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New Marathon Update and More

Before I write out this little news blurb and detail the next Marathon, I just wanted to profusely apologize for the general lack of activity here. I have been pretty lax in making sure the Twitter and Facebook pages are semi-current, neglected visiting the forums and have been making promising regarding updates for ages without actually following through with them. Donor lists for the second Pokemon Marathon and Sonic Marathons aren't complete and I'm just now getting around to mailing out all of the T-shirts and other prizes I've owed people for months now. I guess college will do that to you...

Needless to say, things have been pretty backlogged around here but it doesn't mean we haven't been thinking about the next Marathon!

New Years is coming up and we're going to ring in 2011 by playing games from Nintendo's flagship series-- that's right, it'll be a Super Mario Brothers Marathon! Plus, depending on how much leeway you want to give us, the Marathon will coincide with the 30th anniversary of Mario's first outing in the original Donkey Kong and the 25th anniversary of the release of Super Mario Brothers outside of Japan.

"As Cool and Blue as Me"

At the end of Sonic Adventure 2, Sonic the Hedgehog has a line of dialogue to the effect of "Let's go home to the planet as cool and blue as me!" While it might seem pretty cheesy (then again, most of Sonic's lines are), it really does tie into what we've accomplished with our most recent Marathon. With all of your support, we've managed to raise enough money to build a well in Ethiopia, spreading access to clean water to those who never had it before!

The Rise and Fall of Sonic the Hedgehog Marathon had us playing some of the best and the worst Sonic games ever made for about 77 hours (or about 73 hours if you discount the time we spent working out technical issues). During this time, 32,714 of you tuned in for a total of 25,220 hours spent watching the Marathon (that's nearly 2 years and 317 days!)

Thanks to everyone who donated-- we nearly doubled our initial $3,500 goal, raising $6,608 for charity: water, allowing us to fund the construction of a well! The remainder of the money will contribute to providing water aid to those in dire need. I've noticed that this total has been increasing since the Marathon ended so thanks for your continued generosity!

Banner Contest Winner!

We posted up all the banners you guys made for our Rise and Fall of Sonic Marathon (starting this Friday at noon, Eastern Time!). Over 300 votes were cast and we've got ourselves some winners!

With 137 votes and 41% of the total, Jyn's banner (shown below) came in first in the contest, winning him 5 entries in the prize raffle!

Second place goes to Sean, whose banner received 100 votes (30% of the total). His banner is below and won him 3 entries in the raffle:

Hinkles' banner came in third place with 10% of the total and 35 votes-- just one vote ahead of the 4th place banner! This wins him a single entry in the raffle


Vote on a Banner!

Last week, we asked you to make us some banners for the upcoming Rise and Fall of Sonic Marathon (starting Friday, August 20th at noon, Eastern Time). Well, you job isn't done! We received eight banner entries and now we need you to decide which ones we'll use! We'll pick the top-three banners that receive the most votes to use in a random rotation on the website.

Here are the entries:

...by Zyph.
...by Nintendud.
...by Hinkles
...by Sean.
...by BootKnife.
...by Yannick.
...by Robert.
...by Jyn.

Sonic Banner Contest!

You probably noticed that absolutely hideous excuse for a banner at the top of the site-- that's the extent of my artistic ability and a prime example why I don't do the art for this site.

...Which is why we need your help! We need you to replace the Microsoft Paint placeholder banner with your own artwork! Here are the requirements.

Marathon Poll Results!

I put a poll up two weeks ago asking you guys which Marathon you'd like to see next. Your choices were a revisiting of last year's Sonic the Hedgehog Marathon or a Banjo-Kazooie Marathon. More than 400 votes were cast and, despite the polls remaining neck and neck for much of the polling period, there's a clear winner. And that is...

...revisiting the Sonic the Hedgehog Marathon! With 219 votes, it captured 52% of the total, making it your choice for our next Marathon! Thanks for voting!

