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Found 13 results

  1. 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. 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. 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!
  2. 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. 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. 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! View full article
  3. This past weekend, gamers from all over the world traveled to Seattle, Washington to attend PAX West, one of the largest gaming conventions in North America. Of course, where there are gamers there are also Extra Lifers! Extra Life turned out for PAX West in a big way, coming to the event with a booth, a panel, and moving stories from the kids themselves. The dedicated Extra Life booth has become a staple of events around the United States and Canada. For PAX West, we were set up in a nice corner between two of the major convention halls on the 4th floor of the Seattle Convention Center. The location afforded a degree of protection from the overwhelming noise of the show floor proper, allowing the amazing volunteers from the Seattle Extra Life Guild to have amazing conversations with con-goers. We were fortunate for PAX West to have a miracle child ambassador from Seattle Children's Hospital. Kennedy and her father volunteered at the Extra Life booth, sharing their stories with people who stopped by to say hello. Not only that, but Kennedy was able to tour the show floor and experience one of the most amazing events in gaming. Their help was invaluable in demonstrating the good that Extra Life does in the lives of those it touches. In total, over 700 people decided to sign up to participate in Game Day! That's freaking amazing! This year, Extra Life's Game Day takes place on November 2, so make sure that you've also signed up over on Extra Life. To top off the booth experience at PAX West, we were able to reveal a special collaboration with gaming chair manufacturer DXRacer. They graciously gave us an incredible version of one of their chairs decked out in Extra Life's colors and the iconic gaming controller with wings. We decided to put the chair up for auction to raise some additional money, so please check out the eBay page and place your bids before the opportunity disappears forever in only a handful of hours! A big thank you to KontrolFreek for taking on the task of organizing an Extra Life scavenger hunt, as well. PAX West attendees could obtain a card at KontrolFreek's booth and then needed to visit Astro, Gunnar, and Extra Life's booth to fill it up. Once filled, the card could be turned in for a chance to win a prize that changed daily. KontrolFreek organized all of the partnered organizations to support this event and deserve all our love and gratitude. Finally, Extra Life was included in an official PAX West panel. The talk, titled Gaming for "Charity: Inspiring Through Play," provided an informed look at how to engage communities effectively to gain charitable support for a good cause and how that scales depending on the size of a person's audience. The panelists included Extra Life ambassadors TheOnlyRyann and Deejay Knight, I Need Diverse Games' Tanya DePass, Twitch's Jon Brence, Child's Play's Erick Blandin, and Extra Life's very own director of community Lou Adducci. It was inspiring to see people turn out to listen to all of these talented and important voices in the industry tell stories about their experiences and share their expertise. With PAX West in the rear view mirror, TwitchCon 2019 approaches! On September 27-29, the streaming community will gather for their yearly celebration of their primary platform. Extra Life will be there with the customary booth in order to represent Children's Miracle Network Hospitals, but we will be bringing back one of our most popular event spectacles: The human claw machine! DonorDrive will be hosting a charity streaming area called the DonorDrive Charity Arcade. Children's Miracle Network Hospitals has been selected as one of the premier charities that the arcade will raise money for during TwitchCon. Attendees will be able to grab free prizes as they dangle above a pit of mystery prizes, suspended by a huge claw machine. Don't miss us if you're planning on attending! 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
