rich. "If my math is right, I raised $614 by doing this! [There were] so many great and terrible songs that I had to keep the playlist playing for a day or so after we got here in order to complete it!"

     

    If you want to take a gander at Rich's playlist, here’s the link (be warned some songs are NSFW).

     

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    Launch a Facebook Fundraiser

     

    One of the features on Facebook that has gained traction over the years has been giving users on the social media site the ability to create fundraisers for causes near and dear to their hearts. This feature has raised over $1 billion USD since it was launched back in 2015. Due to a recent update to Extra Life's website, it has never been easier to create a Facebook Fundraiser. Through your account page on Extra Life's main website, you will have a small button that streamlines the fundraiser creation process with clear prompts to help you connect your Extra Life account with your Facebook. Once the process is complete, any donations to your Facebook fundraiser will be reflected in your fundraising total on Extra Life! 

     

    On average, people who create Facebook Fundraisers raise $150 USD from the effort. If everyone in the Extra Life community created one, our fundraising totals for 2019 would be mind-boggling! 

     

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    Host a Classic Game Night

     

    If streaming isn't your thing, consider throwing a game night for your friends or community. Game nights are a classic way to get people engaged with your fundraising efforts, especially if it's a laid back, less formal event. Dust off the Rock Band or Guitar Hero controllers, grab a few board games, your tabletop dice, whatever will help everyone have a great time. The flexibility of fundraising during an occasion like this depends on your imagination. Ideas to raise money for the kids range from a $10 donation to attend the festivities to micro-donations to turn the tide of various games from Super Smash Bros. to Monopoly. The key is for everyone to walk away having had fun and armed with the knowledge that they helped kids in their communities. 

     

    What are the most fun fundraising ideas with no streaming required that you have come up with? Share with us in the comments!  

     

    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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    For Hispanic Heritage Month, we here at Extra Life wanted to highlight the incredible work San Jorge Children's Hospital does in Puerto Rico. The hospital provides every kind of sub-specialty to the children who pass through its doors. That puts the hospital in a unique position where it can handle bone marrow transplants, asthma, diabetes, cancer treatment, plastic surgery, as well as intensive and emergency room care. With hundreds of pediatricians and specialists, San Jorge Children's Hospital does everything it can to help everyone it can. 

     

    One of the amazing things about San Jorge Children's Hospital is that 95% of charitable donations goes directly toward charitable care. Extra Life donations make treatment for many of the kids who need care possible. We are proud of being able to work with the hospital to make sure that every kid can receive the care they need regardless of their family's ability to pay. 

     


    The giving that Extra Life helps to bring out of the gaming community goes to helping kids like Juan Diego. His father developed cancer in his ear, necessitating costly treatment. Shortly after that, Juan Diego became ill, too. While he fought to become healthy again, his sister developed a serious condition. "[The hospital] appeared when we needed them; when we don't have enough for some lab test... or he needs psychological or psychiatric help," explained Juan Diego's mother. "[His father] gets cancer in his ear, after that Juan Diego, and it last happened with our daughter. She went to live with God."

     

    The family was able to continue on with the help of funds that came from Extra Life donations to the hospital, something that they might not have been able to do in the wake of destruction from Hurricane Maria which damaged their home along with the homes of hundreds of thousands of others. San Jorge Children's Hospital does great work, so spare a moment of your time to learn more about them and the amazing things they are doing for the kids of Puerto Rico.

     

    September 15th through October 15th is Hispanic Heritage Month in the United States. This period stands as a time for Americans to celebrate the cultures and histories of friends, family, and neighbors whose roots stem from Mexico, the Caribbean, Central America, and South America. The month-long event began in 1988. The unique dating of the month comes from the annual independence observances of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua, which all occur on September 15th. The date is followed by the independence days of Mexico (September 16) and Chile (September 18). You can learn more about the day on the month's dedicated website.   

     

    Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games!


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    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!


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    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

     

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    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

     

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    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!


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    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!


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  11. WeWantedAdventurers_LogoFINAL_V1-1400everything6.png

     

    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!


    View full article


  12. Extra Life TwitchCon19.jpg

     

    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!  

     

    h_95dPXQ.jpeg

     

    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.

     

     

    TwitchConSpon.jpg

     

    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!


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  13. unknown (1).png

     

    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!


    View full article


  14. lil-nas-x-twitchcon-2019.png

     

    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!


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  15. WeWantedAdventurers_LogoFINAL_V1-1400everything5.png

     

    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!


    View full article


  16. SpaceChannel5-1.png

     

    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!


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    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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  18. LordMinion7771.png

     

    Earlier this year, hundreds of people made their way to Florida to experience Extra Life United and meet a few of the amazing children that Extra Life works to help every day of the year. One of the people in attendance this year was Wade Barnes, who participated in a panel on charity streaming while there. The experience he had at that event has left him motivated to incorporate Extra Life into his life - and into the lives of his nearly 1.6 million fans on YouTube. 

