I write to you now from the muggy and balmy land known as New York City, where our colossal Solitaire Blitz marathon charity event is now underway. This is just one half of the event, though, as yet another, identical Solitaire Blitz marathon charity event is happening simultaneously in London, England. Yes, two identical events, in two cities thousands of miles apart, both simulcast on one exciting web page! It’s like a science fiction movie come to life!
At this point, especially because it’s so early and you may not have had enough coffee yet, you may be wondering what this event actually is. This is why I am here now. What is happening is that PopCap is raising money ($89,000 pledged so far!) for charity:water, a non-profit organization that helps bring clean, safe drinking water to people in developing countries. We are doing this by trying to set a Guinness World Record, with the help of two brave, intrepid, and soon-to-be extremely sleep deprived Solitaire Blitz fans.
Our two players — Laura Rich in London and Kathleen Henkel in New York — are each going to attempt to play Solitaire Blitz for 30 hours straight to try to set the record for the longest-continuous stretch playing a computer card game. This is an official attempt, complete with judges on hand to monitor their activity, as well as a list of rules so long that it’d take three more blog posts to cover it all. Here’s one, though, which is the one most people ask about: Each player is allowed a 10-minute break for every continuous hour of play. So, if Laura plays one hour non-stop, she can take a 10-minute break. Or she can bank the time, saving up for a longer break. When they are playing, they can pause for no longer than 20 seconds or it’s over. This is why we gave both players extremely uncomfortable chairs, just to keep them alert. (Just kidding: We have other chairs on standby if they need more comfort!)
We are live streaming this entire event, if watching two people play a computer solitaire game for 30 hours straight is your thing. (And, hey, who knows — I myself have sat through day-long marathons of Storage Wars.) We’re on hand at both locations, tweeting from both the official PopCap Twitter page and this writer’s personal Twitter page. (We’ll be using the clever hashtag #solitaireblitz if you want to follow that way.) And we may even appear on camera now and then to offer pithy commentary, interview a few surprise celebrities who are stopping by, and say hi to our moms. Oh, and if you happen to be in New York City, come on down to the Roger Smith Hotel, where one half of the event is taking place, and you can watch us through the window and wave, just like those people on the Today Show.
Finally, and perhaps most important, it is not too late for you to pledge. You can pledge for as little as 10 cents an hour, which is just a mere $3.00 total if I’m doing my math correctly. And that alone is a crucial contribution to a great and vital charity.
In any event, please join us in extending a hearty “good luck” to Laura and Kathleen, as they get set to embark on a fun yet totally exhausting 30-hour playing session of Solitaire Blitz! And wish us luck, too, in trying to stay awake to cover this darn thing!