Can you believe it’s been a year already? The Mario Marathon returns at 11 AM Eastern, once again raising money for Child’s Play Charity. The previous six Mario Marathons (plus a Zelda Marathon) have raised over $400,000 from donors around the globe. This weekend is your chance to support a worthy cause. You can donate through the widget on your right or directly at www.mariomarathon.com. I hope to see you around. I’ll be on the stream from 6 PM Sunday until 6 AM Monday.
It’s hard to believe that a year has passed already, but it’s almost time for Mario Marathon 5. Once again, the Mario Marathon team will be raising money for Child’s Play Charity. In addition to the joys (and possible tax deductions, consult your tax professional) of helping kids, there are lots of great contest prizes. If you donate through the widget found on several funnelfiasco.com pages (for example, on the right-hand side of this page), I’ll match your donation dollar-for-dollar (up to $200 total). Mario Marathon 5 begins at 11 AM EDT on June 22 at www.mariomarathon.com.
That’s not the only cool thing going on, though. Some other friends have just released the beta of a new website: Think Lafayette. Think Lafayette is a combination social media, community calendar, and local discussion site. Part of the launch included a profile of me, since I guess I pass for a local celebrity these days. If you’re a local, sign up and help make this a great resource.
Even though Brian announced last year that Mario Marathon 3 would be the close of the trilogy, a fourth chapter is about to be written. Mario Marathon 4 begins on June 24 at 11 AM EDT (1500 UTC) and it sounds like this one may be the best yet. Certainly the funds being raised for Child’s Play Charity may be the highest in Mario Marathon history, as the total is already above $6300 more than a week before the start of the event. There are more contests this year, and a great collection of fun surprises.
If “Mario Marathon” is new to you, then you’re in for a treat. The basic premise is that a group of people play video games while people watch on the Internet. It sounds terribly boring, but it’s actually one of the more addictive things I’ve been a part of. The money raised goes directly to a charity that provides games, books, toys, etc to children in hospitals around the world.
Since Baby Fiasco has recently joined us, I’m not sure how much I’ll be able to participate in this year’s event. And ever since Wil Wheaton and Felicia Day snubbed me by not following me on Twitter, I may have to reconsider my celebrity interviews. In the meantime, I’ve added a donation widget to the blog, as well as to the Funnel Fiasco main page and the Funnel Fiasco weather page. You can click the “donate” button to send your contribution directly to Child’s Play.
For more information on Mario Marathon 4, see www.mariomarathon.com.
Last night, as Mario Marathon 3 was drawing to a close, Brian announced that it is likely that the Mario Marathon series will remain a trilogy. After over 250 hours of gaming across the three marathons, raising approximately $113,000 for Child’s Play Charity, the stress has become too much. There can be no doubt that what Mario Marathon has accomplished is incredible, but with the increased strains on family life, it’s hard to keep something like this going.
For myself, I am terribly sad to think that this might be the end. It’s been a great deal of fun interacting with the fans and being a part of the great Mario Marathon mission. I’ve made many friends and had great opportunities (who else gets to talk to both Wil Wheaton and Felicia Day in the same weekend?), but I know how much work goes in behind the scenes. I’ve seen Brian spend his time working on code, publicity, prizes, decorations, etc. I’ve watched him spend his own money buying equipment to improve the quality of the stream for the viewers. Most importantly, I’ve seen the pain that he and Shanna feel when they send their two-year-old son to grandma’s for days. I could never ask anyone to make the kind of commitments that Brian and Shanna have made these past three years.
Still, it has been for a worthy cause, and I know everyone involved is proud of what has been done. All of the Mario Marathon team are very giving, not only of their money, but of themselves. I have no reason to believe that Mario Marathon is completely dead. I believe it will be re-born in a different form, likely smaller and less intense, but some part of it will live on. Certainly the awareness, and the community it fostered, will be the lasting legacy.
I had intended this post to be a recap of all the fun times I had during the past week. I got to work with some great people, and I have now done two celebrity interviews. I’ve experienced the joys of watching donations come in faster than we could keep up, and the frustration of power outages. This has been a great experience for me, and one that I won’t forget.
To all of you who donated and/or interacted with us, thank you. Despite the sacrifices of the team (and their families!), the real success of the Mario Marathon has come from the fans. It is the 2000+ donors from around the world who have made the true difference in the lives of so many children.
I’d also like to give a shout-out to the chat moderators, who did a tremendous job of keeping the IRC room family-friendly (even when 4Chan showed up). These guys deprived themselves of sleep and leisure, too, all in the name of helping. They asked no reward (although we’re cooking up something for them anyway), and put in many hours of labor. @Collin1000 put forth a lot of effort, too, keeping track of donations on a Google spreadsheet and crunching numbers for us.
