Author Archives: Stephonee

UPickVG Commemorative Swag Available – For a Limited Time Only!

These aren’t just super cool pieces of UPickVG fanart (though, they ARE that) – they’re also the designs you can get on a t-shirt, hoodie, baby onesie, tote bag, throw pillow, mug… and even more! All available from the UPickVG Redbubble Shop, but only for a limited time!

100% of the profits from everything in the UPickVG Redbubble Shop will be donated to fund clean water projects in the developing world through our charity: water campaign. But you have to hurry! The campaign closes at the end of the money to send all the money out into the field to get to work, so merch orders much be received by the end of the day on June 29th in order for us to have time to donate those profits!

So just what kind of merch do we have for you?

Well, there are t-shirts, of course…

UPickVG Rollup Unisex T-shirtUPickVG Unisex T-shirt UPickVG Mammoth Unisex T-shirt

Including hoodies and ladies’ t-shirts, too…


And there are different types of liquid holders, both travel mugs and traditional…

rollup_travel_mug mammoth_mug

And even more cool stuff!

rollup_pillowmammoth_tote rollup_notebook

So much stuff, we can’t possibly include it all in this blog post. So you should head on over to the UPickVG Redbubble Shop and see for yourself. On desktop, there’s a handy “Available Products” listing in the left sidebar, and on mobile you can find it by just scrolling down. Click “Show All Products” to see a list of all the amazing different pieces of UPickVG swag you can get!

But don’t forget, this is all available for a limited time only! Place your orders before the end of the day on June 29th so that we can donate all the profits to our charity: water campaign.

Alright, we’ll show you one more great thing available in our shop… little baby onesies for the next generation of UPickles!

UPickVG Rollup Baby Onesie


Thank You!

Thank you, from UPickVG!

With your help, we raised $10,000.71 for charity: water during UPickVG 5!

That’s 333 people who get clean water access FOR LIFE, thanks to your support!

And what’s more, we’ve raised over $31,942 for worthy charities over the lifetime of UPickVG!

From the bottom of our hearts, thank you for all the tuning in, donating, heckling, laughing, chatting, emoting, fundraising, trolling, promoting, and UPickling you have done with us over the years.

(But no thanks for Superman 64. Harrumph.)


The UPickVG Crew

UPickVG 5: Return to Refraction

For our 5th big charity game-a-thon, the UPickVG crew is proud to be venturing off to a brand new, undiscovered land: Refraction co-working space in Reston, Virginia!

Refraction Co-Working Space, Reston Virginia

It’s like Neverland, with really high-speed internet!

“But wait!” you exclaim, because you are very clever, and you not only read the title of this post, but you also distinctly remember UPickVG IV last year broadcasting out of Refraction. Can’t put anything past you, now can we?

Except, this truly is a new space for us! In the last year (the last few months, actually), Refraction has grown and renovated their space, and created a brand new event space that is truly remarkable. And we’re not just saying that – we are so, so proud and lucky to be holding our event in this great new space:

Refraction Co-working Space - Event space

Yes, THIS is where we’ll be for UPickVG 5!

This is all a great shock to us – we already thought Refraction was the bee’s knees after our great experience in their old space last year. But they’ve somehow topped the space that they had, and even put in a second kitchen cafe space… which our volunteers will be totally raiding for snacks:

Refraction Co-working Space - Cafe

That fridge in the back of the picture? Full of energy drinks. Perfect for powering a 48-hour game-a-thon for charity!

The folks at Refraction have been so wonderful and kind to us (and understanding of our fridge raids), we just want to give them a big ol’ shoutout: Special thanks to Rachael, Nick, and Jordan for setting us up and taking care of all our weird needs to make this thing happen, and to James of Canvas for working with us on this event and helping us to make it really shine.

Refraction Co-working Space - Arcade Cabinets

Oh, and don’t worry: the arcade cabinets are still in the event space. Because the only thing better than 48 hours of video games, is MOAR VIJEO GAMES!

