Posts Tagged ‘charity’

This week in gaming: Revisiting the Extra Life Challenge


This week’s article is going to start off a little bit reflective. First of all, I can’t believe I’ve been doing this weekly since February. Now if I could only convince myself that running was like writing. Maybe I’d be in better shape. If you’ve stuck with me since the beginning, I want to thank you, and if you’re just getting here, then I hope you enjoy the rest of the ride for however long you stick around for – which I hope is for a while.


So, I bet you’re wondering why we’re starting off in such a reflective mood. Well, the reason being is that one of my first few articles was titled, “From couch to cash: Trying to redefine the gamer stereotype.” In this post, I talked about how I had read a comment that, to the effect, made gamers still sound like couch potatoes. In fact, for a while, gamers have been doing quite a bit. This even included participating in numerous charity events including, but not limited to, Child’s Play, Awesome Games Done Quick, and Extra Life.


A couple weeks after I wrote that post, I signed up to take part in the Extra Life challenge and began my campaign to raise as much money as I could for the charity.


What is Extra Life?

For those of you who don’t know, Extra Life is a charity organization that raises money to help benefit the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. The hospital I am raising money for is the Boston Children’s Hospital.


As the story goes, Extra Life got it’s first big start in 2008. Then, Extra Life was a way to honor a girl by the name of Victoria Enmon. She was then battling acute lymphoblastic leukemia. A small group of independant gamers known as the Sarcastic Gamer Community got word of her battle and members send in games and other gifts to try to raise and maintain her spirits through numerous visits in and out of the hospital.


Unfortunately, Victoria lost her battle with Cancer in January of 2008. Later that year, the Sarcastic Gamer Community decided to put on the first 24-hour gaming marathon to try to raise money for the hospital that treated Victoria. In 2008 and 2009, the group raised a combined $302,000, all of which went to the Texas Children’s Hospital.



Since then, thousands of gamers have gotten together every year to help raise money for kids who end up in hospitals for extended stays due to various ailments. The money raised goes towards a variety of purposes to help kids out.


Why do I Extra Life?

First of all, it goes towards a great cause which is helping kids out. I don’t have to remind you how much fun games are. I also don’t have to remind you how much fun games were when you were a kid. Imagine being stuck in a hospital with nothing to do because you’re too sick to leave. I would go crazy. Thanks to charities like Extra Life, that doesn’t have to be the case.


Another reason why I Extra Life is because I am a gamer. I have to admit, part of me is in a little competition with myself. Just like in any other game, I try to hit as many achievements as I can and score as many points as possible. Well, here I’m trying to raise as much money as I can. In every little detail I’m trying to out do myself, and this is my first year! Call me nuts, call me ambitious, but either way I’m having a lot of fun.


Plus this gives me a reason to play games with my friends for 24-hours! Does it get any better? Of course all of this work and campaigning is all leading up to the big event.


Save the date: October 25, 2014

The big event is only a little more than a month away. Admittedly, I’m scared. Scared of what you ask? Well the obvious is failure; failure to launch when the big day comes. I’m not going to lie. When you’ve invited all 600 friends on Facebook and only 15 have said they’re going, it’s a little uncomfortable. However, I take comfort in knowing that 15 have said they are coming and not zero. I also take comfort in knowing that I am half way to the goal I set at the beginning of the campaign. I also take comfort in knowing that I belong to a great local gaming community.


So, while I have my fears, I know that I also have reasons to believe. Alright, enough rambling, I’m sure you’re wondering what’s going on at this big event.


Well, I’m still working on it. I do have a few ideas in mind. I wonder, though, how much should I let you know? I can tell you this, I would definitely love to have a “Magic: The Gathering” Pauper tournament. Pauper is such a fun and casual format, but the group that plays at the store can be quite competitive. So with that in mind, I might make some special rules. For example, I’m probably going to ban Delver. That’s a pretty good start in my opinion.