     

    Barnes, better known by hundreds of the thousands of his fans as LordMinion777, wants to do good in the world. "Every kid deserves to be fought for by as many people as they can get," he said to Extra Life. "If we can chip in just by doing a stream here or talking to somebody there to raise a little bit of money to help a kid have a better quality of life, then it's worth it. It's not a big ask on our part." 

     

    This weekend, Barnes will stream for 8-10 hours beginning on Saturday, September 21st at 2pm EST. The stream will feature a variety of fun audience participation events and donation incentives. LordMinion777 at one point floated the idea of makeup challenges and a period of time set aside for games involving the audience. The current games being considered for the stream include: Days Gone, Uno, Tabletop Simulator (featuring a variety of digital board games), and more.

     

     

    The goal for the stream has been set at a whopping $10,000 USD for Cincinnati Children's Hospital. To give his fans the motivation needed to hit that goal, Barnes has said that he will be willing to bring back his popular Dead by Daylight stream for a limited time. He might even do it on the stream tomorrow if he and his community are able to reach the goal in time. 

     

    Another special feature of the stream will be playing a modded version of Minecraft called Pixelmon with the audience. Fans interested in playing alongside LordMinion777 can do so by downloading base Minecraft as well as a modding platform called Technic Launcher. Through Technic Launcher, players will need to download a mod called Pixelmon Generations and then join the Pokeninja server and select the Heart Region. Barnes hinted that he might be giving out special keys that unlock unique and otherwise unobtainable Pixelmon in the game.  

     

     

    This will be the first stream Barnes has done to support Extra Life, so please show up and give him support throughout his marathon! Be sure to check out his stream on Twitch and, if you can, help him meet his goal of raising $10,000 USD 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!


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  19. PAXWEST1.jpg

     

    At PAX West this year, I had the chance to meet Kennedy, a Miracle Child from Seattle Children's Hospital. She was at the event with her father, volunteering her time and energy to share her firsthand experiences in one of the many hospitals supported by Extra Lifers across North America. This was something she had done several times over the years after managing to beat the leukemia she was diagnosed with at age 7. The former football player has had to undergo extensive surgeries to repair the damage to her body, but she maintains and spreads a bright, hopeful energy. 

     

    One of the amazing things about Kennedy has been her long involvement in Extra Life. Not only has she volunteered at events like PAX West, but she is a member of the Seattle Extra Life Guild. That position has set her up to work with organizations like Wizards of the Coast to both spread the word about the work Extra Life does in hospitals as well as raise money. Back in 2017, she appeared on the official Dungeons & Dragons Game Day stream to play the tabletop game live and help the team bring in as many donations as possible. 

     

    Kennedy was generous enough to step away from the Extra Life booth at PAX West for a few minutes to tell her story. 

     

     

    ---

     

    Jack Gardner: So where does this all start?

     

    Kennedy: I was about seven. I was playing football at the time. Later in the year, I started having problems with my body. I’d have less and less energy by the minute. I wouldn’t feel that great, and I passed out a couple of times. It wasn’t going… well.

     

    We went to the doctor’s one day, they got a blood sample, and we went home. About one or two in the morning, we got a phone call saying I had leukemia. We rushed to Children’s Hospital in Seattle. [They] had everything ready, I got both my IVs in with antibiotics and everything. It’s a bit fuzzy, I don’t remember exactly a lot of it.

     

    JG: Was that scary?

     

    K: Yes, I was very concerned. Because I was 7, I didn’t know exactly what was going on. I wasn’t entirely sure what was happening. Later on, I got my port in, but I was not the best at, like, blood, needles, stuff like that.

     

    JG: Trust me, I’m the same way.

     

    K: It’s not my thing. I was definitely not nice to my nurses. Screaming and crying was one of the things that has happened… all the time.

     

    JG: I’m pretty good at crying, too.

     

    K: It’s one of my specialties. We had problems with my port-

     

    JG: And what is a port?

     

    K: The port is like this little metal thing in your chest which then you access with a big needle with a little thing inside so it’s easier to get blood transfusions - I had those a lot. We had trouble with that because [the port] was moving all over the place so we had to get it removed and put in a second time.

     

    Later, I started complaining about my joints in my hips and my shoulders. We got that tested, and it turns out -I don’t exactly know what it’s called- part of the chemo made the circulation to my joints cut off, so the joints died. It hurt a lot when I walked. I had to use a wheelchair. I started first with hiking canes, then a walker, and then a wheelchair.

     

    About… two years later it was my three year mark. We saw this surgeon. His name was Chappie. He was willing to replace my hips because no one else would do that to a 10-year-old. He argued with the board all the time because they didn’t want him to do surgery on a 10-year-old. He moved, so that didn’t happen.

     

    A year later, I’m finally done with treatment. My last day, I have a bunch of photos, I had a big sign that said "Last Day of Chemo!" A couple months later, my parents were looking at different surgeons that would do it, replace my hips and such. One popped up, this doctor, he and his other surgeon were willing to do both of my hip surgeries. Just last year, I got both of them done.

     

    JG: How old are you now?

     

    K: I’m 12, almost 13.