  4. This past weekend, gamers from all over the world traveled to Seattle, Washington to attend PAX West, one of the largest gaming conventions in North America. Of course, where there are gamers there are also Extra Lifers! Extra Life turned out for PAX West in a big way, coming to the event with a booth, a panel, and moving stories from the kids themselves. The dedicated Extra Life booth has become a staple of events around the United States and Canada. For PAX West, we were set up in a nice corner between two of the major convention halls on the 4th floor of the Seattle Convention Center. The location afforded a degree of protection from the overwhelming noise of the show floor proper, allowing the amazing volunteers from the Seattle Extra Life Guild to have amazing conversations with con-goers. We were fortunate for PAX West to have a miracle child ambassador from Seattle Children's Hospital. Kennedy and her father volunteered at the Extra Life booth, sharing their stories with people who stopped by to say hello. Not only that, but Kennedy was able to tour the show floor and experience one of the most amazing events in gaming. Their help was invaluable in demonstrating the good that Extra Life does in the lives of those it touches. In total, over 700 people decided to sign up to participate in Game Day! That's freaking amazing! This year, Extra Life's Game Day takes place on November 2, so make sure that you've also signed up over on Extra Life. To top off the booth experience at PAX West, we were able to reveal a special collaboration with gaming chair manufacturer DXRacer. They graciously gave us an incredible version of one of their chairs decked out in Extra Life's colors and the iconic gaming controller with wings. We decided to put the chair up for auction to raise some additional money, so please check out the eBay page and place your bids before the opportunity disappears forever in only a handful of hours! A big thank you to KontrolFreek for taking on the task of organizing an Extra Life scavenger hunt, as well. PAX West attendees could obtain a card at KontrolFreek's booth and then needed to visit Astro, Gunnar, and Extra Life's booth to fill it up. Once filled, the card could be turned in for a chance to win a prize that changed daily. KontrolFreek organized all of the partnered organizations to support this event and deserve all our love and gratitude. Finally, Extra Life was included in an official PAX West panel. The talk, titled Gaming for "Charity: Inspiring Through Play," provided an informed look at how to engage communities effectively to gain charitable support for a good cause and how that scales depending on the size of a person's audience. The panelists included Extra Life ambassadors TheOnlyRyann and Deejay Knight, I Need Diverse Games' Tanya DePass, Twitch's Jon Brence, Child's Play's Erick Blandin, and Extra Life's very own director of community Lou Adducci. It was inspiring to see people turn out to listen to all of these talented and important voices in the industry tell stories about their experiences and share their expertise. With PAX West in the rear view mirror, TwitchCon 2019 approaches! On September 27-29, the streaming community will gather for their yearly celebration of their primary platform. Extra Life will be there with the customary booth in order to represent Children's Miracle Network Hospitals, but we will be bringing back one of our most popular event spectacles: The human claw machine! DonorDrive will be hosting a charity streaming area called the DonorDrive Charity Arcade. Children's Miracle Network Hospitals has been selected as one of the premier charities that the arcade will raise money for during TwitchCon. Attendees will be able to grab free prizes as they dangle above a pit of mystery prizes, suspended by a huge claw machine. Don't miss us if you're planning on attending! 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!