Another possible, special event might or might not involve Derek Lloyd, a Wizard’s Cape, and an original Dungeons and Dragons adventure. However, if you want in on this action, you’ll need to make a donation to the charity. Oh, and the catch is that seats will be extremely limited. Did I mention it will probably be a one-time thing in the entire 24-hour gaming marathon.


There will be plenty of other things to do as well. It’s not just going to be 24-hours of MTG. We’ll have board games, and possibly even some video game consoles. We’d also love a way to stream the event to Twitch. So if you can’t be there in person, you can at least watch all of the action.


Taking part in Extra Life

I’m happily and constantly taking monetary donations. I am, of course, working on ways to “invite” donations, though. I’ve got a few things lined-up to raffle off and giveaway. These are things that I have obtained myself and through my own funds. However, I wouldn’t mind help in this category. So, if you have something that you are willing to part with, and are willing to donate to me to giveaway or raffle to raise funds, let me know.


As much as I would like everyone I know to come and take part, I get that we all have lives. I should also note, people who come to the event are not obligated to stay for the 24-hours. If you can only make it for a few minutes, that’s good enough for me. I appreciate the support.


In case you didn’t know, you also don’t have to wait until the big event to donate. Here is a link to my Extra Life profile page. On the page you’ll see my goofy face and huge button that says, “Support Me.” Just click on the button, select the amount you wish to donate (which can be whatever you are comfortable with), enter some info, and that’s it. Simple!


Oh, I forgot to mention. The big event is happening a the Battleground Games & Hobbies Abington store! We’re going to start at 12:00 AM and go until 12:00 AM the next day! So stick around after FNM if you’re there.


That’s it for now. If you have a comment or anything then leave a message down below. If you want to contact me about the Extra Life charity or for all other inquiries you can also e-mail me at


About the author

Simeon is now the Community Manager for Battleground Games & Hobbies. If you have any questions or inquiries, then you can reach him at He is also an avid gamer who loves to play board games and video games. He graduated college with a degree in Political Science, and now serves the public by writing about games. You can check that out here. Don’t forget to “like” him on Facebook as well. It’ll update you on all of his newest content. Best of all, you can follow Simeon on Twitter (@SimeonCortezano) for some real time hilarity. Thanks for reading!


Donate to the Extra-Life fundraiser!




Join the Battleground Games & Hobbies community forums!

Please don’t forget to check us out on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @battleground_gh!




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From couch to cash: Trying to redefine the gamer stereotype

Before I begin, let me assure you that this week’s post is not about PAX East. However, it is influenced by it. In fact, I had recently come across an article in the Boston Herald regarding the upcoming convention. The title of the article was, “‘Nerd is the word: PAX ’14 is sold out.'” It covered what the convention meant to Boston in an economic sense and how it was such a great opportunity for development companies in the area.


I had no issues with the article. Actually, I thought it was good and informative. I did, however, have a problem with one of the comments from a reader. A user, who went by the name “AlfredNobel,” made the comment, “Must be a great event if it motivated all these people to get up off the couch.” Part of me was really bothered by this comment.


I’m going to give this person a slight benefit of doubt and assume that they also did not know (aside from many things) that the convention does not just cover video games. It’s a celebration of gaming, in general, and many aspects of it as well as other nerd related topics. One of which is tabletop gaming. This refers back to his “couch” comment; as in “couch potato,” which is an old reference for people who were lazy and, stereotypically, played a lot of video games back in the day.


(Did I really have to explain that term?)



This comment bothered me because in 2013, gamers raised well over $10 million dollars for charity. This includes, but not was  limited to the “Child’s Play Charity” which raised $7.6 million dollars for children’s hospitals across the United States and the “Extra-Life” fundraiser which raised $4 million dollars for various Children’s Miracle Network hospitals across the United States as well.


That was just two organizations. Over on Twitch.Tv, I came across numerous streams for other charities. In a span of 24 hours, one raised over $30,000 dollars split among three different human rights organizations. Just recently, “Awesome Games Done Quick 2014” raised over $1 million dollars for the Prevent Cancer foundation.