This isn't to say we'll never do a Banjo Marathon-- it's certainly still a very real possibility. However, the idea may also be integrated into a larger "Rare-a-thon" featuring other games made by Rare to provide a little more variety. Who knows!

I'm working on planning the Marathon now, including finalizing the list of games and putting up a banner contest. This should all be up sometime this week-- keep checking back for updates!

A Year of ExtraLives.org!

I remember drawing out both the site layout for ExtraLives.org and the video capture setup on a piece of looseleaf notebook paper over a year ago. At that time, I had no idea what would ultimately happen to the idea. Would the site ever go online? If so, would anyone ever watch our Marathons? 

Half a dozen Marathons later, we have our answer. Throughout this past year we've raised $37,023.21, spent hundreds of hours playing video games and amassed hundreds of thousands of viewers. We've provided games, toys and books to children's hospitals through Child's Play, provided meals for hundreds, if not thousands, through the World Food Programme and worked to improve life for people in developing nations through UNICEF. Most recently, we've funded the construction of three schoolhouses through Free the Children in Ecuador, Kenya and most recently, Sierra Leone.

This most recent Marathon was a revisiting of our first Marathon in order to celebrate the first anniversary of ExtraLives.org. It lasted about 78 hours. More than 87,000 of you from over 110 countries tuned in to watch us play with the total time spent watching equal to 2069 days, 6 hours and 29 minutes-- that's more than five and a half years!

We raised $10,072.01 through this Marathon for Free the Children. The charity is able to build a schoolhouse with $8,500. Having surpassed that goal, we put up a poll and let you guys decide where you'd like to see the schoolhouse built and Sierra Leone won by a landslide. Not only will we build a schoolhouse there but we will also provide it with books, supplies and a school lunch program.

Thanks for Everything!

Since the start of ExtraLives.org, we've raised nearly $27,000 ($26,951.20, to be exact). The last two Marathons, the Legend of Zelda Marathon and the 64 Hours of the Nintendo 64 Marathon, made up the bulk of that (over $22,000). These Marathons both raised money for Free the Children and have funded the construction and furnishing of two schoolhouses in developing nations-- one in Ecuador and one in Kenya.

In addition to the fantastic framed photo Free the Children mailed me recently, they also made a video to thank us for our continued support. It features Free the Children co-founder, Marc Kielburger and the Canadian band Hedley. Check it out!


Next Marathon Information!

Well, it's been a little while since I've last updated, but I've got some new details for the upcoming Pokémon Marathon! 

First off, it's scheduled for Friday, July 2nd at 12:00 PM noon (Eastern Time). As is the case for most Marathons, the Marathon's length is not set in stone (though anywhere from 64 to 72 hours would be a pretty good guess).

In terms of games, we'll be playing through all of the games that were played during the last Pokémon Marathon with one exception. Instead of playing Pokémon Blue alongside Pokémon Red, I've got my hands on a copy of Pokémon Green (it came all the way from the UK).

For those of you who don't know, when the Pokémon games were originally released in Japan, the two versions were Green and Red. Green was then converted to the Blue version we all know and love when it was released in other countries. The version of Green I have is... well, very... unique. It is in English. Sort of. It's certainly an experience not worth missing out on so don't forget to tune in!

More Schoolhouse Details!

I have a little bit more information regarding the schoolhouse that all of you funded with the $10,051 raised for Free the Children. As mentioned, the schoolhouse will be built in Kenya and will also be stocked with school supplies and furniture, with any remaining money being put toward a school lunch program for the students.

Construction should take about 8 to 10 months. Free the Children will send me community reports including photos of and recent developments in the village the schoolhouse will be built in. These are sent out twice a year and I should be receiving one for the Ecuadorian schoolhouse in about 5 weeks.

As was the case for the Ecuadorian schoolhouse, I have a couple of photos of Free the Children's past school building efforts in Kenya. These pictures are not of our schoolhouse but can give you an idea of what it'll hopefully look like. They're very impressive and you guys should all be very proud of what you've helped to accomplish!