Early this afternoon, Brian Brinegar, Dan May and John Groth finished their seven-game Super Mario Marathon that began Friday, and ended officially before 3 pm Eastern with more than $10,000 raised for Child's Play, the gamers' charity that donates books, toys, games and money to kids in children's hospitals across North America.

Brian, the marathon's organizer, said the total raised shattered the original goal of $1,500. "I think our suckage worked to our advantage," he said. "Had we completed the games in say 20 hours, we would never have raised this amount of money."

All told, the trio lost well more than 500 lives over nearly 48 hours of gaming. They sped through the first three titles, and blew past the $1,500 goal in the first hour. After that they took requests from contributors and viewers (who logged more than 60,000 viewing hours, combined, on the webcam, Brian said) just to keep things interesting.

In the end, Dan brought the marathon to a close by whipping Bowser's ass in Super Mario Galaxy at 2:47 pm, Eastern time. "I was pumped right up until Dan finished Bowser in Galaxy," Brian said. Now he's just wiped out. Still, John (the guy in the overalls and cap) and Brian plan to continue their pursuit of the last 30 or so stars needed to unlock Luigi in Super Mario Galaxy, taking them to about 8 pm tonight.

"I don't think I'll play a 3D Mario again this year," Brian said. The group slept and gamed in shifts. "We must have died like 30 times on Bowser in Mario 64, mostly from fatigue. And Mario Sunshine was probably overall the worst," Brian said.

John and Dan are Purdue University alumni; Brian is a current student and employee. The nearest hospital to them participating in Child's Play is Riley Hospital of Indianapolis.

Congratulations to the marathoners. Ten thousand dollars is a prestige number, for any kind of donation, and they and all who contributed should be proud of what they've done this weekend.

The marathon unfolded on this schedule:

Friday, June 27
3 pm to 3:17 — Super Mario Brothers begun and beaten. Four lives lost in 17 minutes.
3:17 pm to 3:50 pm — Super Mario Brothers 2 begun and beaten. Four lives lost in 23 minutes.
3:50 pm to 5:27 pm — Super Mario Brothers 3 begun and beaten. "A ton" of lives lost in 1 hour, 37 minutes.
5:35 pm to 6:23 pm — Super Mario World begun and beaten. 4 lives lost in 48 minutes.
6:23 pm — Super Mario 64 begun

Saturday, June 28
5:47 am — Super Mario 64 beaten, 122 lives lost in 11 hours, 10 minutes
6:02 am to 8:41 pm — Super Mario Sunshine begun and beaten, 127 lives lost in 14 hours, 39 minutes.
9:09 pm — Super Mario Galaxy begun.

Sunday, June 29
2:42 pm — Super Mario Galaxy beaten, 232 lives lost in 17 hours, 31 minutes.
Combined: 47 hours, 42 minutes, 524 plus "a lot" of lives lost.

Super Mario Marathon
[Official Page]