Check out Refraction’s website for more information, throw them a thank-you on Twitter for hosting UPickVG 5, and be sure to tune in June 3rd-5th to see the Refraction event space in action for our big event!

Mini Museum Prize for #UPickVG5

On Saturday June 4th starting at 12:30pm and ending at 1:30pm ET, we will be giving away a Limited Edition Mini Museum! This desktop acrylic museum contains ten amazing artifacts from earth and beyond.

Mini Museum Second Edition - 10 Specimen VersionThe Mini Museum is a portable collection of curiosities where every item is authentic, iconic and labeled. It’s been carefully designed to take you on a journey of learning and exploration. Each Mini Museum is a handcrafted limited edition. And if you consider the age of some of these specimens – it’s been billions of years in the making.

Mini Museum Second Edition, 10 Specimen Version against the skyThe special ten specimen edition that will be given away during UPickVG 5 is one of a limited run of only 1971 units. Encased within the UV-resistant acrylic you will find:

  • Asteroid Belt (c. 4,500,000,000 years old)
  • Japanese Star Sand (Microfossils)
  • Stegosaurus (Plate)
  • Mammoth Meat (19,551 years old)
  • Raw Emerald (Colombia)
  • Bronze Age Dagger (12th century BCE)
  • Medieval Chain Mail (15th century)
  • Petrified Lightning (Fulgurite)
  • First Super Computer (Cray-1)
  • Moon Tree (Apollo 14)

In addition to the ten specimen Mini Museum itself, the giveaway for UPickVG 5 comes with a gray Microfiber Pouch, a custom Display Box, and Certificate of Authenticity. Also included is the full Companion Guide for the Second Edition with details on every item in the collection. (And if you have keen eyes while looking at the Companion Guide, you will spot several U-Pick volunteers in the photographs – a few of our team members are also Mini Museum Technicians!)

Mini Museum Second Edition, 10-Specimen Version, full package

Each Mini Museum is handcrafted and carefully encased in acrylic and ready to inspire you. Display it on your desktop, mantle, or coffee table. Or carry it in your pocket – Mini Museum can go wherever you go. It also makes a beautiful gift for the person that has everything. (We all know some of those people. Not one of them has anything like this!)

The U-Pick Crew is very grateful to Mini Museum for their donation to UPickVG 5, and we look forward to giving this rare collectible away to one of our viewers!

Tune in to UPickVG 5 on Saturday June 4th from 12:30pm – 1:30pm ET to enter to win this Mini Museum! (Click here to see the giveaway time in your local timezone.)

What’s in the Box?!? The Return of the Mystery Games

Brad Pitt, What's in the box?!? Mystery Games?!?

Brad Pitt just wants to know what the Mystery Games are for UPickVG 5!

Last year during UPickVG IV, we introduced a really fun game mechanic to our game-a-thon: Mystery Games. We had no idea how well it would go over. Would people hate it? After all, the name of our fundraiser is “U-Pick…” as in, YOU pick the games we play on air. What fun is picking if you, well, don’t know what you’re picking?

LOTS. The answer is “Lots of fun. Loads. Tons. AMAZEBALLS of fun.” (Whatever an amazeball of fun is, anyway.) You guys loved them, we the players and volunteers loved them – it was like opening a fun surprise every time a Mystery Game came up. Like a mini surprise birthday party every time, complete with presents to unwrap!

UPickVG 5 Mystery Games, all wrapped up

Some of the UPickVG 5 Mystery Games, all wrapped up. Aren’t they beautiful?

