Like many this past weekend, I, Variant J, participated in a 24 hour Video Gaming Marathon in support of Children’s Miracle Network hospitals through Extra Life. This wasn’t my first rodeo, I had participated in similar marathons in years past. Due to the state of the world (I’m looking in your direction, COVID-19), I was not able to join up with my friends at Team Pixel Damage and rely on our Captain Mike to run our collective Extra Life Stream. For the first time, I was on my own for the full 24 hours.
The dust has settled on Extra Life 2020’s Game Day, and together we at Team Pixel Damage raised a lot of money for kids in need! Looking back, there were some things I learned during the event I wish I had known going in. Keep reading If you have thought about participating in Extra Life via streaming, or are looking for some tips on running a longer game stream.
Choose Your Games Wisely
Prior to starting to stream for Extra Life Game Day, I carefully selected a number of games that I thought would be entertaining to play, fun to watch, and would be appropriate for an audience of all ages. This would ensure that people would be entertained while watching the stream, and would hopefully entice donations for the team. One thing I had not considered was that in terms of streaming, not all games are created equal. For example, I had played some hectic multiplayer communication based games such as Overcooked 2, and Moving Out. Although these were fun to play and my stream audience was actively cheering me on, I had to focus so intently on what was happening in the game I found it difficult to engage with my audience. I was delayed in responding to questions and frequently could not stop to read the chat. When I stream next, I will be sticking to games of a slightly slower pace, or games that focus on a narrative to ensure I am able to concentrate on my audience and the stream chat.
One mistake I made during my stream was relying heavily on caffeinated beverages to keep me focused and alert during the 24 hour span of the stream. Although the caffeine did help, it also served to dehydrate me, and as I was not drinking as much water I became tired. In the end, I should have planned to drink more water or electrolyte infused beverages and avoided sugary sodas and cups of coffee. All the coffee and soda also left me frequently needing to use the restroom, which brings me to my next point.
Take Frequent Breaks
Because I was so focused on powering through the 24 hour gaming marathon, and because I became engrossed in some of the excellent narrative games I had chosen for my stream, there were long stretches during the event where I did not leave my seat. I did not realize in the moment, but those long stretches were wearing me down and would make it more difficult to push through the remainder of the stream. And though I was able to carry on through the entire 24 hour period, I could have had an easier time if I had scheduled regular intervals to get up from my chair, refresh my water and snacks, and use the restroom. My legs began to ache toward the end due to the large periods of time I remained stationary, which would have been offset if I had stood up more often.
And while I was standing, I could have spent more time stretching out my legs, back, and other parts of my body that were being stressed during the marathon. Next year I will be sure to perform a full stretching routine before the event starts, and will be incorporating additional stretch times into my scheduled breaks. This should reduce aches and pains I felt throughout the latter half of my streaming experience, and will also assist in keeping good circulation. This will assist in keeping me awake and alert throughout the 24 hours. At times, were it not for my friends I may have crashed before I completed my task.
Get Help from Friends
That brings me to my last tip. Be sure to ask for help from friends and loved ones. There are a lot of ways that having a support network helped me get through my 24 hour marathon. They cheered me on when I was running out of steam. They made sure I was focusing on my stream chat and asked me engaging questions to keep me talking. Those who were with me in my home made sure I had food and drink and assisted in other tasks as well. I do not know how I would have succeeded without their help, and owe each one of them a debt of gratitude. It cannot be overstated how important having this level of support is when running a successful several hour stream.
Next year, I intend to take part in even more Extra Life charity events. And for many of these events, I will be streaming like I did for Game Day 2020. With the tips I have outlined above, I am sure I will have even more energy and a lot more fun while I play. All of the money I raised will be going to hospitals that perform miracles for children in need. I owe it to myself as much as to Extra Life to ensure I am at my best while I stream.