     

    I’m going to get my shoulders replaced – we don’t know when, but it’s going to happen soon.

     

    JG: Do your joints still hurt?

     

    K: My hips don’t hurt – nothing else hurts aside from my shoulders. I can only lift them so far up, and I can’t do a lot of tasks with them.

     

    We’re working to do my shoulders. I had leukemia for four years. It was kind of a rough time. I missed so much school. I didn’t even know how I was going to pass, but I had these amazing teachers who came to my house and tutored me. Even though [leukemia] had this bad impact, it gave me this good view on how everyone should live – never second guess yourself and just always do something.

     

    faefasfadfas.png.18c373532d13b89618740f08f51044ac.png

     

    JG: How did you get involved with Extra Life?

     

    K: We are really close with the hospital and everyone in the hospital. It was one of my doctors who said, "Extra Life is a gaming 24-hour thing that you can do. They want to recruit kids and their families to help them out." Me and my dad and my sister applied, so my dad emailed one of the guys and said, “Hey, my daughter had leukemia, and we’re looking at this gaming thing that you have going on. It seems really fun and we would like to help you out with that kind of stuff.” We got recruited – this is my third year coming to PAX and volunteering – so three years ago, they were like, “Hey, we are doing PAX this year, if you want to do it, Extra Life is working there and you can come along." You get a free pass and get some breaks, but you also get to help out children at the children’s hospitals.

     

    JG: Do you play a lot of games?

     

    K: Yes. I really like video games. Especially multiplayer since my sister likes to play, too. I don’t really have a favorite….

     

    JG: I know for me, it is hard to choose just one favorite, but do you have a top three of your go-to games?

     

    K: Yes! I am a really old person, and I like Minecraft. That was the first game I ever played in my life.

     

    JG: [Laughs] Oh, gosh, you just made me feel ancient!

     

    K: It the first one I ever played. It’s a classic – I’d say it’s my favorite. My second one would be… like… little, free games on Xbox. They’re kinda short? I can’t think of a specific one.

     

    JG: It’s hard to think sometimes when you get put on the spot.

     

    K: Then probably… it’s not a genre, but I like the games where you can see the work people put into the games. Good graphic designs- even a character model where you can tell how much work went into it. I already like the game. Even one scene can change my whole perspective on a game. I really like people who do really good work and design on a game, really good coding.

     

    JG: What’s a scene that’d be an example?

     

    K: My sister plays this game called Undertale. She was playing it one day and I saw the opening scene. I really loved it. It was really well done – I felt it was really great. All the character models, her favorite was the little skeleton dude.

     

    JG: The skeleton knight and a cape or the skeleton in the hoodie?

     

    K: I think it was the skeleton knight? Yeah, the guy with the cape! I think that’s some really good design, so I think that’s really good work.

     

     

     

    JG: You’re here with Extra Life – what’s it like volunteering here and basically being a spokesperson?

     

    K: It’s really fun. You get to recruit other people into helping children and children’s hospitals. Plus, you get to have fun while doing it. You sign up and play games for 24 hours. You can play whatever you want, card games, video games. Hanging out with everybody who has been involved with Extra Life, it’s fun having conversations about video games because… I don’t have many friends who are interested in video games. So, it’s fun to talk about different kinds of games coming out or what they are doing later at PAX or what they are going to do on their lunch break. It’s fun to hang out with people who have the same interests as you.

     

    JG: Are there any hard parts that you weren’t really expecting?

     

    K: I didn’t know I had to talk to people! I thought you just stood there and gave people stuff.

     

    JG: [Laughs] That would be nice. Has everyone been good when you talked with them?

     

    K: Yeah, most people. Last year, because I was 11… not a lot of people who would listen to me because I was a child. That was pretty frustrating, but… either way, it’s pretty good. [...] It’s cool to have people interviewing me now. It’s kind of weird! [Laughs]

     

    JG: Did you play a lot of games when you were going through your treatments and recovery?

     

    K: Yes, I would bring my Xbox and leave it connected to the TV in there. I played a lot of different games on my Xbox.

     

    JG: Did you like games before that?

     

    K: Yeah, I liked games before that. I never used to have any video games or a console or anything, so I’d go over to my friend’s house and then we’d go play. I think that’s why I like playing games with other people because that’s how I started liking video games.

     

    JG: Was Minecraft the thing you played the most in the hospital?

     

    K: Yes. Oh! I also played a lot of Overcooked. My younger sister got Overcooked for her birthday. We played a LOT of Overcooked. A lot of Minecraft. A lot of free games. There was also a game room where you can grab video games or different kinds of board games that you can grab and bring up to your room.

     

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    JG: What’s been your takeaway from events like PAX?

     

    K: I think it’s a really good opportunity for people who want to help support children or just anything? But you can do it in a fun and good way. You are actually interested in doing it instead of just feeling like you have to because you feel bad.

     

    JG: Does it make you feel hopeful that so many people are coming by the booth and showing interest?

     

    K: Yeah! And really just how cool people will stop by and be like, “how do we get this?” you explain how you do it and they are like, “well, I want to give back, too!”

