Just having a feed up and running, however, doesn't necessarily mean that anyone is going to tune in - viewer interaction is a top priority as well. "The first couple of hours we put the 'room cam' inside of a pumpkin and placed it outside so our viewers could see the trick-or-treaters as they came up. We were also all in costume for added fun. After the trick-or-treaters dwindled away, we took the webcam back inside and used it to give a view of the main room."
The last, and perhaps most important, step in preparing this event is finding a sponsor for the marathon. The Speed Gamers have worked with St. Jude's and the Giggles Therapy Autism Treatment Center in the past, but for the Halloween marathon they decided to work with the Lupus Foundation of America, for a reason very dear to them. "My grandmother has Lupus," LaRiviere said, "and I've really wanted to do a marathon in dedication to her."
And so, at 7:00 p.m. on Halloween night, the feeds went live and the two-day marathon was underway. By the time it was over the group had bested all six of their selected titles with time to spare and managed to raise $1,060. They held contests for the viewers, with rewards ranging from a Big Daddy figurine to a Dead Space art book. Other, more impromptu festivities included a YouTube all-request sing-a-long and a dramatic candle-lit reading of user-submitted "In the Year 2000" Conan O'Brien jokes.
As of this writing, The Speed Gamers have eight successful gaming marathons under their belt, raised over $15,000 total for various charities and have established a reputation as one of the most consistent marathon groups in terms of quality and success. They've also grown and expanded their site to include a podcast, video content and even a Twitter feed in addition to their ever lively forum.
If you're looking to catch up with The Speed Gamers, you can do so on the web or tune in on March 13 at 6 p.m. CST for their upcoming Zelda marathon for Ally's House in honor of the team's one-year anniversary. And if you're planning on dropping off the face of the Earth around then, you can still catch up with them this summer during which they plan to carry out "five different marathons." For their sake, let's hope none of them involves Desert Bus.
Maxwell McGee is a college student by day and a freelancer by night with dreams of making it big in the enthusiast press. Feel free to drop him a line at pigeonflu[at]gmail[dot]com.