  5. PAX West, the annual gaming convention held annually in Seattle, Washington, will be happening this weekend, and we'd love to see you there! This year, the event runs from August 30 through September 2. We've got several initiatives that will be of interest to people attending the show in person or observing from afar. Here's everything you need to know about Extra Life at PAX West 2019! We will, of course, have a dedicated Extra Life booth at the event. PAX West will feature a stellar area run with the invaluable support of the Seattle Extra Life Guild. Not only that, but Kennedy, a miracle child from Seattle Children's Hospital and member of the Seattle Guild, will be on hand on Sunday with her father to say hello, too. The people working the booth are volunteering their time to register participants, collect donations, and confirm when attendees share about Extra Life on social media. Doing each will net attendees distinct buttons, while doing all three will get attendees a sweet enamel pin. We are so incredibly thankful for our volunteers, without whom none of this would be possible, and our words can't do them justice. If you are attending the show in person, KontrolFreek has organized an Extra Life scavenger hunt! After visiting KontrolFreek's booth to obtain a punch card, attendees will need to track down the Astro, Gunnar, and Extra Life booths to fill it out. Once the card has been filled, head back to the KontrolFreek booth to enter to win a neat prize that will change daily. For those who won't be able to attend in person, there's still a chance to get your hands on something truly special. We have a customized Extra Life DXRacer chair for this event! We are incredibly excited about it. Both show attendees and Extra Lifers who aren't at PAX West will be able to bid on the chair via an eBay. Keep an eye on our social media channels for the announcement that bidding is live! On top of that, Extra Life will be included in an official PAX West panel. The talk, titled Gaming for "Charity: Inspiring Through Play," will be held in the Sandworm Theater. The panelists include Extra Lifer TheOnlyRyann, I Need Diverse Games' Tanya DePass, Twitch's Jon Brence, Child's Play's Erick Blandin, and our own senior manager of community Lou Adducci. The discussion will get into the nitty-gritty of fundraising and community building necessary for people to do the most good with their gaming efforts. The panel begins at 12pm and goes until 1pm. Be there or be square! Finally, TwitchCon 2019 is on the horizon, September 27-29. It's time to start getting hyped because, on top of all the usual awesome stuff, DonorDrive will be hosting a charity streaming area called the DonorDrive Charity Arcade. Children's Miracle Network Hospitals has been selected as one of the premier charities that the arcade will raise money for during TwitchCon. Extra Life will be there representing Children's Miracle Network Hospitals with the human claw machine we debuted at E3 earlier this year. Attendees will be able to grab free prizes as they dangle above a pit of mystery prizes, suspended by a huge claw machine. Don't miss us if you're planning on attending! 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!
  6. PAX West, the annual gaming convention held annually in Seattle, Washington, will be happening this weekend, and we'd love to see you there! This year, the event runs from August 30 through September 2. We've got several initiatives that will be of interest to people attending the show in person or observing from afar. Here's everything you need to know about Extra Life at PAX West 2019! We will, of course, have a dedicated Extra Life booth at the event. PAX West will feature a stellar area run with the invaluable support of the Seattle Extra Life Guild. Not only that, but Kennedy, a miracle child from Seattle Children's Hospital and member of the Seattle Guild, will be on hand on Sunday with her father to say hello, too. The people working the booth are volunteering their time to register participants, collect donations, and confirm when attendees share about Extra Life on social media. Doing each will net attendees distinct buttons, while doing all three will get attendees a sweet enamel pin. We are so incredibly thankful for our volunteers, without whom none of this would be possible, and our words can't do them justice. If you are attending the show in person, KontrolFreek has organized an Extra Life scavenger hunt! After visiting KontrolFreek's booth to obtain a punch card, attendees will need to track down the Astro, Gunnar, and Extra Life booths to fill it out. Once the card has been filled, head back to the KontrolFreek booth to enter to win a neat prize that will change daily. For those who won't be able to attend in person, there's still a chance to get your hands on something truly special. We have a customized Extra Life DXRacer chair for this event! We are incredibly excited about it. Both show attendees and Extra Lifers who aren't at PAX West will be