Extra Life 2013 Liveblog

It’s gametime! For the next 25 hours I’ll be gaming to raise money for Seattle Children’s Hospital.

We’ve already raised $2,788 but I’m shooting for $7,500 this year.

We’ve already raised $5,444.99! That’s after the stream being down for over 15 hours because a windstorm knocked out my power and internet. I’m thrilled, but let’s keep going!

We raised $6,100 for Seattle Children’s Hospital in 25 hours. THANK YOU.

If you want to help but you missed out, the donation link below is still live and we still have rewards available.

If you can, please DONATE.

There’s a livestream and chat running on twitch.tv/thevowel if you’d like to join the fun! It should be really entertaining when the sleep deprivation hits.

Schedule of what’s been sponsored so far:

  • 8AM-8:30  Batman: Arkham Origins
  • 8:30-9AM  Bioshock
  • 9AM-9:30  OneChanbara: Bikini Samurai Squad
  • 9:30-10AM  Trials: Evolution
  • 10AM-10:30 NCAA Football 14 (USC vs. Oregon)
  • 10:30-11AM Kameo
  • 11AM-11:30 Borderlands 2

POWER/INTERNET OUTAGE HAPPENED HERE

  • 7AM-8AM (the last hour!)  Burger King: Sneak King

DONATE HERE! (leave your email & let me know what reward you’d like when you do!)

Please note that all rewards are “while supplies last”. There are some items I have one or a small number of, and some that I have 50 of. If you want something specific, don’t wait!

Donate $10-$24.99

Your choice of:

  • Xbox 360 Halo 4 Theme (choose Outcast or Longbow)
  • Xbox 360 Black Ops 2 Pack (Pack-a-Punch, Rogue, Glam, Coyote, Breach, or Aqua)
  • Xbox 360 World of Tanks Beta Code

Donate $25-$49.99:

Your choice of Xbox 360 Arcade Games:

  • Charlie Murder
  • CastleStorm
  • State of Decay
  • BattleBlock Theater
  • Skulls of the Shogun
  • Magic 2014

or

  • Age of Empires II HD (Steam key)
  • Age of Empires III: Complete Collection (Steam key)

Donate $50-$99.99:

  • Halo 4 (digital)
  • Borderlands 2 GOTY (Steam key)
  • Gears of War: Judgment
  • Fuse
  • Armored Core: Verdict Day
  • Blur
  • Blood Drive
  • CoD: Modern Warfare 2
  • CoD: Black Ops 2
  • Goldeneye Reloaded 007
  • Skylanders Giants: The Official Orchestral Score (on CD)
  • CoD: Black Ops 2 Soundtrack (on CD)

Donate $100 or more – choose what game I’ll play for a half-hour AND be entered in the raffle!

For $100 you can pick an Xbox 360 game for me to play for 30 minutes. It has to be a game I have on hand, but I have most of the games released in the US so the odds are excellent. Watch me play your favorite game, or watch me suffer through the game you think I’ll hate!

Want me to play another 30 minutes of the same game? Double the previous donation for that specific game – $100 for the first 30 minutes, $200 for the next 30 minutes, etc. – and I’ll keep playing!

I’m working on making a couple of Xbox One titles available for this, but I don’t want to promise those until I have builds in my possession. Stay tuned!

I’ve got builds of Killer Instinct, Crimson Dragon, and Powerstar Golf for Xbox One! If you’d like to see those on the stream, sponsor away!

Schedule of what’s been sponsored so far:

  • 8AM-8:30  Batman: Arkham Origins
  • 8:30-9AM  Bioshock
  • 9AM-9:30  OneChanbara: Bikini Samurai Squad
  • 9:30-10AM  Trials: Evolution
  • 10AM-10:30 NCAA Football 14 (USC vs. Oregon)
  • 10:30-11AM Kameo
  • 7AM-8AM (the last hour!)  Burger King: Sneak King

Note: I’m not going to play Kinect games – I’m committed to playing for 25 hours, and if you have me playing Dance Central for hours on end I’ll collapse long before that.