     

    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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    The only thing better than Extra Lifers coming together to support their local kids is Extra Lifers coming together in record-setting ways to support their local kids. Earlier this month, Extra Lifers from across central Canada descended upon Winnipeg to participate in Extra Life North, a weekend-long fundraiser to help the kids in the Children's Hospital Foundation of Manitoba. The event came together due to the diligence and dedication of the Extra Life guild leadership in Winnipeg paired with the assistance of Bold Commerce. Seeing Extra Lifers on the news doing good in their communities never gets old. 

     

    Stephane Maynard, Bold Commerce's co-founder, appeared on CTV News in Winnepeg to describe the event's mission saying, "Our goal for today is to raise over $50,000. 100% of the proceeds go straight to the Children's Hospital Foundation of Manitoba. It helps kids in need who are sick or injured and goes directly to whatever the hospital needs at that time to make and deliver proper care."

     

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    We're thankful for people like Stephane and Bold's Nadia Selby for making Extra Life North possible. The event was originally planned to take place in a sporting arena, but plans for that fell through. Luckily, Bold Commerce was able to step in and offer Extra Life North space in their Winnipeg-based headquarters. That's no small feat, especially considering that Extra Life North was considered by its organizers to be the largest Extra Life event in central Canada to date!

     

    Extra Life North surpassed all expectations despite the setbacks organizers experienced. They set a fundraising goal of $50,000 USD. While there was some doubt as to whether the over 235 gamers in attendance would be able to bring in that much, the event decided to shoot for the stars. The total raised by Extra Life North participants now tallies at over $55,000 USD! That's freaking incredible and we are blown away by what Extra Lifers have been able to achieve in Winnipeg. 

     

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    Kirk Veerback, a member of Winnipeg's Extra Life guild leadership, appeared on CBC Winnipeg to talk about the event: 

     

    It is all about gaming in general. It is not exclusive to video games. It can be board games, card games, tabletop games like D&D. Whatever you like doing, you can do it for Extra Life. It's always nice to get the board gaming folks out to these events and take a break from looking at screens all 24 hours and go play, you know? ... We have a place for power and for you to sleep, but bring your own TVs, game consoles, and whatever you're planning on doing.

     

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    In addition to the gamers, Extra Life North featured a number of children who have been through Children's Hospital Foundation of Manitoba as well as the support of numerous Canadian companies and celebrities. The Royal Bank of Canada teamed up with Olympians Jill Officer (Olympic gold medalist and holder of two World Curling Championship titles) and James Lavallée (Canadian Olympic kayak team member) to get them to Extra Life North.

    The two interacted with the kids and even got in on the gaming themselves! Nathan Beaulieu of the Winnipeg Jets even made an appearance, challenging the champions to some of his favorite games. Finally, Winnipeg's most widely acclaimed morning radio host, Ace Burpee, served as the MC for the event, helping to keep up the energy for the duration of the 24-hour marathon. 

     

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    This isn't Extra Life North's first year running, either. Logan Quatamber, the Champion Child from 2016, has been attending the event over the years, watching it grow. Talking with CHVN radio, he explained what he loves so much about it, "It's awesome to see what all the volunteers are doing. It's just amazing what they put on, as far as the Children's Hospital, and what the outcome is. You come here, play games, and raise a lot of money. It gives me a good feeling coming in here ... even though it's a fun time, it's all going towards something and means something."

     

    Here's to many more years of changing the lives of children at Extra Life North!

     

    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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    Final Fantasy XIV has experienced one of the greatest resurgences in modern video game history. Faced with a disastrous launch, Square Enix did the unthinkable and destroyed their world in an apocalyptic event designed to reboot their MMO. A Realm Reborn completely revamped the game and corrected its course, setting it on a path to the massive and enduring success Final Fantasy XIV enjoys today.

     

    With three core expansions and numerous free patches continually adding or reworking content, it might just be the most thriving MMO on the market. However, does that make it one of the best games of all time? 

     

    To help us answer that question, this week we are joined by friend of the show Kazuma Hashimoto (who you should follow on Twitter: @JusticeKazzy_). He's a long-time player of Final Fantasy XIV, has locked down impressive interviews with members of the development team, and released an evolving review of the latest expansion, Shadowbringers for RPG Site

     

    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: Donkey Kong Country 'OSHA Violation' by Reuben6, Earth Kid, and sleffy (http://ocremix.org/remix/OCR03971)

     

    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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    Today marks the day that Gearbox Software releases the latest entry in their flagship franchise: Borderlands 3. Having missed the opportunity to preview the game at events leading up to its release, I decided to reach out to Allison Kurtz, patient treated at Cincinnati Children’s, gamer and Borderlands fan.. As a life-long Borderlands fan, Allison was kind enough to sit down with me to talk about what makes Borderlands so important to her and others. She also had the chance to play Borderlands 3 back in June and was able to talk about the insights she gleaned from her time with the game. 

     

     

    Strap in and get ready to Catch-A-Ride with this fun interview that sheds some light on both the Borderlands series as a whole and the recently released game.

