The traditional portrayal of gamers in the popular press is not a positive one. Gamers are often portrayed as dark, dangerous denziens of this world who are a menace to society. While modern gaming technologies like the Kinect and Wii are making great strides in normalising gaming as a popular pasttime, at the same time groups of gamers are working hard to change the public perception of ‘hardcore’ gamers. An excellent example of this is Child’s Play.
Child’s Play (www.childsplaycharity.org) was started in 2003 by two gamers, Jerry Hoskins and Mike Krahulik, partly in direct response to an article in a Seattle newspaper about how video games were warping a whole generation of children, and to mobilise the gaming community to give something back to their fellow man. Child’s Play facilitates the donation of video games, toys, and movies to children’s hospitals around the globe, including Starship Hospital in Auckland. In its first year, US $200,000 was raised, and in 2009, that amount had risen to $1.78 million with the total raised over the 6 years a staggering $6.8 million dollars.
Money is raised by direct donations to the cause, a large charity auction and dinner held in Seattle every December, and by a number of community organised events – the most successful being Desert Bus for Hope (www.desertbus.org). This is organised by a group of Canadian gamers who play a terribly boring game live on the internet to raise funds. While this sounds rather futile, it’s been remarkably successful – this year in 2010 over $200,000 was raised by this event alone!
So, this year, when thinking of those less fortunate then you, Catholic Geek would like you to consider thinking of the children, and check out the Child’s Play charity – giving is child’s play!