This Saturday, while many will be out enjoying the weekend, hundreds of gamers are going to play a full day of gaming.

This probably isn’t a new scenario, but this week they’re doing it for a good cause.

Extra Life is a charity that allows gamers to do what they do best in support of its parent company, the Children’s Miracle Network. Children’s Miracle Network is a charity group representing hospitals in the United States, Canada and the UK. They raise money for children’s care in those hospitals and for medical research on diseases affecting children.

Gamers participating in Extra Life raise money by asking friends and family to donate for each hour of the 24 they plan to spend gaming, similar to how charity runs structure their donations. On Sat., Oct. 20, gamers will play and usually stream their marathons out to the public, with a suggested start time of 8 a.m. Viewers can still donate during the marathon as well.

Extra Life’s website says any game, from hardcore PC games to casual Facebook games, are acceptable. They also said there is no penalty for splitting up the 24 hours, since not everyone can function without any sleep.

The gaming marathon is in its fourth year. Last year, Extra Life raised more than $1.2 million for the Children’s Miracle Network. Its Twitter account announced gamers had already pledged $1 million before the gaming had even begun.

For anyone who wants to watch hours of gaming, Twitch, the biggest streaming network for gamers, will host many of the charity streams in one place all day Saturday. There are also several gaming media outlets participating, such as G4tv, Joystiq, Destructoid and GameInformer, along with Ubisoft’s professional all-girl gaming group the Frag Dolls. Anyone can also support the cause by visiting the Extra Life donation page, and find new streams on Twitter to watch through the #ExtraLifeStream hashtag.

The large fundraising numbers raised by Extra Life are just one example of gamers getting involved with good causes. The annual Child’s Play charity drive brings millions of dollars of video games and toys, as well as cash donations, to hospitals that serve children to improve their hospital stay. AbleGamers is a group that helps gamers with disabilities get access to accessibility tools.

Thinking about participating in Extra Life’s charity marathon of gaming? Tell us your story in the comments!

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