Extra Life Fundraiser: +1 to Charity

OK, here’s an idea that should have come into existence a long time ago: a fundraiser where its participants have a 24-hour gaming marathon, and all the money raised from their sponsors go to a worthy cause. Playing games all day and doing some good in the process? Sounds like a great idea.

That’s the idea behind the Extra Life fundraiser. It started in 2008 by the Sarcastic Gamer community. They had been inspired by the story of Victoria Enmon, a young girl who was fighting a harsh battle against lymphoblastic leukaemia. The community had sent her games and gifts to keep her spirits up as she was being treated and fighting the disease.

Tori unfortunately succumbed to her illness in early 2008, and the community honoured her by starting the Extra Life fundraiser to help raise money for the hospital that treated Tori during her battle with leukaemia. After pitching the idea within the community and further abroad, many gamers stated that they wanted to help out causes closer to home, instead of this specific hospital in Texas. Long story short, the answer to this was to have the Extra Life proceeds go to the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, which helps dozens of hospitals in the US and Canada. So far, Extra Life has raised over $1.1 million for the CMNH.

Under the instruction of Neal Derman, one of the Media Lab’s gaming researchers / resident gamers, a few of the lab rats set out to have their own Extra Life game-a-thon. After a lot of begging, social media flooding and some generous donations, the lab managed to raise $710 for the Extra Life fund. Our donations were assigned to the international efforts that the CMNH provide for.

The game day was held on the 29th of October. Neal was kind enough to offer up his house for the event. 5 of the 7 participating lab members were present, and a few non-participating friends showed up as well to take part and lend moral support. The variety of games played included table-top war games, board games, card games, and PC and console games. There were games from every spectrum of play. One (and the only one) game of the Civilisations board game ran for 7 hours, and with the launch of Battlefield 3 that weekend, the study was occupied with the sounds of warfare.

We’re hoping to expand the amount of players and donators for next year’s event, from both inside the lab and outside, so we can raise even more for the Extra Life foundation. We just need to find Mac compatible games for everyone to play first…

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