    -

    Jack Gardner: Let’s jump into Borderlands 3, a game, I am told, that is created by Gearbox Software and published by 2K Games.

     

    Allison Kurtz: That is true.

     

    JG: It’s coming out on September 13th-

     

    AK: And my paycheck comes to me on September 15th, so we are going to ride that two day streak like… sadness…

     

    JG: Sadness is one of the names of the horses in the back? That’s a reference you kids get right?

     

    AK: Oh, if you expect me to relate to the quote un-quote kids – I’m very sorry. I know of Lil Nas X, but all I know is that he’s gay and that I support him on that front.

     

    JG: Supposedly he has horses in the back.

     

    AK: Well… supposedly.

     

    JG: All I know about Borderlands 3 is that it’s a looter-shooter. I finished the first one, a significant amount of the second one. I loved Tales from the Borderlands-

     

    AK: Ah, so you have good taste!

     

    JG: [laugh] and then there was Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel which… I am not really sure what was going on there…

     

    AK: It’s sorta like a Super Mario Galaxy 2 thing? Super Mario Galaxy came out. Good game. This was before DLC packs were a thing for Nintendo, so they essentially made more game that was the length of a game. They called it Super Mario Galaxy 2, and they released that. Pre-Sequel uses the engine and mechanics of Borderlands 2 to make a new game out of what was already there.

     

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    JG: That brings us to Borderlands 3. With that background in mind, can you tell us a bit more about your experience with Borderlands? How did it start? What really gets your attention and gets you excited about Borderlands?

     

    AK: That story don’t start off in the happiest place on earth. When I was in 8th grade to freshman year, I was not a happy camper for reasons that are pretty understandable. I was pre-transition. I did not like talking. I did not like being seen. I did not like being heard. So, I would just sink myself into video games.

     

    Borderlands 1 was like that for me. Borderlands 1 doesn’t go nearly as wild with the queer content as Borderlands 2. But I played it for hours. I played it for ages and ages. I absolutely loved the mechanics, absolutely loved the gameplay, absolutely loved the design, absolutely loved everything about it.

     

    I eventually transitioned and moved on and played Borderlands 2 and it just felt – it’s really hard to explain this – it felt like a world that I had known coming to accept me because Borderlands 2 is when they went buck wild with queer representation. And so that kind of transition that it made along with me resulted in a sort of… I kind of bonded with the game, if that makes any sense? Being in that situation where both things changed it was like, “Hey, same hat. We’re in the same hole here,” and I just felt grateful to have a series that was willing to accept that I exist. Because a lot of the queer representation at that time was new stuff – like people created new properties with queer characters in them. It was really nice to see something I had grown up with embrace queer identities and learn about it as I learned about it.

     

    JG: So what in Borderlands 2, you say it had more queer representation, can you talk a bit more about it? What specific parts of Borderlands 2 really spoke to you on that front?

     

    AK: The thing is that it’s not front and center. It’s not a big plot point in any sense. It’s just little things like how it is just as common to see a straight couple as a gay couple. Hammerlock has an ex-boyfriend. Some women would talk about their girlfriends, while other characters discussed their different sexualities. It was just… normal. That was really refreshing and honest and helpful to see in a time where I felt like I didn’t have the chance.

     

    So that’s how I got into Borderlands and then I just kinda went hog wild on it. I got in because I felt accepted and then the gameplay mechanics – normal shooters bore me which sounds a little harsh, but the customizability of Borderlands along with the humor and very diverse art style and environment really pulled me in. In a way similar to how the fallout games pull me in – at least Fallout 4 and Fallout: New Vegas. Fallout 3 sucked, but that’s a totally different point.

     

    JG: Are you just saying that because you saw Hbomberguy’s video

     

    AK: First of all, don’t call me out. Second of all, I had that opinion before he posted that video.

     

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    JG: You fell in love with Borderlands 2 and then Tales from the Borderlands released. Did you feel differently about the narrative-focused direction or was it more of the same for you? It is quite a departure from the main series.

     

    AK: Okay, this is my embarrassment. It took me a very long time to finish Tales from the Borderlands. I just hadn’t gotten around to it because it was right around when shit started getting crazy with vis-à-vis my transition and coming out and everything. So I didn’t have quite as much time for games anymore since I was literally changing everything about myself and my environment. A lot of games from that time kinda slipped by me. Then I never went back to finish them because we got into 2015 and 2016 and got a ton of crazy genre defining games. Things that changed how we looked at games and took up my attention. Tales from the Borderlands just fell by the wayside… until I went to E3 and spoke to one of the writers for Tales from the Borderlands, Extra Life friend The Only Ryann. What he specifically said to me was, “Did you play Tales from the Borderlands?” and I said I never got to finish it, I got too busy. He gave me the most withering look in the world and he said, and I am quoting, “You’re busting my balls here, kid.”

     

    JG: Get called out!

