Today is the first day after Headshots from the Heart, and in some ways, the first day of the rest of my life. As I write this, despite the choking heat in my room and the weekend’s sleepless night, I’m filled with a strange energy. We did it. Months of planning culminated into one mad weekend, and then it was over. With a total of 3508 headshots (over 1200 of which were mine) over 24 hours of continuous play, we raised more than two thousand dollars for Child’s Play. We couldn’t have done it without our volunteers, the businesses, local and online who supported us, Kwartzlab, and our viewers. Did I mention that the whole stream is recorded online?
Mistakes were made too, and lessons were learned. I don’t think I’ll be playing next year, but I think there will be a next year, which will be bigger and better. I’ve already thought of a number of ways we could change it up, not including the obvious jump to Borderlands 2. During the wee hours of the morning there, I learned a lot about our volunteers, my teammates, and about myself. I learned that focus can be frightening. I like to think I pay attention to my surroundings, but during Headshots, the world was my the screen in front of me, and nothing else. People would come by, or sit next to me, and they’d be a complete blur until they touched my shoulder to get my attention. Their arrival was mysterious, even when I knew to expect them. Time rapidly lost all meaning, all that mattered was the objective. The antics of our hosts took on a dreamlike quality, as though the virtual world was the real thing. It felt really strange, and I’m sure that was only intensified by my lack of sleep. As a result of this, I led the pack by almost four hundred headshots, comfortably firing from the hip where others would stop and take aim.
I also learned where Borderlands shines as a game. I talk a lot of smack about its aesthetic and its story, or rather lack of one, but as a cooperative game, it’s so good that not only did I never get bored of it during play (though Robot Revolution did drag quite a bit), but I still want to play it even now. There’s something to be said for that, for sure.
All in all, it was a singular experience that I hope to repeat, that feeling when a project comes together. None of us had ever organized an event like this before. Talking with sponsors, setting up the technology, working with the nonprofit, contacting interview candidates, all of it was new to us, and we had to learn about the timelines and methods as we went. And we did it. I can’t get that out of my head, that feeling of absolute exhilaration as I played us out, everyone singing along. Volunteers, friends, family, sponsors were all there together, singing in one voice. We did it. Last year around this time, I finished my undergraduate degree, and was gripped with a strange resolve. “Honours BA in philosophy, minor in classics?” I said, “I’m just getting started.” Well, that was a year ago. Now I’m most of the way through a Master’s degree, and just ran my first successful fundraiser. And you know what? I’m just getting started.