7 November 2015

A little while ago, I spoke to the lovely (and also crazy smart!) owner of The Archaeology of Tomb Raider, Kelly M. She's taking part in the Extra Life marathon this year, as part of Team Tomb Raider Community, raising money the Children's Miracle Network Hospitals. While she has already taken part in several gaming sessions over the past few weeks, she is also planning some more over the next few days, to raise even more money for charity.

As part of the Extra Life article I wrote, I contacted three members of Team Tomb Raider Community and asked if I could interview them about their plans for this year, motivations and challenges. The article is live now, but you can read Kelly's full interview below.

A huge thank you to Kelly for taking the time out to talk to us!

Tell us a little about yourself!

I'm Kelly M, the admin of The Archaeology of Tomb Raider. When I'm not busy working on the blog or updating its various social media channels, you can find me playing on my PS4 (when my husband isn't hogging it for himself), reading up on current affairs or archaeology, watching anime, fussing over my two cats, or daydreaming about my next trip abroad.

This year is going to mark your second charity livestream for Extra Life, have you learnt anything from preparing the event last year?

I think the main thing I learnt last year is to relax, be myself (I'm notoriously shy), and just go with the flow. It's fine to micro-manage every last detail, to set goals and stick to a schedule, but there's something to be said for spontaneity and random chatter. I planned to hold a Q&A session on a certain date and time but in the end, it turned out to be a lot more fun to just answer people's questions as they popped up on the screen.

This year's event will be equally casual and, I hope, equally entertaining. Why fix something if it ain't broke?

What motivates you to do it each year?

Raising money for childrens' hospitals is motivation in itself but the reason I take part in Extra Life specifically is because a) I'm unlikely to ever run a marathon or bungee-jump for charity and b) I want to help change the way the general public views the gaming community.

The media may try to convince the public that gamers are all closet psychopaths who are just one step away from committing mass murder but, in actual fact, the majority of gamers are amazing, friendly, and often talented people who channel their time and energy into raising awareness and funds for worthy causes, such as Extra Life or its UK equivalent, GameBlast. It's time to retire the tired old stereotypes for once and for all and I'm here to help!

What’s the biggest challenge with arranging the livestream?

My biggest challenge is using social media to announce my live streams or beg for donations. Facebook seems to be a particularly useless outlet for advertising live streams or sharing links to Extra Life fundraiser pages. Boosting these posts' meager reach without paying for the privilege is a challenge in itself and I'm constantly trying to find new ways to get around Facebook's unpredictable news feed algorithms.

Thank God for Twitter and Twitch email notifications...

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve experienced while running the livestreams?

I haven't really had anything weird happen during my live streams, aside from running into a few funny glitches on Tomb Raider 2013 (Link!) or having a guy repeatedly type "Boobs bae?" in the chatroom. We all had a hearty laugh at the "Boobs bae" guy before smashing him with the Ban Hammer. Good times, good times. ^_^

What tips would you give to someone taking part in the event for the first time?

Keep a pile of drinks and (ideally healthy) snacks handy if you're going for the full 24-hour marathon experience and make sure you take regular breaks to stretch your legs, take a nap, or nip to the loo. If you can get some friends or family involved to cheer you on and/or bring you food, even better.

Don't forget to interact with your viewers in the chatroom (if you have one) as people are more likely to stick around if they feel welcome and noticed. Do remind people that you're raising money for charity but try not to beat them over the head about it by reminding them too often or guilt-tripping them into donating money. No one likes a "chugger".

If you're new to streaming, make sure you have everything set up beforehand and run a few trial streams to test your audio, chat, and broadcast settings. Try to iron out any potential technical issues in advance to minimize the chance of something going wrong on the day.

Lastly, don't forget to download and install any game/system updates before the big day. You'd be amazed how often my live streams have been delayed because of an unexpected update. And, if you're a PS4 gamer, there *will* be updates. I can guarantee it.

Any teasers you can give about what you’re planning for this year’s event?

Well, last year I did a complete playthrough of Tomb Raider 2013 and played some Assassin's Creed: Black Flag so I won't be playing either of those this time around. Instead, expect to see some Uncharted, perhaps a little GTA Online, and some Far Cry 4. The latter should be pretty amusing as I've never played a Far Cry game and have practically no experience with first-person shooters. God help me when the honey badgers start coming after me...



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