Gaming for the greater good

The Long Drive is a video game about survival and exploration through driving in this video game world.

Extra Life was a 25-hour livestream on Nov. 5 aiming to give gamers and the average person the ability to contribute to the entertainment of fundraising events.

The idea for the event started with a young girl who wanted some video games to play during her stay in the hospital.

Victoria Enmon, a young Texan girl with leukemia, befriended a local DJ who worked on annual call-a-thons for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. The DJ asked if Enmon liked to play video games and rallied the gaming community together to provide some games for her while she stayed at Children’s Medical Network Hospitals’ hospital.

The gaming community over-delivered, and sent Enmon more games than she could play herself, so she passed them out to the other kids in the hospital. This inspired Children’s Medical Network Hospitals to change the fundraiser and the movement inspired the creation of Extra Life.

Extra Life was founded with call-a-thons in mind, where people could get together and show their support for young children dealing with medical issues. This fundraiser lets people from all walks of life come together one day a year to play video games to raise money for the children’s hospital of their choice.

“It was always supposed to be a kind of grassroots movement,” Adam Shifani, community manager for Extra Life, said.

“An old frat brother started doing the yearly game day charity stream four years ago.” Benson Bush, event manager and a member of the Psi Phi Psi Fraternity, said.

This is Bush’s first year running the event for the Psi Phi Psi Fraternity, which has gained a reputation for being full of gamers and fans of overall pretty stereotypical nerdy things.

Their goal was to raise $2,000. The funds raised by the stream held by Psi Phi Psi Fraternity are going directly to the Primary Children’s Hospital.

After one hour, they raised $800. By noon, they raised $1259, where they remained for a couple hours. During game changes, donations jumped to $1756. Twenty minutes later, it went up to $1806. They reached their goal of $2,000 at 4 a.m.

The Psi Phi Psi Fraternity encouraged anyone to join them in the eSports lab to play games and hang out. At the busiest, there were 20 attendees.

Small groups broke out to play squads in Overwatch, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 and GTFO. Other groups broke out playing party games like Mario Kart and Jackbox Party Pack.

“It’s been pretty fun,” Esmael Mousavi, a Psi Phi Psi member and attendee said. ”I’ll be here until about 1 a.m.”

At 10 p.m., there was a brief celebration for the 12-hour mark. Over the course of the full 24 hours, various food was provided in the eSports lab to keep gamers going. As the participants started to get drowsy, a delivery of Starbucks was brought in. As the night got later, a group left the lab room to the main sitting area of the community center to play board games.

Groups of gamers playing late into the night were not the only people participating in the event. Wizards of the Coast, a company that owns Magic: The Gathering, had a small group of patients from Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals draw what they think well-known Magic: The Gathering creatures looked like.

These drawings were then reimagined by professional illustrators. They are selling the kids’ and illustrators’ versions of the cards in a secret lair with 50% of the profits going to Extra Life and the Seattle Children’s Hospital Autism Center.

“Fourteen, almost 15 years later, here we are. Gamers have raised over $1 billion,” Shifani said.