able to bid on the chair via an eBay. Keep an eye on our social media channels for the announcement that bidding is live! On top of that, Extra Life will be included in an official PAX West panel. The talk, titled Gaming for "Charity: Inspiring Through Play," will be held in the Sandworm Theater. The panelists include Extra Lifer TheOnlyRyann, I Need Diverse Games' Tanya DePass, Twitch's Jon Brence, Child's Play's Erick Blandin, and our own senior manager of community Lou Adducci. The discussion will get into the nitty-gritty of fundraising and community building necessary for people to do the most good with their gaming efforts. The panel begins at 12pm and goes until 1pm. Be there or be square! Finally, TwitchCon 2019 is on the horizon, September 27-29. It's time to start getting hyped because, on top of all the usual awesome stuff, DonorDrive will be hosting a charity streaming area called the DonorDrive Charity Arcade. Children's Miracle Network Hospitals has been selected as one of the premier charities that the arcade will raise money for during TwitchCon. Extra Life will be there representing Children's Miracle Network Hospitals with the human claw machine we debuted at E3 earlier this year. Attendees will be able to grab free prizes as they dangle above a pit of mystery prizes, suspended by a huge claw machine. Don't miss us if you're planning on attending! 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
  7. Even as gaming culture becomes more and more tied to the world of music (bringing us annual celebrations like MAGfest and touring acts like Video Games Live), a game’s soundtrack is still a very special thing when incorporated as more than a backdrop or blanketing force. Klang, developed by the one-man operation at Tinimations and scored by famed electronic dance music artist bLiNd, capitalizes on this and then some. Every second of frenetic action and inch of its environment is soaked with pulse-pounding music, making it one of the most promising rhythm action games in years. In Klang, players fill the cybergoth-inspired shoes of an elite rave warrior. If that combination of words sounds weird to you, buckle up. After crashing a rave party hosted by the cruel Soundlord Sonus, the rave warrior must fight for his freedom against the malicious titan and his loyal, audio-bending army. Imagine if instead of vengeful rage, God of War’s Kratos fueled himself on infectious rhythm – and maybe some illicit drugs – and you’ve got Klang. What follows is an ever-increasing drive of frantically paced combat and platforming, all dictated by and perfectly synched to bLiNd’s aggressive soundtrack. Meters on all sides of the main character fill up, teaching you when to strike just as a note is sharply punctuated, deflecting enemy attacks with your tuning fork blades (yeah) and emitting a powerful blast back at them. Leaping from wall to wall to clamber up a narrow passage locks you in perfect rhythm with the underlying beat, a heady thud-thud-thud that every electronic music fan knows all too well. It goes a long way in both ramping up the intensity of a particularly confrontational boss or just teaching a player how to deal with a new attack. Every EDM fan lives for the “beat drop,” and Klang works a pure sense of magic into how well this crescendo fits into its demanding combat. Whereas a more retro-inspired game might default to a traditional chiptune soundtrack, the fact that Klang’s identity is so wrapped up in its own musical style (not an exclusive one, but certainly never grasped onto with such strength) makes every moment a thrilling one. It would be enough if Klang’s world were only so infused with such great audio, but developer Tom-Ivar Arntzen also builds an aesthetic that’s as much Tron: Legacy as it is European warehouse rave. Attacks from certain enemies shoot out in the form of an equalizer wave, combat stages look like the mosh pit at a concert, platforming sections look almost like sheet music, with streetlights built to look like clef notes. So far as we know, all of Klang’s narrative is communicated without dialogue, emphasizing the importance of this music-infused world and the craziness that goes on in it. Klang is expected to release before the end of 2016 on Steam for PC, featuring two to four hours of gameplay and music from bLiNd. A “Nightcore” mode (don’t google that) will also be available to challenge players looking for an even tougher challenge.
