This past saturday was Extra Life‘s 24 hour gaming marathon to benefit Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. My team chose to support Children’s Hospital Oakland and raised $5,275! We also used the event to remember my late nephew, Lakas, his giving nature and his love of gaming. This weekend reminded me why I wanted to get into the gaming community and why I love it so much. I was an awkward kid and if I had found cons sooner, I probably would’ve been way happier as a (pre)teenager. I definitely had my fun later- I talk about being a party girl and whatever, but who knows how I could have flourished?
Gaming teaches kids how to be creative, how to tell stories, how to think strategically. It was so great to be surrounded by so many young minds getting into tabletop stuff. I’m lucky to have family members that game and that let kids do their thing. These youngsters are so bright and have such great ideas when they just get a little bit of encouragement. We played some pretty simple games like Cash and Guns, which the boys were into. That game has a healthy dose of competition and a little bit of cooperation. It was perfect to warm up the day. Later, those boys got down with some Marrying Mr. Darcy, too. That game is pretty femme, but these little boys were not at all bothered by gender. We laughed and yelled about stealin’ men from each other. One particular moment was cool when this little 8th grader proclaimed, “This game is fun!” I think he was a little skeptical at first, but soon he was calling dibs on Mr. Denny. He totally failed, by the way. I’m pretty sure he ended up a poor spinster. *cough* That’s what ya get for tryin’ my man.
I always feel so comfortable when surrounded by gamers or even just gaming. This event was bittersweet, though, as Lakas’ presence was definitely missing. He would have loved every moment and would have been a happy, willing participant in almost every game or minievent happening that day. Even at his young age, Lakas was able to make everyone feel included. He would’ve been running and playing harder than anyone. I was the only adult to participate in the foam weapon/nerf gun war. There had to be like 15 kids running through that house. It would’ve been so great to bond with him then. Kids are the best LARPers. They all ran from my “bubbles of death”- which were just soap bubbles. He would’ve been right there with us, laughing and battling. All those happy kids were a good reminder of his energy, though.
I don’t always use the drinking rules I set up because some of the best game sessions happen with youngsters. They have the weirdest ideas, but if you listen to them, they’re usually super brilliant or hilarious. Some of the best strategy tips I’ve received have been from 5th graders. Don’t hate the player or the game, mang.
I think my reign over Gravwell has ended. I lost twice this weekend and that brings me to 6-3. Oh, the sadness. I like to think I just added a select few to my winners circle. Yeah, let’s go with that. I mean the one-on-one game doesn’t count, right?
Also a burrito bar that I forgot to take a picture of, but didn’t forget to eat. The mountain dew was a total necessity, too. I didn’t have any of that… but it was there. I saw it.
I most definitely won the Game of Thrones Board Game. That lasted for a million years. Two dads kept battling each other and one was super pissed because I somehow got the Raven, the Valyrian Steel Sword and the Iron Throne all at once. He was losing for awhile, but came back. I still won, though… because games that require a lot of
intelligence are usually my forte. You know, with my brilliance and all.
Smack talk is probably my favorite part of gaming. I just can’t help it! I’m so competitive… and witty… and smart. It just happens!
I mean, you can smack talk and still cherish the sense of community, right?
On the real, though, this past weekend was so amazing. Participating in that fundraiser, being with the coolest kids ever (shout out to B and even Ramen Noodles), winning, losing, and just gaming. If you can run your own gaming marathon, you should- ESPECIALLY for an awesome cause like Extra Life. It’s super easy to put your own team together. Do it! Immerse in the game! Teach your nephews and nieces and kids and little sibs to game. Be cool, too! Let those little guys grow and learn. Your own gaming experience will be so much better.