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Behind the Controller: Steven Pucci of Extra Life Chicago

Introduction to Steven Pucci: I was born and raised in Chicago and I am an avid gamer, collector, and arcade restoration hobbyist.  I grew up in the Lake View/DePaul area and as a child was surrounded by arcade manufacturing plants and show rooms.  I was fascinated by them and used to sneak into and promptly be escorted out of most of them in my youth.  Bally’s had an R&D facility near my home too! I have always believed in helping others and giving back.  And I started volunteering in my late twenties and have worked with Apple, Junior Achievement of Chicago, and ChicagoCares to name a few.

I feel that helping others has become my higher calling, and I am determined to make an impact.  I once read that the best thing about volunteering is forgetting about your own problems and helping others with theirs.  That was life changing for me.


How many years in EL: 2022 is my second year running the team 16-Bit Heroes.

How much raised (lifetime): So far we have raised over $3,020 and this year we are hoping to hit $5,000!

Favorite game:  Well I have so many but I would say for the last few months it has been Star Wars Battle Front and a close 2nd is Overwatch. Well OK I can’t forget about Paper Mario on the N64!

How did you find out about Extra Life, and why did you decide to get involved?

I ran into an Extra Life booth at C2E2 a few years ago and it really resonated with me as I grew up around the arcade gaming industry and spend my spare time and skills helping others. 
It something that many don’t know but in Chicago we had Ballys, Midway, Stern, Chicago Pinball, and many more.  Their factories and R&D offices were located throughout the north side of Chicago.  And it was the mecca of the Arcade rage of the early 80s.  My elementary school was across the street from Stern Electronics who made the arcade classic Bezerk!

And I realized that Extra Life had a great idea to bring together people who love gaming and love helping people too.  It’s a powerful force and I wanted to be a part of it and bring their message to anyone who would listen.

What does Game Day look like for you?

This year we are looking to take turns gaming over the 24-hour period and stream it live.  I will be playing mostly retro games like Final Fantasy I and II.

Tell us about your team “16-Bit Heroes”!

We are a rag tag bunch of family and friends who love gaming and love helping others even more. 
A few members are also working on a new game for the Super Nintendo called No Rail Gun.  We are also always looking new people to join our cause so if you are reading this join us today!

Robotron 2084 Arcade Restoration

Berzerk/Frenzy to a 60-n-1.  Donated to a local children’s charity.