  8. Even as gaming culture becomes more and more tied to the world of music (bringing us annual celebrations like MAGfest and touring acts like Video Games Live), a game’s soundtrack is still a very special thing when incorporated as more than a backdrop or blanketing force. Klang, developed by the one-man operation at Tinimations and scored by famed electronic dance music artist bLiNd, capitalizes on this and then some. Every second of frenetic action and inch of its environment is soaked with pulse-pounding music, making it one of the most promising rhythm action games in years. In Klang, players fill the cybergoth-inspired shoes of an elite rave warrior. If that combination of words sounds weird to you, buckle up. After crashing a rave party hosted by the cruel Soundlord Sonus, the rave warrior must fight for his freedom against the malicious titan and his loyal, audio-bending army. Imagine if instead of vengeful rage, God of War’s Kratos fueled himself on infectious rhythm – and maybe some illicit drugs – and you’ve got Klang. What follows is an ever-increasing drive of frantically paced combat and platforming, all dictated by and perfectly synched to bLiNd’s aggressive soundtrack. Meters on all sides of the main character fill up, teaching you when to strike just as a note is sharply punctuated, deflecting enemy attacks with your tuning fork blades (yeah) and emitting a powerful blast back at them. Leaping from wall to wall to clamber up a narrow passage locks you in perfect rhythm with the underlying beat, a heady thud-thud-thud that every electronic music fan knows all too well. It goes a long way in both ramping up the intensity of a particularly confrontational boss or just teaching a player how to deal with a new attack. Every EDM fan lives for the “beat drop,” and Klang works a pure sense of magic into how well this crescendo fits into its demanding combat. Whereas a more retro-inspired game might default to a traditional chiptune soundtrack, the fact that Klang’s identity is so wrapped up in its own musical style (not an exclusive one, but certainly never grasped onto with such strength) makes every moment a thrilling one. It would be enough if Klang’s world were only so infused with such great audio, but developer Tom-Ivar Arntzen also builds an aesthetic that’s as much Tron: Legacy as it is European warehouse rave. Attacks from certain enemies shoot out in the form of an equalizer wave, combat stages look like the mosh pit at a concert, platforming sections look almost like sheet music, with streetlights built to look like clef notes. So far as we know, all of Klang’s narrative is communicated without dialogue, emphasizing the importance of this music-infused world and the craziness that goes on in it. Klang is expected to release before the end of 2016 on Steam for PC, featuring two to four hours of gameplay and music from bLiNd. A “Nightcore” mode (don’t google that) will also be available to challenge players looking for an even tougher challenge. View full article
  9. You can scour the land for a century or more, but you’ll never find a better place to get your hands on amazing indie games than at PAX. Between the appropriately titled Indie Megabooth and the PAX 10, there are enough titles to choke a large chocobo. These are the most awesome indie games from PAX West 2016. Echo Platforms: PS4, PC Release Date: Q1 2017 Stare long enough into a void of mystery, and it might start looking back at you. Echo tells the story of En, a woman attempting to revive someone through the mysterious powers of a seemingly sentient palace. All goes well enough until the palace, activating its own defenses, begins to create violent and aggressive clones of En. The kicker? The palace only learns as much as you’re willing to teach it. En’s unwanted copies are ultimately a benign obstacle until she’s forced to adapt, opening doors, launching over barriers, and utilizing weapons. The clones slowly but surely adapt to every new maneuver you employ, dramatically increasing the likelihood of detection and death. Employing a sort of rapid “day and night” cycle to indicate when the clones will begin to employ your own tactics, Echo quickly becomes an exercise in risk versus reward and stealth versus desperation. Knowing that your own mistake is about to make things even worse is powerful, and allows players to choose their own play style. The team at developer Ultra Ultra might be commanding their corner of the Indie Megabooth, but the game stands as a technical and visual marvel in its own right, right alongside anything more highly funded. Old Man’s Journey Platform: Android, iOS Release Date: 2017 Fun fact: Roughly a quarter of all gamers are over the age of 50. So yes, you should keep trying to get your old man to play American Truck Simulator, even if it kills you. But if he’s not jonesed about a trip down spreadsheet lane, then perhaps the more serene Old Man’s