24-UP, or: Sleep vs. Gaming - FIGHT!

By Nate Patrin in Features
Monday, April 28, 2008 at 9:00 am

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God help me, this is a stupid and crazy idea, but it has to be done. You see, there was a time -- let's call this time "until this upcoming Wednesday" -- where I had a whole bunch of games I was planning on eventually getting around to playing. First-person shooters, racing games, sports games, puzzle games, adventure games, music games, beat-em-ups, strategy games, you name it. And then, gradually but surely, time did its thing and eventually the realization hit me: hey, wait, it's going to be April 29th soon. And while some people may celebrate this day for different reasons -- for instance, you are Master P and it is your birthday -- to me, it signals Hour Zero: put everything else away for a long time, because Grand Theft Auto IV is coming out.

But you know what? I'm not going to let the rest of my game collection go quietly out into the night. Before I take what looks to be an extensive trip to Liberty City, I've got other things to get out of the way. And I have 24 hours to do it.

In other words, I have gotten the ridiculous idea into my head that in order to bid a temporary farewell to every game I've wanted to play over the next few weeks that has the unfortunate tendency to not be GTAIV, I am going to play 24 games in 24 hours, one every hour. It will be an all-nighter marathon of games spanning multiple console generations from the original NES all the way through the current generation (with the unfortunate exceptions of the Sega Master System, Saturn, PSP and Dreamcast, the first three of which I don't own and the latter of which I have no room to hook up). "Big deal," you say. "I play all-night gaming sessions all the time. I am the Cal Ripken Jr. of level-grinding in Warcraft." My first retort to that: What the hell? You are the only person on Earth who uses baseball analogies to describe his MMO habit. My second retort is that it's not so much the fact that I'm going to be staying up an abnormal number of consecutive hours -- 34, counting the fact that I plan on starting this marathon on an evening after I get home from a day at work -- but the fact that I am going to attempt to play a wide variety of games from different genres and eras, many of which tax different areas of what will eventually be an extremely addled brain. Will I still be able to pull off super combos in Street Fighter Alpha 3 at four in the morning? How will I react to the high-speed wireframe psychedelia of Rez when I've hit the 20-hour mark? Will playing Rock Band while under the effects of sleep deprivation give me a better idea of what it's like to be a drug-addled musician who can no longer distinguish between all the arenas he's played in a 30-city tour? Finding out will be an adventure! Hooray!

This all starts Tuesday at 7PM Central time. It will be liveblogged in three different parts, each covering an eight-hour span, and each game will be introduced with a short, pre-written blurb of my personal thoughts on said game before I get to the actual as-they-happen reactions to the game that my REM-deprived self comes up with. This whole pre-written intro thing is in place because if I were to attempt to introduce each game with whatever personal thoughts I may have at the time I actually play it, eventually I will be reduced to writing things like "GUNSTARHGHT HEORES IS HAS COLORS AND SOUNFDZZZZ". Wish me luck, and if I don't make it, Ward Rubrecht can have my consoles. (But not before a copy of my Forza 2 career is transferred onto a memory card and buried with me.)

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