Along with user CharonPDX, I wish to thank Rick Reynolds for dedicating 25 hours of his precious life (for all life, and the short time afforded it on this Earth, is precious) to playing video games for the Extra Life charity event.
As some of you may know, Extra Life is a fund-raising gaming marathon for various children hospitals and related charities, that runs for 24 hours. This year it was selected to run on the eve of the Daylight Saving Time switch, and so it added an extra hour.
In his participation, Rick was raising funds for the Children's Hospital of Pittsburg, a great cause indeed.
In a casual post, Rick asked if anybody had additional suggestions of what games to play, and so it occurred to me that Christmas Carol could be a good game to play in a marathon. So I issued a challenge to Rick: Play Christmas Carol for several hours straight, and I'll donate a chunk of money to your cause.
Of course, it wasn't my intention to shackle Rick into torturing himself for hours and hours of frustration, nor was it my goal to just put him on the spot. I just thought it would be fun, in the spirit of those challenges they do in public TV or radio where a major donor challenges the audience to raise X amount of money in X amount of time, and in return he pledges to match it.
After a quick discussion on what were reasonable goals for both of us, we settled on the following final challenge: Rick would attempt to play Christmas Carol non-stop, for up to five hours straight, and I would donate $50.00 for every hour he actually played. If he reached the goal of five hours, I would tip in an extra bonus to the pot.
Let me just be clear here and state that this was not a gimmick, or a means of self-promotion, or anything like that. To me this event is important, and I wanted to contribute. To be absolutely honest, I would have donated the money anyway had he not played Christmas Carol at all, or if he played for just a few hours. The Christmas Carol part was just because, well, it was a gaming marathon after all, and it is a game with a theme related to saving children's hopes and dreams.
Some of you may remember that several years ago I used to run a yearly Christmas Carol championship for fun and prizes. My wife and I always intended to make the championship into a charity fund-raising event for local children's hospitals; we just never got around to setting it up, and the competition as it was (the logistics of running it, promoting it, and funding the prizes) was daunting enough.
During November, I typically campaign for the Movember Foundation, and it is exhausting; then we follow up with setting up the Christmas Carol championship, which was already a drain on my time and resources without the further complications of coordinating with a local hospital or charitable organization. We did our own separate things for charity and never got around to connecting Carol to it, which was a shame.
In any case, that's why to me Carol has always had a connection to children's charities and when Rick mentioned the Extra Life challenge, I saw it as the opportunity for Christmas Carol to contribute and bring some joy and happiness to children in some fashion.
So, cutting to the chase, Rick did play video games for 25 hours straight and he dedicated himself to playing Christmas Carol for five hours plus change. In return and appreciation for his effort, I made my donation as promised, complete with extra tip for Rick's determination in meeting and completing my challenge. He played with enthusiasm and aplomb; and even though he got rightfully frustrated with the game a few times (sorry about the Candy Cove, Rick!), he still maintained his dignity, determination, and sense of fun and joy; and played like a true sportsman.
I was with him, watching the live-stream for the entire five hours of his Christmas Carol marathon, and thought he played phenomenally. Plus, during his play time, he managed to save Christmas five times!!! How's that for a nice Santa's Helper!
Rick, I tip my hat to you, and I offer you my most sincerest thanks and appreciation for your effort. I know it wasn't easy, but you did it! You completed your 25 hour challenge and even exceeded your funding goals. In fact, you exceeded your funding goal even without my donation -- You, sir, rock!
I hope we had more people in our community actively participating in these sort of events. In the end, it's the cause that matter -- helping children and bringing them joy is the most important thing.