Journey will be his cup of tea. Old Man’s Journey, developed by studio Broken Rules, captures the lengthy, meditative travels of an old sailor, on a mission of unknown intent, stopping only occasionally to enjoy Austria-inspired scenery. Gentle rolling hills turn into cobblestone roads. An old woman badgers you from her second floor window. A sly cat leads you along the path, and all the while the aura of a small town whispers through the streets. It’s every bit as peaceful as it is artsy, evoking a painterly style that’s both warm and embracing. Thankfully, gameplay seems to maintain a similar level of approachability. On mobile, players bend and layer the environment to line up with the area they want to reach, gently rearranging the landscape. Each segment is capped off with an impeccably illustrated still frame, capturing a moment in time of the protagonist’s storied life: A chance meeting with a girl, a gentle kiss to his pregnant bride at the summer harbor. At an estimated 90 minutes of playtime, you have no excuse not to find time for this game. Dog Sled Saga Platform: PC, Android, iOS Release Date: September 22, 2016 (full game, early access currently available) The onslaught of overly charming 2D “retro” indie games is inescapable. Many retro-inspired games seem to take the framework of a more recognizable era of gaming, but forget to put their own modernized twist on the end product. I don’t know with what else I’d compare Dog Sled Saga, because while its visual style invokes an entirely retro aesthetic (developer Trichotomy Games even rigged their demo to play on an NES controller), its gameplay comes across as both oddly personal and challenging at all times. After making the drastic decision to start a new life in the frozen Alaskan wilderness, the player finds themselves managing a rotating crew of sled dogs, qualifying for tournaments and maintaining their wellbeing over a season. It reads more like the back of a Football Coach Simulator 2016 box than any personal narrative, but each victory and failure along the way is an intensely intimate and earned one. You’ll need to precisely throw rations to your dogs in order to maintain their energy, while also ensuring they don’t injure themselves in tangled sleigh lines or due to lack of rest. The journey becomes just as much yours as it is theirs, and within a tight ten minute window I was already drawing a connection to my loyal steeds. Dog lovers need not miss this. Thimbleweed Park Platform: PC, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux Release Date: January 2017 LucasFilm’s 1987 hit Maniac Mansion set the bar for all future point-and-click games, establishing more than just a simple control scheme, but also the very nature of a video game narrative. Gone were the ultra-linear paths and obfuscated motivations for saving a block-shaped princess, replaced with a full cast of characters and player choice. Almost 30 years later, Maniac Mansion co-creators Ron Gilbert, Gary Winnick, David Fox, and their team are returning to the roots of what makes a great point-and-click narrative with Thimbleweed Park. Sardonic wit, whacky yet engaging characters, and inventive puzzles that play out across the entire cast all come together to craft an engaging mystery. Ignore the obvious parallels to The X-Files. Gilbert and Fox say they didn’t even realize it until the first playtesters made a mention of it. It’s just a good old fashioned murder mystery with clashing FBI agents – until it isn’t and the amateur game programmer/factory heiress and depressed clown show up. Battle Chef Brigade Platforms: PC, Mac, Linux Release Date: 2016 If you have even the slightest interest in the indie scene, you've more than likely heard of Battle Chef Brigade, and for excellent reason. After a successful Kickstarter campaign and three years in development, the cooking action puzzler is shaping up like few other games of its kind. Merging side-scrolling platforming and combat with Bejeweled-esque culinary puzzles, Battlechef Brigade challenges players to whip up the best darn dish in a fantasy world inhabited by your unusual assortment of heroes and devilishly handsome orcs. Wrapping it all up is an art style evocative of famed Studio Ghibli director Hayao Miyazaki, or the more recent Mamoru Hosoda, but with enough of its own unique flair as to be entirely unique. With a wonderfully colorful cast and cooking competitions that would make Top Chef look like Julia Child, Battlechef Brigade is a dish best served on every gamer's plate. If there's one thing all PAX attendees can agree on, it's that the number of games at PAX is far too vast to play all of them. Make sure to check out the rest at both the Indie Megabooth and PAX 10 web pages and beyond, and to let us know what your favorite game from PAX West was. View full article
