I don’t know about you all but lately, I’ve found that every single time I watch the news, check social media, play online games, talk to people, I find myself more and more depressed. Whether it’s politics, hate speech online or whatever, I’m finding it very easy to lose faith in humanity and let’s be honest, gamers don’t always represent the best of people. How often do you play online only to hear some of the foulest words ever uttered by a living thing?
That’s why I find it so heart-warming whenever I see gamers band together to do something really cool for someone else, often without ever getting recognized for their actions. Here are just a few of the times I’ve been the most proud to call myself a gamer.
Games Done Quick
If you’re devoted enough to gaming that you’re reading this page, you likely have at least heard of Awesome (or Summer) Games Done Quick. Twice a year, these folks put on a constant stream of speedrunners playing games 24 hours a day for an entire week. All the while, they take donations for either the Prevent Cancer Foundation or Doctors Without Borders and these donations REALLY add up. Last month, AGDQ 2017 raised $2.2 MILLION for the Prevent Cancer Foundation. Just let that sink in. $2.2 million dollars from people watching speedrunners play through games real quick.
But it’s not just the event organizers I want to call out here. Speedrunners who participate in the GDQ events are actually donating their time to participate. They receive a free pass to the event but that is it. No free transportation, no free lodging, nothing. And yet, the community jumps at the chance to support this great cause time and time again. I’m always left inspired, whenever these events roll around, by the incredible generosity of the fans and participants.
For PC gamers, Humble Bundle has become a staple for savvy shoppers who want to get some great games for insanely low costs. It’s easy to forget though what the Humble Bundle proceeds go towards. Each bundle that comes around allows you to decide how much of your money goes to A) the developers B) Humble Bundle and C) charity. The folks at HB allow you the option of paying for your games entirely through charitable donation in which they won’t see a cent from you.
While their business plan is really cool, I want to point out a specific event that’s going on right now they call the Humble Freedom Bundle. This is a bundle made specifically to raise funds for three charities: the ACLU, Doctors Without Borders and the International Rescue Committee. For this bundle, they have gathered tons of games, books and everything, set a minimum price of $30 for the lot and are giving all the money to those three charities. At the time of this writing, that bundle has been available for 14 hours and they’ve raised over $2.1 million dollars, not counting the additional $300,000 that Humble Bundle has promised to match.
Yeah, it’s easy to say that people are just buying this because it’s an incredible bundle of games (which it totally is) but they are receiving many donations well over the asking price. On their list of top donations, five folks have given over $1,000 for this bundle. This is just within the first 14 hours, the bundle is up all week long. It’s worth pointing out that in the time it took me to write that paragraph, the total went up another $5,000, and I write pretty damn quickly!
Pushatee Funeral Fund
The last two were some pretty grand scale events reaching out to the gaming community at large, raising money for some major charities. Gamers aren’t all about grand scale. Sometimes, they see one of their own needing help and simply reach out. Such was the case when the popular professional fighting game player, Terrance “Pushatee” Moore passed away back in 2014.
Immediately after it was announced that he passed away after collapsing during a tournament, the reddit thread /r/Kappa started a fundraiser collecting money for his family to cover funeral costs. They set their goal at raising $2,900 for his family. They wound up raising almost $10,000 from 367 donors.
This may seem like I’m going back to large scale charity fundraisers but I’m actually not. Yeah, Extra Life is a pretty major streaming event that sees thousands of video game streamers raising funds for children’s hospitals but this isn’t just an event for big-name Let’s Players or gaming media outlets.
Many of the participants of Extra Life are just average gamers who want to make a difference and own a webcam. Sure it’s entertaining watching the guys from Rooster Teeth eat weird things and shave their heads but it’s inspiring to see some no-name 14 year old kid putting themselves out there, trying their best to raise funds for charity. It may not seem like much to ask someone to play video games for an entire day but anyone who has actually done a 24 hour stream knows how difficult that can be. Not only to stay awake and keep playing but also to maintain enough energy to run a live-stream, it’s a test on anyone’s endurance.
There’s a lot of bad in this world and the gaming community is far from immune to that. Sometimes, it can be easy to forget what makes us a community to begin with. Every once in a while, though, something happens that reminds us how amazing gamers can be.
Happy Valentines Day, everyone!
P.S. Here are some links for more information on the organizations mentioned in this article.
- Games Done Quick – www.gamesdonequick.com
- Humble Bundle – www.humblebundle.com
- Extra Life – www.extra-life.org
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