At 8 a.m. on Nov. 2, 22 students filed into ITS. Each carried a computer; some held a laptop while others, a complete desktop setup including modem, monitor, keyboard, and mouse. These students remained in the building throughout the day and until the sun set. In fact, they were still there until 8 a.m. the following day.  Exhausted, they packed up their screens  at last to return home.Those 22 students played in a 25-hour gaming marathon to help raise money for the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals at UR. The event was stationed in the upper level of ITS, where the students set up nearly two dozen gaming stations, complete with ethernet cables and webcams for faster Internet connectivity and live streaming, respectively.

Extra Life, a charity founded in 2008, ran the event. Big name companies like Microsoft, Playstation, and Reddit help sponsor Extra Life as well as other host gaming marathon events throughout the world. Initially, however, Extra Life began as a small group of dedicated gamers raising money for Texas Children’s Hospital.

Junior Jordan Greenberg captained the event at UR. She first heard about the idea of a full-day gaming marathon while browsing social media last year. She thereafter invited family and friends to join her in her room in Southside for the event in 2012[MK1].  Between Greenberg and her four friends from home, they raised around $500. This year, she decided to get involved again and, with Rochester Gaming, raised nearly $2,300. Greenberg alone raised a third of the funds.

Many of the other members of UR got involved in the event in a similar fashion. Sophomore Christian Baker saw Jordan’s post on Facebook highlighting the event and decided to take part.

“I like playing games,” Baker said. “So playing for 25 hours seemed appealing to me.”

Others, like senior Michael Mayor, have been participating since the event started.

“I first got involved individually my freshman year. I heard about it through Sarcastic Gamer,” Mayor, who has been playing since 2008, said. “I have been doing this event with friends most of my college career, but I decided to join up with Jordan’s event this year.”

Greenberg believes the best part about the gaming marathon is allowing a previously untapped community to contribute to charity without stepping outside of their “comfort zone.” “It is just like any other marathon,” Greenberg said. “Except [that] we replace the purely physical activity with mental challenges in the form of games.”

The gaming marathon replaces more physical sports with eSports, which allows those who are not interested in participating in a 5K or big competition to still help out a charity. Mayor too said the event helps to foster a great community.

“Doing something fun, like [playing] videogames, in a public place will always accrue interest just on its own,” Mayor added. “The charity aspect is a great way to use that aspect.”

Greenberg has been playing video games since she was a young girl and always liked those games with a problem solving or strategy aspect. She notes that both the gaming and developing communities understand the importance of influencing children in a positive way.

“The same goes for sick kids,” Greenberg noted. “If we don’t do our best to afford them the opportunity to change our world, we are losing out on greatness.”

Greenberg and her teammates played a variety of games during the event, and some of them even live-streamed the entirety of the gaming marathon. She blocked out large time slots for “popular games” like Call of Duty: Black Ops, Starcraft II, League of Legends, and Amnesia: a Machine for Pigs, but also put up a survey of over 150 games for friends and family to pick from for the rest of the marathon. Baker added to the long list of played games with Magic Online, Elder Scrolls, and “way more League of Legends than [is] healthy.”

Overall, Greenberg, Baker, and Mayor all remarked that the fun event was a great way to raise money for a well-deserved charity.

“It was a great time,” Baker said. “I hope that we do it again and even more people show up.”

Greenberg echoed that sentiment and also expressed hope that the event will continue in the future. “What better way is there than to appeal to that side of everyone than to revert to being a kid and playing all day?” she said.

Arre is a member of the class of 2015. 

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