It’s crazy to think that sitting in my friend’s living room and reading messages from strangers on the Internet has earned me any fans, or has contributed to the well-being of children across the world, but it’s apparently true. There is nothing that I’ve done in my life that I’m more proud of than the past two Mario Marathons, and to be a part of it has truly been an honor.
Dear Internet: thank you! I love you all.
The past year has flown by, and the time for that beloved summer tradition is here: Mario Marathon 3 begins at 11:00AM EDT (1500 UTC) today. In case you don’t know what Mario Marathon is, or if you have forgotten, allow me to explain. Three guys sit around playing video games for days on end. Thousands of people around the world watch, laugh at the players’ failures, and donate money to Child’s Play Charity. 100% of the donations go directly to Child’s Play, which uses it to purchase video game systems, toys, and books for seriously ill children. The players take no cut, and actually lose several hundred dollars in food, donations, and lost productivity, but since it’s for the children, it works out.
Last year’s event was a resounding success, raising nearly $30,000 over the course of about four days. This puts Mario Marathon in Child’s Play’s “Platinum Sponsors” list, alongside organizations like Mircrosoft, Amazon.com, and MTV. You might have heard of them. This year, over $5000 has been raised before the event even starts, and a much larger audience and donation tally are expected. As a result, the organizers have put a lot more effort into publicity, in-event contests and prizes, and organizing the support staff who help set Mario Marathon apart by interacting with the fans.
There are some great surprises in store that I’m not allowed to mention, but you’ll love it. Please take some time and watch. If you can, please donate, it would be greatly appreciated. If you can’t make a donation, that’s okay too. You can do your part by helping to spread the word to your friends. Thanks to all of the fans for your continued support!
So I finally got into a schedule that seemed to work. I could have new blog posts on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Yet here it is, Thursday night and there have yet to be any updates. You can blame that on the topic of the last update. I ended up spending about 15 hours on Sunday and 6 hours on Monday hanging out with the Mario Marathon guys, bringing them food and interacting with the people watching.
I had to miss last year’s marathon because of my sister’s wedding, so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect this year. I took Friday off because I felt like it, so I spent a good portion of the day watching the online feed. And then a good portion of Saturday. I can’t explain it, it was just strangely addicting. By the time Sunday rolled around, I was ready to be helpful.
As it turns out, due to some well-timed publicity, Sunday was the busiest day of the marathon. As the designated “tweeter reader” (later re-named “twit face”), I was responsible for watching the Twitter feed and interacting with the people who posted. It was a really weird experience for me. I mean, here I am sitting in my buddy’s living room watching him play video games while I screw off on the Internet, and people are just going nuts every time I mention their name. Weird.
The marathon was successful beyond anyone’s wildest dreams though. Because they raised so much money, the guys who were actually playing the games had to 100% Super Mario Sunshine, a task that took them over a day on its own. Finally, after over 96 hours of gaming, the marathon came to a close. Along the way, thousands of people worldwide tuned in, and over 1,000 people contributed to raise over $29,000 for Child’s Play Charity.
There were some great moments along the way, too. One was when someone asked if any of us were romantically involved. Brian went down the row of guys sitting and said “Married. Married. Married. Married. And married. So no, there’s no romance.” Of course, we all started laughing. Our wives who were standing in the next room didn’t find it quite so funny.
In a more touching moment, John (a.k.a. “couch guy”) shared the very first ultrasound picture of his baby with the world. The Internet was very happy for John and Cheryl, as were all of us there.
My friend Sundeep stopped by with some members of his band CircAfrique. They played some music for the viewers and Sundeep enterained everyone with his own unique brand of humor. (He was so popular that the Internets are clamoring for him to do his own show. And oh yeah, they want me on it too.)
And of course, there was the dancing. After the $27,000 mark was reached, John, Brian, and I did a very special dance for the viewers. Very early Tuesday morning, the donation count reached $28,000 and John did an unforgettable solo dance.
So I’d just like to thank everyone who made this possible — specially those people who watched and donated. You guys did a terrific thing, and you should be very proud of yourselves.
For the second year in a row, three friends here in Lafayette are sitting down to play Mario games for 55 hours. What sets them apart from the rest of gamers is the fact that they’re collecting donations for this, which get passed on 100% to the Child’s Play charity. As Brian (a.k.a. “Shirt Guy”) explained it, plenty of charities pay for equipment and medicines for children, but what often gets overlooked is the fact that the kids in hospitals still are kids. Child’s Play provides games for hospitalized children, which helps make the hospital experience more bearable.
After just a few hours, they’ve already raised over $2000 in donations. If you’ve got some time, stop by www.mariomarathon.com to watch them play and donate a few dollars.