So, we’re bringing them back for UPickVG 5. The Mystery Games, that is. The volunteers, too, in case you thought we meant those. But this is about Mystery Games! So in case you missed it last year, or forgot, or just aren’t clear on the deal with these things, here it is:

  1. You donate for the Mystery Game just like you would any other game. Just fill out the donation form and select “MYSTERY GAME!” from the “Pick a game for us to play!” drop-down menu. (It’s right at the top, you can’t miss it!)
  2. If the Mystery Game has enough points to end up in the Top 5 games on the Rankings, it goes onto the Wheel of Destiny.
  3. We spin the Wheel of Destiny once an hour, for 48 hours.
  4. If the Wheel lands on the Mystery Game, the Player for that hour picks a Mystery Game from the pile. They’re all wrapped up, so the Player will not know what they’re getting.*
  5. The Player will unwrap their selected Mystery Game, and then play it for the next hour, no matter what it is!

*Gamesmuns Chip and Grant selected the Mystery Games, and they both have Player shifts. That’s okay – they will not be allowed to pick their own Mystery Games. Another volunteer who doesn’t know the games will pick for them.

You can probably see from the picture above that some of the Mystery Games have some hints as to what game is inside. You can also probably see that those hints are insane and not actually helpful at all. Does that one on the far right just have a “2” on it? WHAT DOES THAT EVEN MEAN, GRANT?

One last clue as to what the Mystery Games might be… here’s the video of us opening all of the un-opened Mystery Games at the end of UPickVG IV:

While that video might give you some insight into Grant and Chip’s thought process for picking Mystery Games, don’t think that any of those games will be Mystery Games again in UPickVG 5 – that was the 1 rule we gave them: “No repeats of last year’s Mystery Games.”

So go ahead and donate now for the Mystery Game, and tune in to UPickVG 5 starting Friday June 3rd at 7pm ET to see the Mystery Games unwrapped and played!

UPickVG-ize Your Profile Pic, Earn Karma

Twibbon - add UPickVG flair to your profile pictures

Your mileage may vary as to whether it looks like you’re kissing our logo, like this woman does.

Want to help spread the word about UPickVG 5, the upcoming game-a-thon funding clean water projects in the developing world? Want to earn shiny Karma points that can be used to enter giveaways, and for bragging rights? Like showing off the awesome heart-controller icon of UPickVG?

You friend, are in luck! We’ve got a quick way to do all the above, and more: UPickVG-ize your social media accounts for the week, and get Karma points for doing so!Twibbon - a UPickVG Sponsor

Our sponsor Twibbon makes this super easy. Just go to the UPickVG Twibbon page, and click “Add to Twitter,” and/or “Add to Facebook” (we’ll give 100 Karma points for each!). You can also scroll down to the bottom of the page, and add a fancy Facebook cover image… for another 100 Karma points!

Then just come on back to this page, and fill out this very quick form to let us know where we can find your new UPickVG-ized profiles:

[Update]: Annnnnnnnnnnd done! Karma points for Twibbon activity were awarded to all who filled out the form before the deadline, 11:59pm Eastern on Thursday, June 2nd 2016! Thank you for your support!

The UPickVG team is proud to have Twibbon as a sponsor, and would like to thank them for their support!

UPickVG 5: Revenge of the Wheel of Destiny

Jimmy spins the Wheel of Destiny, UPickVG IV

Spin. Dat. Wheel! Jimmy spins the Wheel of Destiny for NightHawk’s shift during UPickVG IV. Photo by Steve Petrucelli

During a UPickVG game-a-thon for charity, your charity donations pick the games we play. It’s pretty much our “thing.” But donations aren’t the only thing that determine the game of the hour (every hour!): there’s also… THE WHEEL OF DESTINY! If you need a little refresher course on how the Wheel of Destiny works, we’re happy to help:

How the Wheel of Destiny Works:

You make a donation for a game you’d really like to see us play. Maybe it’s Castle Shikigami 2, the delightfully fun shoot-’em-up with horribly voice-acted cutscenes (just sayin’). Let’s say that the Rankings chart looks like this at the time you’re thinking of making your donation:

Rank Game Name Points
1 Sim Ant 102
2 Tail of the Sun 65
3 Harvest Moon 64 52
4 TES IV Oblivion 49
5 Sonic Adventure 45
6 Castle Shikigami 2 40

(Yes, Sim Ant has 102 dollars on it in my example. That’s what you get when Stephonee makes up an example from her own head.)

