The Naked Gamer: Extra Life

The Naked Gamer is a regular opinion column that strips back the superficialities and looks at the flesh underneath. If you’ve got a topic you’d like discussed, drop columnist Kristy Green a line!

While most of us have gotten over our weekend of late nights gaming sessions and our infection of Mondayitis (which will just flare-up next week anyway), there are probably still a few fatigued gamers around. These valiant gamers will be daydreaming of sleep while stifling that lingering yawn and trying to survive their work/school day.

This is because on the 20th of October, gamers gathered (either physically or virtually) from around the world to play non-stop for 24 hours. Whether they were PC or console gamers, whether they played on their phone or through web browser, none of that mattered. All that did matter was playing computer games and helping children.

Extra Life is a charity event that started in 2008 and its current goal is to raise money for the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom and Australia (Sydney). Even if your local children’s hospital isn’t part of this network, you can still organise for your donations to go to them instead. It is really is win-win for everyone – we get an excuse to challenge ourselves playing computer games and our children’s hospitals get more money.

Unfortunately this year, I didn’t participate. As much as I really wanted to, I couldn’t get a team together and I didn’t know any other teams to join. So instead I donated and have been spreading the word about this awesome charity event. Plus, there is always next year.

I know the biggest criticism I’ve heard is that it’s not exactly healthy to stay up for 24 hours, sitting on your bot-bot, probably consuming bad food and drink to raise money for sick children. Sure, if you put it like that then it is a bit ironic. However, the world is how you see it and I choose to see this as us gamers, doing something we love and pushing ourselves for one day out of the whole year in order to put our 1337 powers to good. It’s not like you even have to do the 24 hours in one sitting – while obviously it’s more fun and awesome that way, if you need more than one session then that’s fine.

If you can find a team of great people, staying up so late isn’t that hard. On the first day of Tera release I was up at 3am when the servers went live and didn’t go to sleep till 4am the next day, all without realising it. I really didn’t plan or mean to, it just happened. I was having so much fun with my guild that the time just flew by. Plus, I really did just have to do one last dungeon before bed, I promise.

Another criticism I hear is how exactly is playing computer games classed as anything charitable. While it is true that playing computer games will never be classed as volunteer work, it doesn’t mean we can’t raise money while doing it. There isn’t anything wrong with having some fun and helping out those that need it.

We as gamers have a chance to put our favourite hobby to good use, so I say take it. It seems really hard to argue that raising money legally for Children’s Hospital is a bad thing. Anything we can do to help sick children and help bring the gaming community together can’t really be so horrible, right?

So I hope to see you all next year during the Extra Life Charity Event. Let’s use those thumbs to help save some children!