The Charitable Side of Gaming
By Noah Howard
If you really love to play games for a long period of time, Extra Life sets out to turn those hours into money for the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.
Photo courtesy Noah Howard
When some people think of video game fans, they imagine stereotypes of anti-social introverts playing for hours in a dark room. But the industry has evolved far beyond these popular culture-driven caricatures. Gamers are a community and some are using their virtual worlds to improve the real world by establishing a number of game-related charities that have helped millions all over the globe.
The Humble Bundle is probably the most famous. Every week, it posts a selection of video games available for download, and people can pay as much or as little as they’d like to acquire them. The Humble Bundle usually identifies a number of charities, and the buyer can allocate his or her funds to go to whichever ones they wish. Pay more than the average, and additional games or content is unlocked, raising hundreds of thousands of dollars weekly.
In a similar niche, the UK-based GamesAid also occasionally sells games to raise money for smaller charities that help disadvantaged children. However, they have also expanded their fundraising by reaching out in the gaming community through industry events and by selling game-related memorabilia on eBay.
If you really love to play games for a long period of time, Extra Life sets out to turn those hours into money for the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. Extra Life is almost like a digital jog-a-thon, asking you to earn money by having others pledge for you to play a game on the platform of your choice.
Child’s Play is an organization set up to help those who don’t have games for them to play at all. Established in 2003, Child’s Play works similarly to the Make A Wish Foundation. Hospitals provide wishlists to Child’s Play of the goods that their hospitalized kids want, and Child’s Play seeks to fulfill as many requests as possible either through monetary donations or by letting people directly fulfill wish-list requests on Amazon. Though the majority of requests tend to be video games, it’s also possible to find books, toys, or even nail polish on the lists. Whatever the children desire, Child’s Play aims to deliver.
The gaming industry has garnered more than its fair share of criticism, accused of “desensitizing” people to violence or keeping them from physical activity. Yet, these examples of gamers motivated by charity shows that some good has sprung out of the interactive entertainment community. There are already numerous ways to participate in gaming’s long-hidden charitable side, with more assuredly to come.
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