  10. You can scour the land for a century or more, but you’ll never find a better place to get your hands on amazing indie games than at PAX. Between the appropriately titled Indie Megabooth and the PAX 10, there are enough titles to choke a large chocobo. These are the most awesome indie games from PAX West 2016. Echo Platforms: PS4, PC Release Date: Q1 2017 Stare long enough into a void of mystery, and it might start looking back at you. Echo tells the story of En, a woman attempting to revive someone through the mysterious powers of a seemingly sentient palace. All goes well enough until the palace, activating its own defenses, begins to create violent and aggressive clones of En. The kicker? The palace only learns as much as you’re willing to teach it. En’s unwanted copies are ultimately a benign obstacle until she’s forced to adapt, opening doors, launching over barriers, and utilizing weapons. The clones slowly but surely adapt to every new maneuver you employ, dramatically increasing the likelihood of detection and death. Employing a sort of rapid “day and night” cycle to indicate when the clones will begin to employ your own tactics, Echo quickly becomes an exercise in risk versus reward and stealth versus desperation. Knowing that your own mistake is about to make things even worse is powerful, and allows players to choose their own play style. The team at developer Ultra Ultra might be commanding their corner of the Indie Megabooth, but the game stands as a technical and visual marvel in its own right, right alongside anything more highly funded. Old Man’s Journey Platform: Android, iOS Release Date: 2017 Fun fact: Roughly a quarter of all gamers are over the age of 50. So yes, you should keep trying to get your old man to play American Truck Simulator, even if it kills you. But if he’s not jonesed about a trip down spreadsheet lane, then perhaps the more serene Old Man’s Journey will be his cup of tea. Old Man’s Journey, developed by studio Broken Rules, captures the lengthy, meditative travels of an old sailor, on a mission of unknown intent, stopping only occasionally to enjoy Austria-inspired scenery. Gentle rolling hills turn into cobblestone roads. An old woman badgers you from her second floor window. A sly cat leads you along the path, and all the while the aura of a small town whispers through the streets. It’s every bit as peaceful as it is artsy, evoking a painterly style that’s both warm and embracing. Thankfully, gameplay seems to maintain a similar level of approachability. On mobile, players bend and layer the environment to line up with the area they want to reach, gently rearranging the landscape. Each segment is capped off with an impeccably illustrated still frame, capturing a moment in time of the protagonist’s storied life: A chance meeting with a girl, a gentle kiss to his pregnant bride at the summer harbor. At an estimated 90 minutes of playtime, you have no excuse not to find time for this game. Dog Sled Saga Platform: PC, Android, iOS Release Date: September 22, 2016 (full game, early access currently available) The onslaught of overly charming 2D “retro” indie games is inescapable. Many retro-inspired games seem to take the framework of a more recognizable era of gaming, but forget to put their own modernized twist on the end product. I don’t know with what else I’d compare Dog Sled Saga, because while its visual style invokes an entirely retro aesthetic (developer Trichotomy Games even rigged their demo to play on an NES controller), its gameplay comes across as both oddly personal and challenging at all times. After making the drastic decision to start a new life in the frozen Alaskan wilderness, the player finds themselves managing a rotating crew of sled dogs, qualifying for tournaments and maintaining their wellbeing over a season. It reads more like the back of a Football Coach Simulator 2016 box than any personal narrative, but each victory and failure along the way is an intensely intimate and earned one. You’ll need to precisely throw rations to your dogs in order to maintain their energy, while also ensuring they don’t injure themselves in tangled sleigh lines or due to lack of rest. The journey becomes just as much yours as it is theirs, and within a tight ten minute window I was already drawing a connection to my loyal steeds. Dog lovers need not miss this. Thimbleweed Park Platform: PC, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux Release Date: January 2017 LucasFilm’s 1987 hit Maniac Mansion set the bar for all future point-and-click games, establishing more than just a simple control scheme, but also the very nature of a video game narrative. Gone were the ultra-linear paths and obfuscated motivations for saving a block-shaped princess, replaced with a full cast of characters and player choice. Almost 30 years later, Maniac Mansion co-creators Ron Gilbert, Gary Winnick, David Fox, and their team are returning to the roots of what makes a great point-and-click narrative with Thimbleweed