AgithaHime Diaries: Four Weeks of Extra Life
On October 26th, people around the world took part in a play for 24 hours event to raise money for children’s hospitals. You were allowed to play any games you want including Farmville so the event was open to anybody who wanted to donate, not just gamers. You could create a personal page on Extra Life’s website and get your friends to help you raise money, or if like me, you are uncomfortable asking people to donate, you can just donate to Extra Life itself.
Luckily Extra Life 2014 is still taking donations until the end of the year, because it took me the last four weeks to complete my 24 hours. I played every free moment I had and finally made it, even if the hype is now four weeks old. The important thing is that hospitalized children are going to receive my money. Before I started, I said I was going to donate $5 for every game I play, because I often like to put down a game if it’s too troublesome and come back to it later. However in my 24-hours I only ended up playing four games.
1 Hour: Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze (Wii U)A group of Arctic animals dressed in Viking gear freezes over the tropical Donkey Kong Island and blows away the Kong family with their harsh winds. The Kong family must make their way through a series of islands to get back to their home. The game is probably meant to be multiplayer, but in single player you can carry one of the Kongs on Donkey Kong’s back, and each of them have their own special ability to aid him.
I wanted to play a Donkey Kong game for a while now because it looked like a more interesting platformer than Mario and Kirby, and this one definitely is just based on the amount of effort that went into the design of each island (presented as a World). But it is about 10x harder, and Mario/Kirby is already hard enough. Each level is designed with intricate detail and the smallest attention deficiency can lead to Donkey Kong’s literal downfall. I had already progressed through World-1 and most of World-2, so for Extra Life 2014 I was ready to tackle end of World-2. I had 50+ lives collected but the last level and the boss level took them all, and I didn’t even defeat the boss. Well there’s always next time …
2.5 Hours: Bastion (PC, Xbox Arcade, Android, iPhone/iPad)Out of all the indie I played this year, Bastion is my favorite. It has a beautiful art style (hand-painted by just one person) and has a unique progression style. You play as a kid called The Kid, one of the only survivors of a catastrophic event that destroyed his world, and now must rebuild a sanctuary called The Bastion. The Kid must go through of the old world to scour for the items he needs, and of course it’s easier said than done when Scumbags are everywhere. There’s an enemy actually called a Scumbag. I love the ironic originality of this game.
What’s also interesting about the gameplay is that when The Kid moves, his path is pieced together like a puzzle (so it is easy to fall off the edge into oblivion). All of The Kid’s actions are narrated by a creepy voice, which one time made fun of me for running out of health tonics.
20 Hours: The Wind Waker HD (Wii U)The bulk of my Extra Life 2014 was the remake of Wind Waker, because I wanted to get at least one game off my backlog. I think I’ve played the original too many times to let any of the enemies intimidate me, but I didn’t really feel Nintendo purposely made the game easier. They just fixed up things fans used to complain about, such as taking too long to sail across the ocean, or paying over 3000 rupees for Peter Pan to decipher charts.
The most important change in this HD remake is the addition of social media. You can take selfies in-game and send them as SOS bottles across the ocean, which will post them to Miiverse and send them out to other players to find. You can ask the entire community for help with these bottles, and you can also send photos of different characters/enemies/bosses to collect figurines for Link’s gallery. I think most of my time in the game was spent collecting those figures. It’s a shame I only started collecting them during these 20 hours, when I was more than halfway through the game and had missed some important figures.
.5 Hour: Mario Kart 8 (Wii U)When I heard that Link was going to join Mario Kart in a DLC, I nearly flipped. At first I wanted to restrain myself from spending money on stuff like this, but gave in because the DLC is so worth the money. You not only get Link as a playable character, you get a motorcycle based on his horse Epona, as well as a race course set in Hyrule with the Mario coins replaced by rupees and Piranha Plants replaced by Deku Babas. Oh yeah and you also get five other characters, seven other vehicles, and seven other race courses.
I don’t feel $20 is a worthy amount to donate to Extra Life, so I haven’t actually donated yet. I’m considering to donate some of my unplayed games instead because they are worth more than that, but since the last charity I donated to didn’t seem to appreciate it, I need to find a new one. Does anyone know a good place to donate? I generally support hospitals for a personal reason but I am also willing to support underpriviledged children.