These people deserve a round of applause.


I really wanted to reply to the comment left by “AlfredNobel.” However, something stopped me. If I were to reply, I would have said everything I’ve said here and probably more. That’s partly why I stopped from replying. I also stopped because I wanted to do something more than just speak my feelings. I wanted to take action.


I want to be more involved in charity events through gaming. Now, this could be done by any means; by helping promote the event, donating money, or even participating and raising money myself.


The “Extra-Life” Challenge


Last year, Battleground Games & Hobbies held a charity event for the “Child’s Play Charity.” It was a lot of fun. The store gave out a lot that day for those participating, and, at the end of the day, I felt really great. However, I think it could have been better. This is by no means the fault of the store. I, personally, would have loved to have just seen more people there.


Now there are plenty of reasons why the turnout wasn’t as great as I wanted it to be. First of all, it coincided with a “Magic: The Gathering” tournament. Not everyone plays the game, and that doesn’t help. If I remember correctly, there was also another large tournament that day. So the store also had some competition to deal with.


Up to now, I’ve done a lot of talking, so here is how I would envision an event done this year. Ideally, if I could, I would do more than one, but I understand that there is a lot of logistics that go into these kind of things.


First of all, I would try have it in the summer. We live in New England, and weather is a big concern. The summer is a perfect time to have an event like this. Not only are the days longer, but there is no snow to complain over. The next thing would be that the event would have to cover all kinds of games. I’m talking about having another TableTop Day. This is a day where we can pick up a board game and just play. Don’t worry you miniatures player, there will be a place for you too.


Even better, what if we were to hold a 24-hour marathon of gaming. Now, I know, it seems a little crazy, but hear me out. I mentioned the charity “Extra-Life” earlier in the post. Now, let me explain what they do. Actually, I’ll have the site explain things, since they do a better job of it than I do:


“Extra Life began in 2008 as a way of honoring a young lady named Victoria Enmon. Tori’s battle against acute lymphoblastic leukemia inspired the Sarcastic Gamer Community in a way that is difficult to describe. Members sent in video games and bought gifts to keep Tori’s spirits up despite numerous hospital stays and three bouts with the deadly disease.


Tragically, we lost Tori to cancer in January 2008. Later that year, I asked my partners at Sarcastic Gamer if they would be interested in Extra Life, a 24-hour video game marathon to raise money for the hospital that treated and fought beside Tori. In 2008 and 2009 Extra Life raised a combined $302,000, 100 percent of which went directly to help kids like Tori at my local Children’s Miracle Network Hospital (Texas Children’s Hospital).”




Overtime, the charity has evolved from video games to gaming in general. This includes tabletop games!


The “Extra-Life 2014” charity event is scheduled to happen on October 25 of this year. That is plenty of time to get the ball rolling; plenty of time to Tweet, to Facebook post, to e-mail your boss, tell your mom, dad, grandmother, grandfather, sister, brother, cousin, aunt, and uncle.


So what do you say? If I were to get things started, would you be interested in participating? Would you be able to game for 24-hours straight?


Okay, don’t worry if you can’t. The site, its founders, and other know how hard it is to game for 24-hours. Some people, last year, played for 12-hours one day and another 12-hours the next.


In the end, it all comes down to one thing, and “Extra-Life” and I seem to have the same mindset about it: The performance on the day of the event is not what is important, but the hard work leading up to it.


Let’s make “AlfredNobel” and others like him really think about what they’re going to say the next time they comment on another gamer related article. We’re not just a bunch of bums who sit on the couch all day. We’re more than that.


About the author


Simeon is an avid gamer who loves to play board games and video games. He graduated college with a degree in Political Science, and now serves the public by writing about games. You can check that out here. Don’t forget to “like” him on Facebook as well. It’ll update you on all of his newest content. Best of all, you can follow Simeon on Twitter (@SimeonCortezano) for some real time hilarity. Thanks for reading!


Join the Battleground Games & Hobbies community forums!

Please don’t forget to check us out on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @battleground_gh!


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