October is coming.
No, that's not a line from my terrible A Song of Ice and Fire spin-off fan fiction, "A Shitload of Shields." It's basically just a fact. October will bring with it tiny candy bars, "sexy" versions of characters for which such costumes should not exist (I'm looking at you, Sexy SpongeBob Squarepants), and the Extra Life 24-hour charity gaming marathon.
Gaming-fan blog Sarcastic Gamer founded Extra Life back in 2008, and the event has gotten bigger every year. Last year alone, the event raised $1.2 million dollars for Children's Miracle Network (CMN) hospitals all over the country. How it works is that on October 20, participants will play video games for 24 hours straight. Between now and then — or even during the event, if they're feeling ambitious — they will ask their friends, family, co-workers, or complete strangers* to sponsor their marathons with cash moneys.
Because the CMN has partner hospitals all over the world, participating gamers can decide where the money they raise will go. Every dollar people donate will go to support these institutions and help them to continue providing life-saving care for children all over the world and fund research to cure diseases like cancer and diabetes.
Bitmob has had teams the past couple of years, but we have a new home at GamesBeat, and we're setting up shop under the GB banner this time. If you'd like to see how things went for the group last year, check out this post.
If you've heard enough, and you want to know how to get in on this, here's what you do:
Go to Extra Life's registration page.
Select your Participant Type. You have two levels to choose from: Classic and Premium. Premium costs $15, but you'll be eligible to win prizes like the official Extra Life T-shirt (for raising over $200 for your hospital). This page also asks you to set a fundraising goal, but you can always change that later.
Choose your Role. You can either go solo, join a team, or start your own. I assume if you've read this far, you'd like to join the GamesBeat team, so go ahead and click on "Join a Team" and choose "GamesBeat" from the pull-down menu.
Pick your hospital. One of the cool things about Extra Life is that you can keep the money you donate in your community. If you live outside of the United States, the CMN also includes facilities in Canada, Ireland, the United Kingdom, and Australia.
Fill out some other basic stuff (referral info, waiver agreement, etc.) and hit "Continue to next step."
Provide your name and address and create a login for your account.
Pay your registration fee if you selected "Premium" back in the second step.
Verify everything and click on "Complete Registration."
Start asking all those friends, family, coworkers, and complete strangers** to sponsor you. Your account provides easy ways to send e-mails and share your page on all those social networking sites that the kids are talking about these days.
On October 20, play games for 24 hours. I find it's a great chance to catch up on my backlog, but you can do whatever you want. The event works more or less on the honor system; nobody's going to be tracking you. But we're all people of honor here, right?
If you have any questions, feel free to let me know in the comments. In case you need more motivation, see below for my most puzzling Extra Life accomplishment ever:
This could be you!
*Please exercise caution when asking complete strangers for money.
**Seriously. Be careful.