Raffle items:

  • Xbox 360 250GB
  • Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 Care Package (includes a working drone!)
  • Call of Duty: Black Ops Prestige Edition (includes a working RC-XD!)
  • Halo 4 Limited Edition (autographed by 343)
  • Halo 4 UNSC Cryotube (autographed by 343)
  • Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn Blu-ray (autographed by 343)
  • Mega Bloks Halo UNSC Rhino (822 pieces)
  • Mega Bloks Halo UNSC Cobra (460 pieces)
  • Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock USB Key (rare, only given out at PR events)
  • Halo: Silentium hardback
  • Mega Bloks Halo Forerunner Terminal
  • Mega Bloks Halo UNSC Arctic Cyclops
  • Monopoly Empire board game

JUST ADDED TO THE RAFFLE:

  • 2 signed copies of The Art of Borderlands 2
  • 2 copies of the Borderlands 2 Game of the Year Edition Strategy Guide
  • 2 signed Borderlands 2 Swag Filled Diamond Plate Loot Chests

After the marathon is over and I’ve caught a few hours of sleep I’ll randomly draw for each raffle item. If you want to increase your odds in the raffle, feel free to donate multiples of $100 :P .

DONATE HERE!

On behalf of the kids – THANK YOU!

Extra Life 2013: Countdown

Starting at 8AM Pacific this Saturday (November 2nd) I’ll be kicking off a 25-hour gaming marathon to raise money for Seattle Children’s Hospital. Yes, this year Extra Life is 25 hours long because of Daylight Savings Time. Someone must’ve thought I wasn’t loopy enough after 24 hours last year…

I’ll be streaming on twitch.tv so that you can watch – and join the chat and mock my skills or lack thereof. Last year we raised $5,333 but I’m hoping we can make it to $7,500 this year!

Thanks to Xbox, 343, PlayXBLA, Activision & Gearbox I have some amazing rewards to say “thank you” for donating!

DONATE HERE! (leave your email & let me know what reward you’d like when you do!)

Please note that all rewards are “while supplies last”. There are some items I have one or a small number of, and some that I have 50 of. If you want something specific, don’t wait!

Donate $10-$24.99

Your choice of:

  • Xbox 360 Halo 4 Theme (choose Outcast or Longbow)
  • Xbox 360 Black Ops 2 Pack (Pack-a-Punch, Rogue, Glam, Coyote, Breach, or Aqua)
  • Xbox 360 World of Tanks Beta Code

Donate $25-$49.99:

Your choice of Xbox 360 Arcade Games:

  • Charlie Murder
  • CastleStorm
  • State of Decay
  • BattleBlock Theater
  • Skulls of the Shogun
  • Magic 2014

or

  • Age of Empires II HD (Steam key)
  • Age of Empires III: Complete Collection (Steam key)

Donate $50-$99.99:

  • Halo 4 (digital)
  • Borderlands 2 GOTY (Steam key)
  • Gears of War: Judgment
  • Fuse
  • Armored Core: Verdict Day
  • Blur
  • Blood Drive
  • CoD: Modern Warfare 2
  • CoD: Black Ops 2
  • Goldeneye Reloaded 007
  • Skylanders Giants: The Official Orchestral Score (on CD)
  • CoD: Black Ops 2 Soundtrack (on CD)

Donate $100 or more – choose what game I’ll play for a half-hour AND be entered in the raffle!

For $100 you can pick an Xbox 360 game for me to play for 30 minutes. It has to be a game I have on hand, but I have most of the games released in the US so the odds are excellent. Watch me play your favorite game, or watch me suffer through the game you think I’ll hate!

Want me to play another 30 minutes of the same game? Double the previous donation for that specific game – $100 for the first 30 minutes, $200 for the next 30 minutes, etc. – and I’ll keep playing!

I’m working on making a couple of Xbox One titles available for this, but I don’t want to promise those until I have builds in my possession. Stay tuned!

I’ve got builds of Killer Instinct, Crimson Dragon, and Powerstar Golf for Xbox One! If you’d like to see those on the stream, sponsor away!