Park. Sardonic wit, whacky yet engaging characters, and inventive puzzles that play out across the entire cast all come together to craft an engaging mystery. Ignore the obvious parallels to The X-Files. Gilbert and Fox say they didn’t even realize it until the first playtesters made a mention of it. It’s just a good old fashioned murder mystery with clashing FBI agents – until it isn’t and the amateur game programmer/factory heiress and depressed clown show up. Battle Chef Brigade Platforms: PC, Mac, Linux Release Date: 2016 If you have even the slightest interest in the indie scene, you've more than likely heard of Battle Chef Brigade, and for excellent reason. After a successful Kickstarter campaign and three years in development, the cooking action puzzler is shaping up like few other games of its kind. Merging side-scrolling platforming and combat with Bejeweled-esque culinary puzzles, Battlechef Brigade challenges players to whip up the best darn dish in a fantasy world inhabited by your unusual assortment of heroes and devilishly handsome orcs. Wrapping it all up is an art style evocative of famed Studio Ghibli director Hayao Miyazaki, or the more recent Mamoru Hosoda, but with enough of its own unique flair as to be entirely unique. With a wonderfully colorful cast and cooking competitions that would make Top Chef look like Julia Child, Battlechef Brigade is a dish best served on every gamer's plate. If there's one thing all PAX attendees can agree on, it's that the number of games at PAX is far too vast to play all of them. Make sure to check out the rest at both the Indie Megabooth and PAX 10 web pages and beyond, and to let us know what your favorite game from PAX West was.
  11. Telltale has announced that next Friday will be a big day of revelation for fans of both The Walking Dead and Batman. They will be holding a panel in the Hydra Theatre of the Grand Hyatt during PAX West. Those who attend in person will be able to ask the panel questions after the various announcements and might be walking away with a giveaway for sitting through the presentation. We don't know exactly what will be shown regarding The Walking Dead at the panel, but the earlier reveal of the third season during E3 left many tantalizing possibilities. We know that this season will feature two playable protagonists, one of which will be series mainstay, Clem. Many expect at least one of the reveals during PAX West to be the fall release date that was hinted at during the initial announcement. Telltale will also be hosting a Crowd Play event using the new in-game Crowd Play feature that they've developed to make Telltale games a more multiplayer experience. This year, attendees of the Crowd Play event will be able to cooperatively play through Batman Episode 1: Realm of Shadows before receiving an early, exclusive look at the upcoming Episode 2: Children of Arkham. Giveaways will follow this event as well, and the press release included a winky face after that bit of information. Not entirely sure how to take that, but you might want to go to the Crowd Play event if you can. View full article
  12. Telltale has announced that next Friday will be a big day of revelation for fans of both The Walking Dead and Batman. They will be holding a panel in the Hydra Theatre of the Grand Hyatt during PAX West. Those who attend in person will be able to ask the panel questions after the various announcements and might be walking away with a giveaway for sitting through the presentation. We don't know exactly what will be shown regarding The Walking Dead at the panel, but the earlier reveal of the third season during E3 left many tantalizing possibilities. We know that this season will feature two playable protagonists, one of which will be series mainstay, Clem. Many expect at least one of the reveals during PAX West to be the fall release date that was hinted at during the initial announcement. Telltale will also be hosting a Crowd Play event using the new in-game Crowd Play feature that they've developed to make Telltale games a more multiplayer experience. This year, attendees of the Crowd Play event will be able to cooperatively play through Batman Episode 1: Realm of Shadows before receiving an early, exclusive look at the upcoming Episode 2: Children of Arkham. Giveaways will follow this event as well, and the press release included a winky face after that bit of information. Not entirely sure how to take that, but you might want to go to the Crowd Play event if you can.
  13. until
    Extra Life @ PAX West Extra Life National will have a booth in the North Lobby at PAX West in Seattle on September 2 - 5, 2016. If you're going to be there, swing by to meet fellow Extra Lifers (and possibly a local miracle family), grab an Extra Life button and sign up for this year's marathon! Huge shout out to the Seattle Guild for helping staff the booth!
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