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Published on October 27th, 2014 | by Don Parsons

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I Survived Extra-Life 2014 – A Look Back at 24 Hours of Gaming

First and foremost, I did not reach my goal this year for Extra-Life. While that saddens me, I still managed to earn some money that will go towards the Texas Children’s Hospital, a non-profit hospital for kids. This is the second year I have participated, and  I do it for the kids. Leading up to the event, I feel great trying to collect money for this cause, and the duration of my gaming marathon, I feel just as great knowing I am supporting this awesome movement.

The First 12 Hours

I didn’t plan this very well this year. Or, rather, I forgot my experience from last year. I came home at 5:30, ate, drank a beer real quick, and tried to sleep. Only, I didn’t sleep verywell. I ended up waking up around 10 and laying in bed for half an hour, then again at 11:30. I set my alarm for 11:45 and forgot my alarm clock was 15 minutes fast. At this point, I knew my session was doomed.

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Officially, I began at midnight. I started with Forza Horizon 2, a game I am getting wildly addicted to. The way I figured it, even though I thoroughly love racing games, I tend to not play them so well when I’m sleepy. This was as awake as I figured I was going to be. So I cruised around and finished a few championships.

After that, it was on to my beloved Destiny. Daily challenges kept me busy for awhile. The worst part about this time period was the time of day. At 1 am, dark windows, the lights off and volume down because my wife was sleeping in the same room, I had a lot fighting against me. I had to stay quiet until about 7 or 8 am. And playing games with no lights on is killer on my eyes anyways.

Destiny was great, as always (Don being the only member of our staff who thinks even close to this- editor). I even entertained myself with the crucible for awhile. I played horribly, because I was trying to level up a legendary pulse rifle, but I have fun playing Destiny no matter how bad I am doing at any given time. That’s really the beauty of the Crucible. I can have a few bad games, but still earn reputation and marks, and even have a chance for some good loot. I didn’t get anything particularly good, except when I bought an exotic engram from Xur. Of course, it was for the wrong class, but nonetheless, it was good.

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I took a small break to play Sneaky Sneaky for a bit, a preview game I received a code for a day prior. I don’t want to spoil my preview, so I will skip right on to Chariot, which I found downloaded onto my Xbox One. I didn’t even know that game was out on Xbox One, yet there it was, downloaded by (presumably) my wife. Thirty minutes of Chariot and I was done. I’m not a fan of platformers any more.

I jumped back to Forza, then back to Destiny. Chris Scott (Editor-in-Chief) and I ended up in the Crucible together to earn him some marks. My great friend, and usual fireteam member, Cole came and played with us a bit too. Matchmaking was not our friend, on the other hand, as we got our asses handed to us a few times, but overall we had fun.

The Last 12 Hours

We were still playing Destiny as I rolled into the half way point. I was more awake, the sun was out, and I had more than a few cups of coffee in me. Which, sadly, meant constant bathroom breaks. About 1 pm, we rolled into the Tower and were joined by Tom, a friend from Twitter. The next 20 minutes was spent trying to gather two strangers to come run The Vault of Glass, Destiny’s end-game raid. We got our posse, and started on our epic journey. And by epic, I mean long, not great.

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This was the third time I had been through the opening parts of the raid now. Each time was with a group of people who had never completed the raid, so everyone had to get a system going. I couldn’t hear my friend Cole, but I could hear everyone else, and typically, Cole and I start the raid at the left portal. We have a system, but with no communication, it wasn’t working out and we had to adjust. We finally made it through one of the easiest parts and rejoiced. An hour later.

The next part went rather smoothly. We wiped once, I think, maybe twice (everything is so fuzz), but everyone was warming up to each other at this point. The third part, where the oracles start popping up, took quite a few retries. I had been this far before, and it isn’t overly hard. It is simply a matter of everyone learning where to look for the stupid oracles. When we finally cleared this section, I rejoiced loudly because I got my second piece of raid gear: some fantastic looking boots. I could almost taste level 30.