Now let’s take a quick look at the Wheel itself:

Sexy Jimmy and the Wheel of Destiny

Try not to be distracted by the sexy Jimmy in the photo, and focus on the Wheel! Photo by Steve Petrucelli

As you can see in the picture, the Wheel of Destiny has 8 slots, numbered 1 – 5. The number 1 appears three times, 2 appears twice, and 3, 4, and 5 all appear once. So the Wheel is “weighted” toward the game in slot 1, and somewhat toward the game in slot 2, and nothing below slot 5 even makes it on the Wheel.

When we hit the 50-minute mark of every hour during our marathon, that’s when we spin the Wheel of Destiny to see which game will be played for the next hour. Whichever number, 1 – 5, that the Wheel lands on, the game in that slot on the Rankings is what we will play. So before the 50-minute mark, you’ll want to get your donation in for Castle Shikigami 2 (in our example) for it to even have a change of being played for the next hour!

If you wanted it to have any chance at all, you’d need to donate at least $5.01 to have it overtake Sonic Adventure for Slot #5. If you wanted to have an even better chance, you’d have to donate at least $25.01 to have it overtake Tail of the Sun for the #2 slot. And if you wanted it to have the best chance of coming up in the next hour, you’d have to donate $62.01 or more to overtake Sim Ant and take the #1 slot!

(Handy hint: you can always try to rally the chat together for a game you want! Try asking in our live chat if anyone else is interested in seeing Castle Shikigami 2, and will help you by kicking in say, $20. If you can find two people in the chat interested, then you would only need to donate $22.01 yourself to make the game take slot #1!)

Stephonee Spins the Wheel, UPickVG IV

I am a very good Wheel-spinner-person! So determined. Photo by Steve Petrucelli

After the Wheel is Spun

When the Wheel lands on a number, we (of course) start preparing the game in that slot for the next hour of play. Hurray! But the game also loses all of its accumulated points and goes back down to the very bottom of the Rankings. This is just to ensure that the there are only repeats of games during a game-a-thon if you guys really want another hour! All you have to do to see a second hour of a game (or third hour, or fourth!) is donate again until it gets back into the Top 5.

And that’s it! We’ll spin the Wheel 48 times during UPickVG 5, starting with the first Wheel Spin at 7:50pm ET on June 3rd, during our preshow. Then we’ll play the first game it lands on, and we’re off to the races for another 47 Wheel Spins in a row!

Donate to clean water projects

Donate now to get the game you want on the Wheel! 100% of your donation will go to bringing people clean water.

UPickVG 5: The Available Games List

UPickVG 5 Available Games

UPickVG 5, the mega 48-hour game-a-thon for charity where YOU pick the games, is right around the corner, June 3rd-5th! As that time quickly approaches, we are proud to announce the list of games that will be available for you to choose from! This game list was put together based on your suggestions and your votes in the poll, with a few extra ideas added in by our Official Gamesmuns, Chip & Grant:

Game System
 Banjo-Kazooie  N64
 Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Chaos Bleeds  Xbox
 Castle Shikigami 2  PS2
 Crash Bandicoot 2  PS1
 Cubivore  Gamecube
 Dead Space 3  Xbox 360
 Deadly Premonition  Xbox 360
 Deception 3  PS1
 Donkey Kong Country 2  SNES
 Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem  Gamecube
 Fatal Frame II  Xbox
 God Hand  PS2
 Hannah Montana: The Movie: The Game  Xbox 360
 Harvest Moon 64  N64
 Hello Kitty Seasons  Wii
 Herc’s Adventures  PS1
 Jaws Unleashed  PS2
 Kirby Super Star  Wii
 Mario Kart 64  N64
 Mario Party 3  N64
 Metal Gear Solid 3  PS2
 Perfect Dark  N64
 Pokémon Snap  N64
 Portal 2  Xbox 360
 Resident Evil 0  Gamecube
 Shadow of the Colossus  PS2
 Silent Hill 2  Xbox
 Sim Ant  SNES
 Sonic Adventure  Xbox 360
 Super Mario RPG: Legend of the 7 Stars  Wii
 Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island  SNES
 Super Smash Bros. Brawl  Wii
 Tail of the Sun  PS1
 TES IV Oblivion  Xbox 360
 Tetris  Xbox 360
 The Adventures of Batman & Robin  Genesis
 The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past  Wii U
 TMNT: Turtles in Time  SNES
 Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2  PS1
 Warioware: Smooth Moves  Wii
 We Love Katamari  PS2