     

    AK: Yeah, a little bit! I felt like, yeah, I should probably get back around to that game. Before I left he told me, “There is a sad point in Tales from the Borderlands. Please tweet at me angrily once you reach it.” I definitely, definitely went through with that promise. So I played that and I loved it and it was very nice to see Athena, local gay. Also, the soundtrack for that game kicks my ass. That soundtrack jumped out of my computer and put me in a headlock. In a good way. It’s well suited to the style Borderlands 1 and 2 had set up with musical theming. I especially enjoyed how well the ending fit with the beginning song. You would never guess that it was made by a different studio.  

     

    JG: Thoughts on Pre-Sequel?

     

    AK: Pre-Sequel is excellent in my opinion. I enjoy it, but I am biased because it contains one of my favorite couples in video games, Athena and Janey. They’re just very cute. It’s basically Borderlands 2: More. It’s just more content and delves into backstory - I mean it is a prequel - but it delves into backstory and shows off new characters that come back later. It’s a game I very much enjoy even though Claptrap… well, I don’t know how I feel about Claptrap. That’s a thing for another day. That’s a thesis right there. Sometimes you’ll be like, “Aww, poor baby,” and then he’ll say something weird and perverted and you’re like, “Poor baby, stay five feet away from me at all times.”

     

    JG: So how are you feeling about Borderlands 3 now that we have talked about all the other Borderlands-y things?

     

    AK: I am incredibly excited for Borderlands 3. I love their voice acting choices. They have touched on sexuality a lot in the past but they have never really touched gender, so I am very excited that there is a non-binary protagonist who is voiced by ProZD from YouTube and Vine. He’s an excellent fellow and I enjoy his work quite a bit. It’s very exciting to see him in such a mainstream game. Before, the only game that I know of that he was in was 2064: Read Only Memories.

     

     

    JG: So the non-binary character and the voice acting excite you. Do any of the other aspects seem interesting?

     

    AK: The gameplay itself! It’s very excellent from what I’ve played. I played the E3 demo as Moze, and it was excellent. She rides in a big D.Va style mech which I very much enjoyed. It blends the Catch-A-Ride cars from the past games with a summonable ally. You can climb on the back, turret style, like you’ve been able to with every other vehicle. I very much enjoy that you can customize to the max. If you want to be a brawler or do explosives or anything of the sort, you can do it. It’s amazing how customizable it is to me.

     

    The visuals are very excellent. I love how varied the character design is now. In previous games when you fought a bunch of psychos, it was the same psycho over and over again. It was cha boi psycho, cha boi psycho, cha boi psycho, cha boi fiery psycho, and cha boi psycho. But now all the psychos are a little different. They have different pants, some of them have hair, some of them don’t. Some of them are actually women now, which makes sense in-universe, but they had never done it before.

     

    And the colors. Okay, it has been a couple of months and I did not take notes, but I remember being very impressed by the colors. One thing about Borderlands that I have always adored is in a world of shooter games that tend to keep things muddy, Borderlands has moments where it can get really colorful and wild. The demo I played was one of those areas.

     

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    In addition, the story seems really great, too. You have two villains who are very hateble and very lovable in the same way. They are equal parts… they are that perfect villain where you want to see them succeed and you also want to see them fail. So you love them and you hate them, you love to hate them. They are very well designed, too and they are very excellent.

     

    The four main characters are also excellent. I love how they tie into the past of Borderlands. Zane is part of one of the most gosh dang cursed families in Borderlands history because you kill every member of it throughout the series. We know Moze’s past, but I don’t remember if we have seen her in things before. Flak does what I have been wanting for the entire game series and shows us the skags, like, “Here are some nice bois that you can pet and you are expected to pet.” And I’m like yes this is all I have ever wanted! And Amara is a tall, buff GF. That’s all I have to say about her. I said, when I was at the E3 event, “Oh my god, Amara, my lesbian wife!” out loud without thinking about it. The PR person who was showing me the video laughed and then said, “I think they designed her with that in mind.” I honestly can’t imagine any other scenario, but that's because she exudes strong lesbian energy.

     

    JG: What’s your take on the story? You said it seemed good – is that impression due entirely to the villains or…?

     

    AK: One thing I can speak on is that I love how past characters are returning and they look different. Borderlands 1 to Borderlands 2, there was a time skip there and they look the exact same. Just the same dudes. But Borderlands 3, people look different. Maya, the siren from the second game, she looks different now and you can tell that a number of years have passed. Lilith looks the same, but that’s how it be sometimes. She’s one of the most, if not the most, recognizable characters for Borderlands except for Claptrap. I just enjoy how the world is changing now.

     

     We don’t know too much about the plot beyond the basics being that it has the Calypso Twins as the two villains. They run a cult called Children of the Vault, and they exploit their followers to try and unlock a vault for themselves. Lilith leads the army trying to fight back against them. Though she talks a big game, they have shown cutscenes of her being scared and beaten, so you know that it’s not as easy as she makes things seem. It’s interesting that we get to see Lilith, who is a very strong-hearted, strong willed, strong-in-general individual, get pushed to her limits, and I am excited to see that in full on the 15th, two days after it comes out.