I was incredibly tired by this point. I worked a 9.5 hour day, I only got about 3 hours of sleep, and had been up for about 14 hours at this point. I had been past the next part before, but only once, and with a crew of random people. We had figured out how to get through this pretty quickly, though. This time, however, was not the same. One of the random people, whom had some good gear and been as far as I had in the raid, had a completely backwards theory on how to clear it. Being tired, irritated, and just happy to have my new raid gear, I didn’t feel like arguing. I did not see  us finishing it at this point, as I could hear the frustration in a few other people, too. but we gave it a dozen tries, and finally, walked away.

Honestly, I didn’t care. The raid is fun, don’t get me wrong, but I still prefer the strikes. Getting six people together to sit down and play a small marathon together is not my idea of fun.

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What is fun, however, is playing Forza Horizon 2 with Chris and Tom. I had a lot of fun, and this woke me up a little bit after that last, tiring struggle. It was around 5 pm, so I was 17 hours in. Every time I stood up though, I could tell my body was so tired. I felt drunk and shaky. Back to Forza, though. I am actually pretty decent at Forza Motorsports, or Gran Turismo, or any track-based racing game for that matter. And while I love street racing games, I tend to suck at them. Surprisingly, I did not fall asleep. Probably because I was laughing. At one point, I watched Chris go off road, I ended up doing the same thing, and then Tom just slips by without a problem. And then during a full game of Infection, I was minding my own business, trying to find Chris, who was the first infected, only to clip Chris, getting myself infected too. There were a small handful of great moments during this 24 hour marathon, Forza Horizon 2 with those two was one of them.

Dinner at 6, and then Diablo 3 with my wife. I love playing this game, and it’s our “couples game”, but being as it is a mindless game that requires little thought, this did not go over well. I think I dozed off a few times while she was sorting her inventory. Bad idea to play this at the tail end of a marathon, but we still managed to play for an hour and a half.

After a short break to stretch, I spent a few more hours playing Destiny by myself. I ran the Vanguard Tiger strike playlist a few times, leveling up my raid gear a bit. Then I spent a long time farming Spirit Blooms on Venus to actually level that gear up.

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About 10 or so, with only a few hours left, Chris, Tom and I rejoined forces in Titanfall. The new Frontier Defense mode was our prime target, and we ended up playing a quick game before Tony (our resident Strategy Gamer) joined in on the party. After spending so much time with Destiny, I forgot how fast Titanfall is. Thankfully, we were fighting the AI, and not people, because I would have been pissed because I was playing so badly. I tell you what though: you sure can level up fast playing this mode. The challenges just pop up on the screen like crazy.

What I really like about Frontier Defense is that each map has it’s own set of waves. So wave one on map A will have completely different enemies than wave one on map B. I was doing horribly; maybe a small percentage of that being as that I had been up for 23 hour at this point, but I was having a blast. Tony was too, literally, as he was nuclear ejecting in the middle of swarms of titans. At one point, I jumped off a building to rodeo a titan far below, and mid-air, I heard the nuclear ejection sound start. I thought “oh crap”, but it was too late. Lucky for me, it was Tony clearing out a handful of titans.

Playing games for 24 hours is fun, sure, but I couldn’t do it regularly. This year, it was a little easier because I love Destiny and it keeps me awake. I also had a huge advantage because I flipped to the Xbox One as my first new console this time. So I got to play with great friends, who kept me awake as I was dozing. Hopefully next year, I can raise more money, and hopefully I can stream as well. Thank you everyone who donated. Until next year!

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About the Author

got into podcasting in 2007, and transitioned into writing in late 2008. In late 2011, he went from blogging to writing for a small site called Vagary.tv. Don attended E3 for Vagary.tv in 2012. Now, Don is one-fourth of the foundation of Critically Sane.



  • Napoleon1066

    Too much Destiny!

    • Don Parsons

      Not enough ho’s? O_o

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