As with all good organizations, reflecting upon past occurrences with the objective to get better is not a bad idea. Some places do it poorly, creating forms with imprecise vernacular that change every year making it difficult to judge what they did or did not do well in the past assessment period (not that I have ever experienced that *shifty eyes*). Others, like us, just ask a couple of questions and see what people say.

Our last event went pretty well, pretty well indeed, but what do the members of Hardmode think? Two questions where posed, and here are the answers.

What did you think of the event?

Joe: I was very pleased with the way things turned out. While it was disappointing that Mirror’s Edge didn’t work out the way we wanted, I think all of the other games we played were enjoyable for us and the people watching, which was a definite step forward compared to last time. There was a great deal more going on in the room this time as well, which made it easier to stay focused and enjoy what was going on. As to whether these things had anything to do with the increase in donations, I have no idea. I will say that I think using Crowdrise was a boon for us, but that might just be me.

Joel: This event was extremely fun to do and I think that it stands out from the other two events. The length of the marathon was right where it needed to be; the games, when they worked, were a great selection, and the group involved worked very well together.

Cameron: I had a blast. I never would have thought that I would have such great people to spend time with as I discovered whilst marathoning with the crew. By the way, I just discovered that marathoning is a word. Yes. I honestly am chomping at the bit to have another event.

Garret: I will echo the statements above. I feel like this event has been the smoothest overall, even with some downtime with the video (we figured that out, by the way), a broken game, and not completing a game because we – for better or worse – sissied out on it. Unlike before, we actually took some pictures (even more coming soon), and the overall excitement in the room seemed much higher. Whether or not that was conveyed on the feed, I have no idea, but there was an overall “lighter” atmosphere in the room for the most part that made it a more enjoyable experience.

I also really liked the two video feeds condensed into one. I think that worked much better than what we have done in the past, not only because it looked better, but because it consolidated our equipment a bit.

Like Joe, I feel like Crowdrise is the way to go. Although there was no widget that we could place on this site that kept up with the current donation total, the benefit of seeing all of the people who have donated on the Crowdrise page is nice. Not having the current total on the page was never too big of an issue, though, because we always displayed it in the feed, and if you are on the page and not watching the feed then you are kind of silly.

Is there anything that you would have changed?

Joel: We could have prepared a little bit better, I think. Technically, we had everything up and running correctly. However, I would have liked to had extra things (interviews, shorts, whatever) that we could play periodically for the viewers to make the experience a little bit more fun for them.

Maybe next time we could have a representative from whichever charity we are working for come and have an interview at some point during the marathon? And inform all of the viewers at what point they can sign in and ask that person questions?

Joel: I agree with Joel. I hadn’t thought about trying to get a rep there to be a part of the festivities, but I think that could be a really great way to further legitimize the things we are doing.

Cameron: I think we should be more strategic with the groveling we do to make money. Have some factoids about the charity we are raising money for, set goals and have some form of a progress bar somewhere, etc. When Garret or I were running the compy bits, we did a good job pandering for donations, but what if we had material to support us, and a schedule of when the pandering would occur? Get rid of Joe’s PS3. Never play Beyond Good and Evil again. Bring my camera charger. More/better lighting. Never running in place. Ever. Some sort of magical remote camera thing. Oh dear I’m rambling…

Garret: We had grand designs before the event to create more promotional material to show during the show that talked about the YWCA, but we ran out of time and they did not get finished. The idea was to have some videos made that would act, ostensibly, like commercials. I think that is something that we should continue to investigate for the future.

Light is a good topic to discuss. We were a little on the dark side and that has great effects on the video feed. Overall it was ok, but we could probably have used another lamp or two.

Moving the camera more, or having a couple of periods where someone is actively working the camera would be nice. We did that a little bit, but more would be better just to get some more interesting shots more often. In a similar vein, we need to figure out something to do with the mics that is a little better. I think the work ok overall, but we might look into investing in a boom pole of sorts to attempt to point the extra mic a little better.

I think we could have discussed more of the cool things you can get with Crowdrise. They have a couple of deals that only work if you donate a specific amount, for example, that I wasn’t seeing many people take advantage of. For instance, I think there is a thing you can win if you donate exactly $27. I would have suggested that people who donated $50 split their donations in two, and donate twice instead of just once. I don’t know if that would get too confusing or not, but it would give people an extra chance to win something. At the end of the day, though, any amount donated in any configuration is great, and I am not complaining.

If you were one that happened to watch the show, how would you answer these questions? Throw a comment down below if you are so inclined. We are constantly looking to improve, so any suggestions would help.