Arguably more than any other entertainment medium, video games are powerful tools that transport players into incredible fictional worlds. Games have influenced so many lives with tales of wonder, triumph, and emotion.

Extra Life was born from the efforts of the Sarcastic Gamer community. They wanted to assist and motivate Victoria Enmon during her fight against acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Participants sent in gifts often including video games. Though she was lost to us in 2008, Victoria’s influence lives on.

While gamers can contribute to Extra Life in many ways, the core event is  a 24-hour day of gaming that takes place on a Saturday during the Fall (November 5th this year). Before the big day, participants set a goal and gather donations to reach it on the promise of playing on the day.

Many charities for various causes employ more physical engagements en masse to bring awareness, but Extra Life takes a different approach that actually includes those that may not be able to participate otherwise.

Rather than running or walking for set distances, gaming marathons are events where people spend extended lengths of time playing a single game or a collection of them. Marathons don’t have to be singular experiences, either. Lan-parties can go on for days. The connected nature of current consoles also makes the online community an easy means to create camaraderie around such an experience.

“All gamers, streamers or non-streamers are welcome in Extra Life. We are built on a cultural foundation of inclusivity,” said Jeromy Adams, the founder of Extra Life. “Extra Life began as, quite simply, a test of whether or not people would contribute to an effort outside the traditional run, walk, ride model.”

As the gaming market grows, so do the opportunities for charities like Extra Life.

“We see a lot of interesting partnership possibilities emerging from within the gaming industry and beyond to lifestyle/life group brands,” Jeromy says. “We love our supporting partners, who recognize that Extra Life is a grassroots initiative powered by the passion of gamers. The gamers are our most important partners of all.”

Nicole Tanner

Nicole Tanner

Nicole has been playing games her entire life. Now that she's a mom, she's passionate about promoting games as a healthy pastime to other parents around the globe. She has been an editor at IGN, where she launched and hosted the Girlfight podcast. In her spare time (which is not very much, honestly) she enjoys gaming, reading, and writing fiction. Most of the time she’s a mom to a crazy, intelligent, and exhausting little girl.