For a long time, now, I’ve been wanting to do my own gaming marathon for charity. Watching various other groups (the Mario Marathon guys, LoadingReadyRun, ExtraLives, PowerGlove, Rupeethon) do their marathons has inspired me to do my own. It looks fun, yet I realize there is a lot of hard work that goes on behind the scenes.
Several problems have hindered my progress, including the fact that I have no friends nearby. Most of my friends are off at Uni (the fall semester began today, actually), or they are off at other cities living their lives. I stay in contact with them as best I can, though. Either way, I need other people to help out with this, as doing a gaming marathon solo is a horrible idea that should never be attempted.
Then there’s other things that need to be sorted, such as hardware and software necessary to broadcast the marathon. I have everything needed for that. I’ve been practicing using the software, with my Let’s Plays and occasional live streams, so I can handle that.
(Maybe I could talk with friends in the gaming club at my Uni, and work something out. I’m sure some of the guys there would be happy to help with something like this)
So let’s say I’ve got friends agreeing to help, and I’ve got the hardware/software side sorted. The next step is to decide on a theme; what games will I be playing during the marathon? I could go with a single franchise, as many other marathons have done (I’m now watching Rupeethon 2: Skyward Rope, and they’ve been playing Legend of Zelda games), or I could go with separate games that share a theme (ExtraLives is doing a Bootleg Bonanza marathon this coming weekend). What could I do? What franchises haven’t had marathons focused on them? This requires quite a bit of research. First, find a franchise to work with (or a unifying theme), then look through the list of games in that franchise.
That’s not saying I’m doing a Kirby marathon. There are plenty of other options, or I could do a minithon of something like…multiplayer Minecraft, or Terraria. The options are plenty.
After the theme is chosen, then I need to work on scheduling. What would be a good timeframe to do the marathon that would work with the schedules of everyone involved? I want the people playing and participating on-screen to have time set aside from their jobs, classes, whatever so the marathon can proceed with as few problems as possible. This is something else that requires a lot of chatting back and forth.
Then, not necessarily the last step, but must be decided at some point: which charity will my marathon benefit? Among the gaming marathons I’ve watched, the most common charity is Child’s Play. That’s an obvious choice, as that charity was founded by the Penny Arcade guys, and deals with buying games and toys for sick kids in hospitals. I don’t have to do a marathon benefiting them, it’s just an obvious choice. ExtraLives has taken to doing marathons that benefit Free the Children, lately. I’ll probably do my charity to benefit Child’s Play, but choosing another charity would certainly help my marathon to stand out from the crowd.
Okay, let’s assume I have all of the above sorted out. Friends to help run the marathon. Hardware and software to broadcast the marathon. A theme for the marathon. A charity that the marathon will benefit. What does that leave?
Then I need to find a physical location to hold the marathon. A place where friends and I, those running the marathon, can hang out without interruptions, for however long the marathon ends up going (let’s say three days, or 72 hours). A place where I can monitor the Internet connection, the hardware, the software, and keep as many distractions from the broadcast as possible, at all hours of the day.
After all of this, I’d need to figure out how I’d interact with people watching. Obviously, there’s the chat on UStream or Justin.tv, but would I have any incentive for people to continue watching? Sure, the interaction would be good, but pretty much every gaming marathon I’ve watched has offered prizes for viewers. What sort of prizes would I offer? Obviously, the prizes should match the marathon’s theme; it’d be a bit weird to offer, say, Legend of Zelda-themed items for a Minecraft minithon. Either way, I’d need to obtain said prizes and work out some way of offering them. Some I would award via twitter drawings, others by donation raffles.
That’s a fairly complete list of everything I need to figure out for my gaming marathon. If you have anything to add, or if you’d like to help out in some capacity, leave a comment, and we’ll get in touch.