     

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    JG: Anything you hope to see in Borderlands 3?

    AK: I hope they show me post-marriage Athena and Janey. That’s kind of a separate thought, but there HAS been a time skip, time has passed! OH, and I totally forgot! We saw Rhys from Tales from the Borderlands in the trailer. Where’s Fiona, my dog? Where’s Fiona? Where’s the love of my life, Fiona? Where have you placed her? If they hurt Fiona, I will personally go to Gearbox and cry. Not to anyone in particular, just to the receptionist. Also, I have a soft spot for any robot that ever exists in any story ever, so Loader Bot better show up. If you tell me Loader Bot died, I will personally die, too.  

     

    -

     

    A huge thank you to Allison for taking time out of her busy schedule to talk with me for this silly and insightful interview!

     

    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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    Today happens to be National Video Games Day! To honor the spirit of the day, we've put together several awesome games that you can play right now for free! These range from being short 15-30 minute experiences to full-blown 9 hour RPGs. These are games that will make you laugh, possibly  You could even play all of them in one day - or at the least within one 24-hour gaming marathon to help sick and injured kids!  

     

    Butterfly Soup

     

     

    Visual novels aren't everyone's cup of tea, but Butterfly Soup really sets itself up as a must-play with its mix of humor and good-natured sweetness. The game revolves around a group of queer Asian girls who play baseball and bond with one another - they might even fall in love. The story takes about 3-4 hours to complete and features fresh memes from 2017. It's adorable, charming as heck, and features some of the most lovable kids you'll see in games. If you need something gay and wholesome in your day, Butterfly Soup would be just the thing you're looking for.

     

    Star Stealing Prince

     

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    Star Stealing Prince stands out as one of the finest RPGs ever made in RPGMaker. It tells the story of a young prince who sets out to uncover the secrets of his future kingdom. What that journey reveals and where it will take both him and his people serves as an incredible rollercoaster of drama. Lead developer, Ronove, poured so much time and care into the story, the visuals, puzzles, and combat mechanics that it's easy to forget that this passion project is free. To top it off, it has some of the best battle music in RPGs, holding its own against even the heaviest hitters in the 16-bit field. It's fantastic, and the tale it weaves will stick with you for years to come.  

     

    Dr. Langeskov, The Tiger, And The Terribly Cursed Emerald: A Whirlwind Heist

     

     

    Dr. Langeskov, The Tiger, And The Terribly Cursed Emerald: A Whirlwind Heist has an objectively silly name, which should be expected from the Crows Crows Crows, the creators of The Stanley Parable. A Whirlwind Heist cheekily sets itself up as a grand heist game, but something has gone horribly wrong behind the scenes. The people who were supposed to come together to make the game work have all quit or gone on strike, leaving the player free to wander the halls of the production and see how games get made... sort of. With a desperate narrator trying to get everything back on track, this free game provides plenty of laughs. It's exactly what it wants to be, which is a silly, short game about an objectively funny situation. 

     

    Escaped Chasm

     

     

    Temmie Chan served as the lead artist on Undertale, creating the most iconic visual moments from the game. Back in April of this year, she released a free RPGMaker game called Escaped Chasm. It tells the story of a young girl who flees to an imaginary world to escape from her isolation and loneliness. There are four different endings and each playthrough takes between 15-20 minutes. If you wanted to get more Undertale-adjacent games in your life, Escaped Chasm should definitely be in your download queue. After all, it's beautiful, well-crafted, and 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!


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    The angels are angry. The divine sword has been stolen by a couple of young thieves. The machine god's slumber nears its end. Somehow, in the middle of all of it, you've been pulled into a pink car and embarked on the road trip of a lifetime with a handful of unlikely companions. This is Get in the Car, Loser! the new RPG from Love Conquers All Games. Their previous work includes Ladykiller in a Bind and Hate Plus. 

     

    I recently had the opportunity to sit down with Get in the Car, Loser! to see what it's all about. The aesthetic immediately sets it apart. Vivid, soft colors make the pixel art designs pop in a way I've never seen before in a game. Brilliant pinks are complimented by a splashes of turquoise, white, and the occasional dab of black. It held my attention, communicating its deliberate emphasis on queerness through visual dedication to a palette designed to fly in the face of traditionally acceptable color schemes.

     

    This commitment carries over into the character designs themselves. Get in the Car, Loser! features women in its main cast who are beautiful while intentionally side-stepping conventional notions of what beauty. Sam and Grace are elegant despite possessing very different aesthetic priorities in their fashion choices. On top of that, the third member of the party who fought along side the two women was a striking non-binary character named Valentin. Easily my favorite of the three, they were able to dish out damage in a fight, rock a killer nose ring, and give some breezy, devil-may-care responses that I appreciated.  

     

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    The UI in Get in the Car, Loser! builds upon all of this. While I found it a bit tricky to navigate at times, it presents a visually pleasing collection of menus and sub-menus. It reflects the color palette and presents up-close icons of the major characters. With a few snazzy UI design choices, the unique implementation and presentation of the battle system turns into a breeze to navigate and understand.  

