Individual efforts make a difference, but the Intelligame Extra Life Fundraiser truly showcased the power of community.
When it feels like the world is falling apart, it’s easy to get caught up in the negative aspects of life. The last couple Intelligame posts have reflected the state of my mind ever since the recent election: scattered, depressed, a bit fearful. I have a habit of dwelling on the items that give me trouble or cause for alarm. That comes with consequences, including a tendency to pass over some of the fantastic things in the world. Though this post is far more delayed than it should have been, I wanted to take some time to talk about how amazing the Intelligame Extra Life fundraiser was, alongside the community that helped make it so much more than I’d ever expected.
In the two weeks before Nov. 5th, I plastered my social media with announcements about the event: Intelligame would host a 25-hour livestream event to raise money for OHSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital. I set a personal fundraising goal of $500, with an Intelligame team goal of $2,000… I wasn’t sure if we’d even get close, but I wanted to try. Within 24 hours we’d raised $335, and in four days we broke the $500 barrier, meriting some really terrible MS Paint skills.
By October 27th we’d raised $1,000 (and I created a terrible, unedited YouTube video). I’d installed the Extra Life app on my phone, and I’d get a notification every time a new donation came in: some days it felt like I’d hear a new donation come in every half-hour…it was mind-blowing. Before even doing a single second of livestreaming, we raised almost $1,200. It felt surreal. Though I was thrilled about the money that had already come in, I personally still had a 25-hour livestream to do and had no idea what was in store.
Weeks later, the parts I remember most about the stream had nothing to do with me. A viewer talked about dealing with a family member who had Alzheimer’s during the Firewatch segment. We had amazing discussions about race in gaming, played cooperative and competitive games, traveled the worlds of Destiny, and added some much-needed critique to some of my favorite games. Hell, we even just hung out and ate pizza together with the stream audience. People donated from across the country to a hospital they’d never see, supporting kids they’d never meet.
As great at these things were, what I ALSO remember were all the ways the stream was falling apart behind the scenes. But an amazing group of people helped prop the stream up, refusing to let it fail.
Every time a problem popped up in the stream, a friend instantly volunteered to fix it without me even asking. The stream started with no “away message” screen; in a moment of emergency, I pointed the camera at a whiteboard where I hastily wrote, “Be right back?” Kahlief Adams took the Extra Life/Intelligame mash-up logo, added some text to it, and taught me how to use the new image directly on the stream, adding tons of professionalism (and legibility) to the away message. Out of the blue, Ben Purdy offered to put together graphics for the stream so that people would know how much was donated and who pitched in.
Yori Kvitchko helped troubleshoot problems as they arose. Adam Clark and Mikkel Snyder, not only handled my being an hour behind schedule for the Destiny segment, narrated all the content while my head swam from wrestling with technical glitches. Beryl Allee, completely unscheduled, came in and punched up the late-night sections of the stream with art history knowledge and a great sense of humor. Laura Hall arrived at the end of the stream with decaf coffee and pastries, giving me the fuel I needed to stay awake up to the end of the marathon. And that says nothing of the friends of mine who watched the stream in the middle of the night, or came back after multiple downtimes to keep the chat alive and show support.
By the end of the stream, we’d raised $2,350 for sick children. People have asked me, “How did you do it?” My response each time: “With tons of help.”
None of this would have been possible without you. Yes, you. The one reading this post.
This is a convoluted, long-winded way of saying “thank you.” Thank you so much, all of you who came together to make that event what it was, whether you donated money or shared a link, appeared on the stream, hung out in the audience, or are otherwise a part of the Intelligame community. You made it so much more than I could have imagined, and you’re the reason that I cried at the end of my Journey playthrough. If you haven’t played Journey yet, I won’t spoil it for you. (But go play it, for real; you can clear it in two hours and it’s amazing.)
I specifically want to call out everyone who donated to the stream, whether financially or with their time by appearing during the marathon. If I had medals to award, I would: they all deserve them.
Special thanks to those who donated $100 or more: Toaster, Elizabeth Goy, Shane Lillie, Ben Purdy, Jereme Eggert, Keith Tillman, Andy Baio, Lindy Horowitz, and three anonymous donors. You went above and beyond, and I so appreciate your support. Also, thanks to Elgato Gaming for providing the capture equipment used to stream the PS4 titles.
Donors (chronologically, $100+ italicized):
Michelle and David Boykin
Stream Guests (in order of appearance):
Kahlief Adams of the Spawn on Me Podcast
Yori Kvitchko of Sleepninja Games
Thank you to everyone who made the first Intelligame Extra Life fundraiser a smashing success. This community is a powerful one, and I hope that we find even more ways to create change and good in the world in 2017.