Any of these games can be donated for right now if you want to see them in UPickVG 5! Donations to our charity:water campaign will give points to your selected game, which will put it on the Wheel of Destiny, to possibly come up during the marathon. The only way a game will be played is if it gets donations, so get donating for the games you want to see!

Donate to clean water projects

(And keep in mind, donations made before the marathon begins will most heavily affect the first shift, so if you have certain ideas about what you want Jimmy to play, the time to donate is now!)

UPickVG 5 Player Shift Schedule

Here it comes: the schedule for which UPickVG volunteers will be subjected to YOUR game choices, and when! Here are the faces that will be playing whatever games you choose for charity, and when:

Friday, June 3rd
8pm – Midnight

Saturday, June 4th
Midnight – 4am

4am – 8am

8am – Noon

Noon – 4pm

4pm – 8pm

8pm – Midnight

Sunday, June 5th
Midnight – 4am

4am – 8am

8am – Noon

Noon – 4pm

4pm – 8pm

All times above are Eastern Daylight Time. Clicking on a time will show you that time in your local timezone. Clicking on the name of a Player will take you to their bio.
*SCHEDULE CHANGE: Grant has taken over this shift, formerly held by DJ Greg Z. We offer our support to Greg as he deals with a death in family.

And just which video games will this band of fine folks be playing for your viewing pleasure? That is 100% entirely up to you! Your donations [starting May 20th] to charity: water will pick which games each Player has to play, and also bring clean water to people who need it in the developing world.

So get your donations ready, and do not forget to tune in starting June 3rd at 7pm ET (that’s our preshow!) for all the games you pick and all the insanity that goes with them!

Sponsor Spotlight: OCZ

There’s a lot that goes into livestreaming video games, and even more so when you’re trying to stream 48 hours straight (or longer), playing a huge variety of console games that were never meant for streaming in the first place, and only having 10 minutes of warning for each game before making an hourly switch! (Not that we’re complaining, we love what we do, and it’s all for charity!) Quality equipment and a dose of ingenuity make it possible to do all of the above on a high-res broadcast.

When the dust settles on a marathon, we like to be able to go back, revisit the footage, and share our game-a-thons with the world after the fact. But to do that, we need the ability to record HD footage simultaneously while outputting a high-quality broadcast directly to the stream. Not an easy task, especially not for 48 hours straight with no interruptions to either the broadcast or the recording.

OCZ Storage Solutions

OCZ Storage Solutions

But thanks to our sponsor OCZ, it actually is an easy task. With the donation of an OCZ RevoDrive 350 Series 480GB PCI-E Solid State Drive, we’re able to do it all perfectly. The drive is lightning fast, thanks to being a PCI-E drive, so writing high-def footage to the drive in real time is absolutely no problem. And 480GB of space nicely holds 48 hours of footage without issue.

It lets us capture and share ridiculousness from our [After Hours] rehearsals:

And it enables us to save every moment of our charity game-a-thons, including the Thank Yous at the end:

All thanks to OCZ and their generous solid state storage drive donation! Visit OCZ’s website for more information on their offerings, and be sure to check out the rest of our video archive for all the great videos we’ve captured on our OCZ drive!