     

    Those battle mechanics at play are really entrancing, too. Get in the Car, Loser!’s battles take place in real-time, so the faster you can input commands and make plans, the better your party will fare. Essentially, there are three different configurations of abilities and each configuration assigns a party member to a button on the controller. As the player inputs commands, each character will do their move, whether it is an attack or a heal or something else. This puts each character into a cooldown – that can be skipped by moving ahead into the next configuration of abilities. Attacking charges a meter that enables the player to use the powerful Sword of Fate. The sword does a good amount of damage, and it also fills a meter that stuns the affected enemy when full. This attack also resets cooldowns, starting the party back at the first configuration of abilities.

     

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    This means that there’s always something to be doing, as fast as you are able to do it. Once I got into the groove of combat, it began feeling more like a rhythm game than anything else. It felt good to play in the satisfying way certain JRPGs can hit that unique sweet spot with timed attacks, like in Super Mario RPG.

     

    I got so into the battle system that when I came up against a boss intended to teach the player how to run away, I opted to try fighting it instead. I managed to get down a series of moves to chain the boss down in stuns as much as possible, hit a couple heals on the party, and then stun it again. I battled the creature until it lay inert at my feet. The developers were actually so impressed with that feat they drew me a sketch of Valentin.

     

    I would be remiss not to talk a bit about the inventory management system. That’s right, you didn’t read that wrong; the inventory management in Get in the Car, Loser! is actually worth talking about. In order to counter-act that strange tendency JRPG players have to hoard resources, Get in the Car, Loser! actually comes up with a use for extraneous items. Players can sacrifice redundant items in order to boost the powers of useful items. This unlocks additional information about each item to teach players about the game world while also making abilities in the different battle configurations more potent. It’s great and I wish every RPG did something similar to this.

     

     

    Overall, I greatly enjoyed my time with Get in the Car, Loser! I’m definitely going to be picking it up when it releases sometime next year. It’s so boldly different than anything else in the space right now. I need to see where this road trip goes.

     

    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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    We are very proud to say that Extra Life North will be this weekend! The event will take place in Winnipeg at the Bold Commerce headquarters from September 7-8. With the backing of dozens of organizations, Extra Life North has been created to be a focal point for Extra Life in Canada. All of the money raised at Extra Life North will go to Children's Hospital Foundation of Manitoba. 

     

    Extra Life North has been organized largely by Nadia Selby, Bold Commerce's culture and event specialist. The event will be held inside Bold's impressive headquarters which can accommodate over 235 gamers as well as support volunteers, spectators, and special guests. Between September 7th and the 8th, the gamers who registered prior to this week will be doing their own 24-hour gaming marathon in order to help the kids of Manitoba. 

     

    While the gamers play and raise money, plenty will be going on in and around Bold Commerce HQ. Ace Burpee, the most popular morning radio host in Winnipeg will be lending his talents to the event. The host will MC the event with 103 Virgin Radio Live broadcasting from the gaming space. Additional guests will be spaced throughout the day. One such guest will be Nathan Beaulieu, defenseman for the Winnipeg Jets, will be on hand to compete against a number of the Children's Hospital Foundation of Manitoba's Champion Kids (in video games, not ice hockey). The media on hand will even get in on the competition, too! To top if off, the Royal Bank of Canada Olympians will be joining the fun. Jill Officer, an Olympic gold medalist and holder of two World Curling Championship titles, and James Lavallée, a current member of the Canadian Olympic kayak team, will be making appearances throughout the event.

     

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    Spectators will be allowed into the event to watch the gaming action, talk with volunteers, and see the celebrities. Doors open for spectators on Saturday at 11:30am and close again at 6pm. Doors will reopen on Sunday at 9am and remain open until 1pm. 

     

    After everyone checks in and gets settled, Extra Life North will kick off with a brief opening ceremony hosted by Ace Burpee. Gamers will begin playing for the kids at 1pm. Food will be provided throughout the event for gamers and volunteers. Special events will help break up the gaming sessions, like Champion Kids challenging others to video game competitions and a variety of yet-to-be-revealed side games. Miracle Kids and their families will also be sharing their stories periodically throughout the days. It'll be a great time to be there for gaming or just to watch! 

     

    Extra Life North has set a goal of raising $50,000 USD over the course of their event. That might seem like a tall order, but thankfully the event has the support of 25 wonderful sponsors. Bold Commerce, of course, gave the event space and helped organize it. Flocker, a platform that helps streamers and influencers to design merchandise, membership programs, and take donations, is helping to elevate Extra Life North's stream to the front page of Twitch. The Royal Bank of Canada also pitched in to bring high-profile guests and eyeballs to the event. Dozens of others are helping to provide food and supplies as well as other forms of support. 

     

    Our community coming together to make Extra Life North a success leaves us so hopeful about the future of Extra Life. While the registration for Extra Life North has closed, you can still participate in Extra Life along with the gamers in Winnipeg or plan your own events for Game Day on November 2nd. Join us and help kids in your local area today.

     

    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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