Schedule of what’s been sponsored so far:

  • 8AM-8:30  Batman: Arkham Origins
  • 8:30-9AM  Bioshock
  • 9AM-9:30  OneChanbara: Bikini Samurai Squad
  • 9:30-10AM  Trials: Evolution
  • 10AM-10:30 NCAA Football 14 (USC vs. Oregon)
  • 10:30-11AM Kameo
  • 7AM-8AM (the last hour!)  Burger King: Sneak King

Note: I’m not going to play Kinect games – I’m committed to playing for 25 hours, and if you have me playing Dance Central for hours on end I’ll collapse long before that.

Raffle items:

  • Xbox 360 250GB
  • Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 Care Package (includes a working drone!)
  • Call of Duty: Black Ops Prestige Edition (includes a working RC-XD!)
  • Halo 4 Limited Edition (autographed by 343)
  • Halo 4 UNSC Cryotube (autographed by 343)
  • Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn Blu-ray (autographed by 343)
  • Mega Bloks Halo UNSC Rhino (822 pieces)
  • Mega Bloks Halo UNSC Cobra (460 pieces)
  • Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock USB Key (rare, only given out at PR events)
  • Halo: Silentium hardback
  • Mega Bloks Halo Forerunner Terminal
  • Mega Bloks Halo UNSC Arctic Cyclops
  • Monopoly Empire board game

JUST ADDED TO THE RAFFLE:

  • 2 signed copies of The Art of Borderlands 2
  • 2 copies of the Borderlands 2 Game of the Year Edition Strategy Guide
  • 2 signed Borderlands 2 Swag Filled Diamond Plate Loot Chests

After the marathon is over and I’ve caught a few hours of sleep I’ll randomly draw for each raffle item. If you want to increase your odds in the raffle, feel free to donate multiples of $100 :P.

DONATE HERE!

On behalf of the kids – THANK YOU!

Planning for Extra Life 2013

Thanks to your generous donations, last year we raised $5,333 for Seattle Children’s Hospital during Extra Life 2012.

Extra Life 2013 takes place on November 2nd. I’m hoping that we can beat last year’s total, and I’m tossing around several ideas trying to figure out what would be most entertaining. Some of the ideas I’m considering:

  • Revisiting last year’s “play to make e play the game you want to see”
  • A Crackdown marathon: “Can e find all 500 Agility Orbs in 24 hours?”
  • A Spelunky marathon: “Can e finally beat this game, and how many times will he die and curse endlessly?”
  • An Infocom marathon
  • Revisiting classic console games of the 80s & 90s

Regardless of what I wind up going with, I’m hoping to have lots of cool items for giveaways during the event.

What would you like to see? What would entice you to donate? Let me know in the comments!

New camera GET!

A couple of days ago I bought myself a new camera for my birthday.

For the last couple of years my primary camera has been a Canon S100. It was the state of the art for pocket cameras when I picked it up a couple of years ago, but it felt like it was time to upgrade. I spent a few days doing research and bouncing back and forth between a DSLR and a mirrorless camera.

At the end of the day I made the same decision I usually do – that portability is more important to me than super high-end functionality. I bought a Nikon D70 DSLR back in 2004 and took it on one trip to Italy. It’s mostly sat idle ever since. I got a lot of use out of the S100 because I could carry it in a jeans pocket.

Most of my photos are of food or my dog Cthulhu. That means that I need a camera that can take great low-light shots up close, and action shots at a distance.

I eventually decided on the Sony DSC-RX100M II. The M2 is brand-new, but the previous model got great reviews across the board. It’s got the largest sensor in the class, a great lens, and can shoot at 10FPS for getting those critical puppy action shots.

The truth is that I have no idea how to get the most out of it right now, but I’m planning on learning. Today I took it to the dog park, figured out how to enable Speed Priority mode and set it to 1/320. Here are the results:

Cthulhu on the move 3

Flickr Set

Last Night In Tarsis

Last night we stopped off at an inn in Tarsis.

For a reason that I’ll never understand, we welcomed a newcomer into the party. He’s a pompous High Elf with an over-inflated sense of his own worth. He’s not even smart enough to avoid getting drunk in the common room. I could probably get 20 steel pieces for him on the docks, tops. The jackass even has a retainer who clearly is leagues smarter than he is.

