I think I became aware of Extra Life two years ago. At the time, I was happy enough watching people play video games on the Internet, and watching people go from being overly enthusiastic to fighting off sleep was an entertaining bonus. The idea of running our own Extra Life stream wasn’t really floated around until after the 2014 Extra Life, and as is the case with most events that are a year away, a Trello board was made for planning.
There were more than a handful of ideas that never made it into our stream. For example, we were planning to play a bunch of board games on the stream, as it’s allowed by both Twitch and Extra Life. We played some Cards Against Humanity and a little Who Want’s to be a Millionaire? on our test stream back in April, but there was just too much downtime with people going for food and messing around with cameras for it to really be worth it.
Speaking of which, the test stream was meant to be a way of identifying the issues we’d run into on the day of the actual attempt. The only thing we didn’t do was stream for the full 24 hours, instead stopping after roughly 12 or so when we were satisfied that everything was working. It proved to be pretty useful, as it helped us can the board game idea, realise that we should get two games going at once, and to make sure the microphone wasn’t placed on the same table as a keyboard, all things that are pretty obvious in hindsight but things we were glad to avoid on the big day.
However, not streaming for 24 hours was a mistake, even if we were to leave it running overnight. During our Extra Life attempt, we ran into Internet throttling issues, causing our upload speed to be so bad that Twitch was buffering every 5 seconds for the few viewers we had. Not only did this make games like The Jackbox Party Pack completely impossible to play with the audience, but it meant that we also lost some footage from the archive. Ultimately there was nothing we could really do about this, but next time we’ll at least be able to pre-empt it happening again and place games like Jackbox into the schedule at safe times.
While our stream was a little rough around the edges, we were for the most part running a pretty slick operation. There are plenty of things we’d like to change if we do this again next year, but all in all I think we came away both extremely tired and happy that it all came together in the end.
On that note, I’d like to give a big thank you to everyone who supported us over the attempt, especially those of you who could spare some change for a good cause. A big part of why we participated in Extra Life was just being able to hang out with each other and play some fun video games, but knowing that a pretty reasonable amount of money went to help sick children because we suffered for a few hours makes me a very happy person.
If you missed it, you can find all the archived footage linked off the video below. The footage is all unlisted at the moment as I’d rather not flood YouTube with this nonsense, so consider saving the video below if you’re a crazy person and actually want to go through all of this footage.
So, how likely is a 2016 Extra Life stream? I’m confident it’ll happen one way or another, but perhaps we’ll consider toning it down a little. It was good fun pulling seven people into a house to play video games for charity, but it proved tricky to keep people occupied. It’s probably part of the reason why four of us fell asleep before the full 25 hours was up (we streamed for an extra hour as we hit our $250 ‘bonus hour’ goal) so splitting us all up and keeping everyone in-game for 90% of the time might help us all conquer it next year.
The last few hours of the stream were absolute hell, but I can’t help but feel excited about doing this all again in 2016. Stay tuned!