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Behind the Controller with Matt Hayes

We went behind the controller of Matt Hayes, avid Extra Lifer and among the top fundraisers for the Detroit Guild!! Check out his story below and then follow his stream here.

How long have you been involved with Extra Life Detroit?
This will be my fourth year of being a part of Extra Life Detroit. It’s been a blast meeting everyone on the team over the past couple of years and figuring out ways to increase awareness of this great cause.

How did you find out about Extra Life?
I want to say that it was around 2012 when I first heard about Extra Life. I initially heard it on a few of the podcasts I listened to at the time, and thought it was a pretty cool idea. Then, a few friends on a video game forum I was a part of were coordinating an informal Game Day and I joined up. Ever since then I’ve tried to participate in some way, whether through donating, cheering people on during their streams, or coordinating Game Days.

What makes you so passionate about raising funds for CMN/Beaumont Children’s?
My drive to raise funds comes from two personal connections that I’ve experienced in my life with for CMN and Beaumont Children’s.

When I was a child, I had a blood disorder and so I was admitted to Beaumont Children’s for treatment. Luckily the nurses and doctors were able to find the reason behind the disorder and got me healthy again.

The other time we needed to use Beaumont Children’s was for my son who had pyloric stenosis and needed to have an operation done as treatment for it. In both instances the staff and facilities were amazing (I got to play Atari whenever I wanted during my stay there!) and I am very grateful for all that they did for me and my son. Extra Life is a way for me to not only give back to a hospital that’s helped me multiple times, but it also gives me a way to help out the kids and families who are in the same situation as I have been as a patient and a parent. It feels really good to be able to contribute to this cause any way that I can.

What does Game Day look like for you?
Game Days for me are typically the 24-hour long marathons that get started around 6:00am or so on Game Day. I do not like to stick with just one game so I’ll break the day up in two-hour genre themed chunks with some half hour scheduled breaks scattered throughout the day. In the morning I could be playing a relaxing low-key game like Stardew Valley and by midnight I’ll be jumping out of my chair during a horror game like Alien Isolation. I also try to schedule a few hours in the evening that’s a “Multiplayer” section. This is where I’ll get friends or people who are watching the stream to join in for some multiplayer games.

Has COVID-19 and quarantine altered your gaming routine?
I know a lot of people have had way more time to game with quarantine, but unfortunately that has not been the case for me. As I mentioned before I have a son who is now seven years old, so a lot of my day is spent keeping him entertained. One of the biggest changes in my gaming routine is that I’ve come to find a new appreciation for Minecraft and Fortnite since he’s picked up on both of those games and plays them almost exclusively. I recently just got my first win in Fortnite in fact, which was a big deal for both us when it happened. I don’t think my wife was prepared for celebration when that happened

How long have you been gaming and what are your favorite games to play?
We had a Commodore 64 growing up, so if I could hold a joystick or type video games have always been a part of my life. Some of my favorite games to play are games that may not be exactly popular but have some kind of interesting quirk that sets them apart from a typical game, so titles like Katamari Damacy, Tokyo Jungle, or are what I enjoy playing. More recently games I’ve been into are the Yakuza series and 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim.

What is your favorite childhood game?
Ninja Gaiden on the Nintendo was my all-time favorite game as a child.

What would you tell someone thinking about signing up for Extra Life?
I would tell anyone who is thinking of signing up but is worried about reaching a goal or being available on Game Day to still absolutely sign up. The great thing about this charity is that it’s completely free form so you’re not locked into a strict set of rules to follow. By signing up you’re not saying that you’re guaranteeing “X” amount of dollars to raise or that you’re going to participate for 24 hours straight. Just sign up, do what you can, and have fun doing it! It also helps if you get in touch with your local hospitals and find out what kind of programs your donations are going to. It gives you that extra bit of motivation when you know exactly what your donations are contributing to.

Favorite memory involving Extra Life?
My favorite memory involving Extra Life happened during Extra Life 2018. For Game Day that year my wife and my son were on the other side of the state at her parent’s house. During my live stream, she started to text about getting a dog that she found at a shelter. I was not only trying to manage playing games live, I was also updating everyone on stream about the status of this adoption. In the end, the adoption was approved, and everyone was just going wild because this dog was amazing. It was so much fun and Theo (what we named him) ended up being a great dog.

Fun fact about you
My son really got into skateboarding last year, so naturally that means I’m now learning how to skateboard at 38 years old! I won’t be pulling off any crazy aerial stunts any time soon, but we do head up to a local skate park from time to time.

Thank you, Matt for all you do for kids treated at Beaumont Children’s!!