We went upstairs to one of our rooms to talk and the idiot Ianandra Fellhallow came with us. He began getting mouthy so I pulled a dagger. Balancing a dagger on its point is usually an excellent way to get someone to moderate their behavior. He’s clearly not very bright. The dumbass decided to demonstrate his ability to cast the most common of spells, and cast Gust of Wind in the room.

Not expecting him to be that stupid, I was caught off guard and I wound up on my ass. I caught my dagger on the way down, reversed it, and flicked it directly at him.

I caught the idiot in the center of the forehead with the pommel. He’s got a wicked knot on his head, he’s four hit points lighter, and I don’t think he’ll trifle with me again.

– Trevic the (chaotic neutral) Rogue (assassin)

Benchmarking Bioshock Infinite on a Surface Pro

Bioshock Infinite is an amazing game. You should play it.

I’m playing it on Xbox 360, but I also have it for PC – where it includes the Bioshock Infinite Benchmarking Utility. I thought I’d see what the Surface Pro can do.

Before we get to the numbers I’m going to stop here and remind everyone about something. The Surface Pro isn’t a high-end gaming PC. It’s a fantastic little device, but it’s an Intel i5 using an integrated HD4000 GPU. If you’re expecting it to push 60FPS on the highest-end games you’re not paying attention.

With that said, a few relevant notes:

  • Power plan was set to Balanced. I tried a couple of runs at High Performance and the performance difference wasn’t very significant
  • Video Driver: Intel 9.17.10.2867, dated 12/5/12
  • The game defaults to fullscreen, 1920×1080, graphics set to Very Low
  • FPS numbers are presented as Average / Min / Max.
  • I didn’t do multiple runs and average them because this is just to satisfy my curiosity

Very Low, 1920×1080:  15.93 / 8.02 / 43.01

Low, 1920×1080:  11.28 / 5.81 / 38.56

Medium, 1920×1080:  8.92 / 3.15 / 32.58

High, 1920×1080:  7.57 / 2.3 / 36.5

Very High, 1920×1080:  4.92 / 2.86 / 38.65

I then did a couple of runs at 720p (again, I was curious):

Very Low, 1280×720:  27.74 / 10.47 / 48.98

Low, 1280×720:  21.54 / 5.34 / 38.08

Medium, 1280×720:  16.37 / 4.59 / 36.89

So, the Surface Pro isn’t the greatest device to play Bioshock Infinite on. I have both an Xbox 360 and a higher-end PC in the house for that :D.

Playing SimCity on a Surface Pro

YES, you can play the new SimCity on a Surface Pro. I did just that for a couple of hours last night. There’s even limited touch support. I was quite pleased with the experience.

There is one thing that you’ll need to know:

You’ll need to download a beta version of the Origin client from EA’s forums. If you’re running the currently released version of Origin (as I was) you’ll get a bogus error about “The game will not run in a virtual environment”. Thanks again to Scott Lowe at IGN for pointing this out.

There’s also one thing that you should know:

The game runs – in my opinion – just fine on the Surface Pro. Remember, though, that it’s a supremely portable two pound device and not a gaming PC that you can heat your house with. If you’re expecting it to run this game at 1920×1080 with all the graphical settings maxed out you’ll be disappointed. If that’s what you’re after then a computer with an Intel i5 CPU and Intel’s integrated HD4000 graphics might not be right for you.

I’ve fiddled with a bunch of options, and right now I’m running the game in a 1366×768 window. That lets me keep up with IM & Twitter while I’m playing without having to spend all my time working my ALT+TAB keys.

If you’ll excuse me, I’ve got some traffic problems to deal with…

Comic Wednesday

This Wednesday’s haul:

Marvels Iron Man 3 Prelude #1 (of 2)

AgentM says “Wanna know where War Machine was during @Avengers? Wanna more #MCU timeline info? Get the #IronMan 3 prelude comic. Also, it’s great!”. SOLD.

New Avengers Vol. 3 #1

It’s the FIRST ISSUE OF THE NEW AVENGERS.

All-New X-Men #5

The X-Men will always be my first true comic love. So far I’m really happy with where the series is going.

Iron Man Vol. 5 #5

This series is being written by Kieron Gillen, and it’s brilliant. If you’re not familiar with his writing, do yourself a favor and track it down.

 

What’d you pick up this week?