Locals participate in marathon gaming to benefit children’s hospital

Faith Lifer
Staff Writer

Members of a local YouTube channel live-streamed themselves playing video games for 24 hours Saturday to raise money and awareness for an international cause.

Chortle Games members Jake Jones and Stephen Collier began playing video games at 12 a.m. Saturday morning, lasting until 12 a.m. Sunday morning, in an effort to raise money for Extra Life’s Game Day.

“The premise is, people can live stream and play games as a platform for people to donate to children’s hospitals,” Jones said.

Extra Life is an international platform that hosts fundraising events which unite thousands of gamers to play games in support of Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. Since Extra Life’s inception in 2008, the gamers who participate have together raised over $40 million for sick or injured children throughout local hospitals in U.S. and Canada.

Jones said this year was Chortle Games’ first year participating in game Day. Jones and Collier approached Game Day with the goal of raising $500 for Blair E. Batson Children’s Hospital in Jackson, Mississippi.

“So we’re participating, we have a page and our goal is $500,” Jones said. “I feel like it’s a really tame goal, but I didn’t want to set a goal for $1,000 and only $200 to come in ...Now I’d love to blow that out of the water and do $1,000 or more.”

Jones and Collier created a number of donation awards for their live stream to encourage people to donate.

“We’re also going to do some fun things with donation rewards,” Jones said. “One of our rewards is a pie to the face.”

For $20, someone could request Collier to pie Jones in the face during the live stream. Or for $5, someone could request Jones to sing a song.

“So it’s kind of encouraging people to donate to affect what’s happening on the live stream,” Jones said.

Throughout their live stream, Jones and Collier also repeatedly reminded viewers of the cause, encouraging people to donate.

“Really the streaming and the gaming part of it is to promote and draw awareness to the donations happening,” Jones added.

Chortle Games was started in Starkville by Jake Jones and Brodie Mcalilly.

“We started Chortle Games on Aug. 29, 2016,” Jones said. “And we just celebrated our two-year anniversary this past August.”

Jones said he and Mcalilly started Chortle Games as a way to spend time together and entertain others.

“When we started Chortle Games, it was kind of a hobby. It was kind of an excuse for me and Brodie (Mcalilly) to hang out more,” Jones said. “As it’s grown, it’s become an opportunity for me and Stephen (Collier) to hang out more to kind of reconnect with some old friends who I used to play games with, but also to make funny content and entertain people."

Yet, Jones now has a larger vision for what gaming can do.

“With (Extra Life), being a part of this, this takes (gaming) to a whole new level where we’re effecting change in children’s lives,” Jones said. “They’ve been dealt a bad hand and were able to help somehow.”

Although game Day ended at 12 a.m., anyone can still donate to Blair E. Batson Children’s Hospital to support the cause anytime at chortlegamesextralife.com. Extra Life promises 100 percent of donations directly fund critical treatments, health services, pediatric medical equipment and charitable care of your local hospital.

“In general, we wanted to use this thing that we kinda just looked at as a hobby or a fun thing to do and do something good with it and effect change,” Jones said. “And like I said, our goal is so modest. It may not really do anything, but they always say, any little bit helps and so that’s what we’re hoping to do.”

Chortle Games was able to raise $501 for Blair E. Batson Hospital and Game Day as a whole raised over $80,000 for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.