Extra Life 2012 Charity Gaming Marathon: Live Blog

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A word of caution: my live updates may contain spoilers for Dishonored, and probably also for Lego Star Wars. If you’re worried that discussions of Lego pantomime might ruin the plot of a 30-year-old movie, you might want to stop reading now.

Today’s the big day! It’s the morning of Saturday, October 20th, and I’ve got snacks, drinks, a comfy chair, extra batteries, and a freshly-opened copy of Dishonored for the Xbox 360. I’m ready to spend the next 24 hours playing video games for charity. Well… for charity, and because I really like playing video games.

But first, I’d like to thank everyone who donated. Not only did we raise $1,412 for Boston Children’s Hospital, but I learned that my friends are way more generous than I give them credit for. Now of course, it’s not a competition… but if it was, as of this morning we’d be ranked 84 out of the 15,020 Extra Life participants, and 4th in our “division” (i.e. people who are raising money specifically for Boston Children’s Hospital). I’d say we kicked some ass. You know, if it were a competition. Hypothetically.

But enough with the small talk… I came to play. For the children.

8:00 AM (Extra Life Complete!)

We did it! $1,462 raised and 24 hours played (and in addition, I got 640 gamerpoints worth of Xbox achievements out of the deal). Thanks once again to everyone who donated! Now, I’m going to nap for a few hours… which is perfect timing, because our kids just got up… in fact, my son wants us to play more Lego Star Wars.

7:00 AM (Hour #24)

This is it! The final hour. I have to say that Dishonored turned out to be an interesting choice for this gaming marathon. It was the right length for this event, and it had a nice, coherent story arc that was fun to experience in a single, continuous session. It was like watching an entire mini-series in one sitting. Despite its flaws, I’ve really enjoyed it, although perhaps at this point I’m suffering from something like Stockholm Syndrome.

6:00 AM (Hour #23)

Two hours left. I think I’ve earned a beer.

5:00 AM (Hour #22)

Three hours to go. I think I got my second wind, which I used to dispose of the Pendleton twins a second time.

4:00 AM (Hour #21)

I’m finally willing to admit that even for me, 24 straight hours of video games is a lot.

3:00 AM (Hour #20)

I started Dishonored over from the beginning. With the freedom of being able to murder anyone I please without having to constantly re-load my saved game, I was able to tear through the first two missions in about 1/4 of the time it took me yesterday morning.

2:00 AM (Hour #19)

Well, it took nearly all of the 18 hours I’ve been playing so far, but I beat Dishonored! What’s more, I completed it with the “Clean Hands”, “Shadow”, and “Ghost” achievements, which means I saved the city of Dunwall without killing anyone and without being seen by a single enemy. It was a fairly frustrating way to play the game (with a lot of re-loading), although it did lead to some interesting problem solving using the wide array of weapons, powers, and gadgets that Dishonored has to offer. I suppose now I’ll start over from the beginning, just see what it’s like to go through the game while murdering anyone who looks at me sideways.

1:00 AM (Hour #18)

Okay, that wasn’t the final mission, but I’m sure this one is. I was cruising right along for a while, but these last few parts of Dishonored have been kind of bullshit. There’s enemies everywhere, and they seem to have absurdly large fields of vision. Combined with the fact that the game doesn’t notify you terribly well when you’ve “alerted” a guard (there’s a tiny icon and barely audible sound cue), it’s been pretty frustrating trying to play through these missions totally clean.

12:00 AM (Hour #17)

Time for the graveyard shift… only 8 hours left! I’ve got a fresh cup of coffee, and I’m pretty sure I’m nearing the end of Dishonored.

11:00 PM (Hour #16)

I’m facing a bit of a dilemma… I could really go for a drink, but I’m thinking that might not be conducive to gaming for another 9 hours. I probably should have a coffee. Maybe I’ll compromise and have an Irish coffee.

10:00 PM (Hour #15)

It’s not over.

9:00 PM (Hour #14)

The Lord Regent will… no longer be a problem. It’s all over, right? Right??

8:00 PM (Hour #13)

Halfway done! The Death Star has been destroyed, we escaped the Cloud City, and then there was a lot more tears and screaming as bedtime descended. But now the offspring are in their rooms, peace has returned to the galaxy, and I’m heading back to Dunwall.

7:00 PM (Hour #12)

The family’s back home, so I’ve switch to playing some Lego Star Wars until it’s time for the kiddies to go to bed.

6:00 PM (Hour #11)

I’m starting to wonder how bad playing video games for 24 hours straight is for my physical health. Better than a hot-dog eating contest? Worse than joining an intramural Beirut league?

5:00 PM (Hour #10)

Food accomplished. After a brisk walk on a beautiful October day and a buffalo chicken wrap, I’m fully recharged and ready to sit on my ass for the next 15 hours.

4:00 PM (Hour #9) 

Eight hours down. I’m feeling like I’m about halfway through Dishonored, or perhaps even a little more. Now would be a good time to take a walk with Ocarina of Time for the 3DS and grab some take-out. I’ll try not to get hit by a car.

3:00 PM (Hour #8) 

Wow, it’s really nice outside. Perhaps I should take a break and bring my Nintendo 3DS for a walk.

2:00 PM (Hour #7) 

Either it’s because I’m getting better at this game, or because my house is actually calm and quiet for a change, but this mission seems a lot more manageable than the last. From the few times I’ve screwed up, I’ve found that the combat is actually pretty well done. Too bad I’m trying to get through the game without killing anyone.

1:00 PM (Hour #6)

Neutralized the High Overseer in deliciously ironic fashion. Apparently my next mission will take me to a brothel, to dispose of the infamous Pendleton twins. I’m getting the hang of the controls and mechanics, but they still suffer from a lot of the issues I’ve found in other first-person stealth games. It’s hard to tell when you’re properly hidden or not, and things like climbing and jumping tend to be very finicky.

12:00 PM (Hour #5)

After several hours of screaming, the kids are finally out of the house and on their way to a birthday party for the rest of the day. Not a moment to soon, because this no-kill approach to Dishonored is pretty godsdamned frustrating. I may need to start dropping bodies soon.

11:00 AM (Hour #4)

My quest for justice is proceeding well. Soon I should quest for some lunch, though.

10:00 AM (Hour #3)

Stumbled my way through the tutorial mission, and mission #2 is under way. At one point I had to convince my son that the “sleeping” corpse he saw was “playing” with that swarm of ravenous plague-infested rats.

9:00 AM (Hour #2)

Dishonored so far: it seems I used to have honor, but then I lost it. Most of the people in this city seem to be real assholes; it’s going to be tough making it through this game without killing anyone.

8:00 AM (Hour #1)

Popped in Dishonored… I’m good to go. Despite being a first-person stealth action game about bloody revenge, apparently there’s an achievement if you make it through the game without killing anyone. I’ve told my wife that perhaps this will help us get through today while minimizing the number of murders my children witness.

What Do You Think?