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Videogames and Charity
by Christer Kaitila on 10/09/10 01:53:00 pm   Featured Blogs

The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutra’s community.
The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company.

 

Blowing up aliens doesn't really help the world become a better place. Thankfully, gamers are generous and loving people who share an earnest desire to help people.

Why else would the goal of most games be to "save the universe"? Gamers all want to be heroes. We want to save the princess, free the slaves from captivity, put out fires, defuse the bombs, catch the criminals, and defeat the evil empire.

Just to spread the love, I thought I would do some research into game-related charities. Here is your chance to give back by doing what you love. Gamers can truly save the world - and with a little compassion and generosity, gamers have the ability to make a huge difference in the lives of others.

Special Effect

Special Effect is a charity that focuses on providing special controllers and equipment that enable physically challenged individuals enjoy playing games.

Games can really free people - for example, imagine that you are paralyzed: think of the joy and freedom that you would get from being able to fly through the clouds or run at top speed in a FPS game.

This simulated mobility can have an enormous impact on the psychological well-being of somebody trapped in their own body, unable to move freely. Virtual reality can allow people to run free, jump high, and enjoy an escape from their daily struggles.

 

GamesAid

GamesAid acts as a broker of charitable activity on behalf of the industry, taking advice from all sectors. It distributes funds to a diverse range of charities; it is a means of giving something back on behalf of the industry.

 

Child's Play

Child's Play is a community based charity grown and nurtured from the game culture and industry. Over 5 million dollars in donations of toys, games, books and cash for sick kids in children’s hospitals across North America and the world have been collected since their inception.

 

OneBigGame

OneBigGame is the first non-profit video game publisher. An example of one of their games is WINtA, an iPhone/iPod Touch rhythm game from PaRappa the Rapper creator Masaya Matsuura aimed at raising money for charities.

 

Electronic Frontier Foundation

Without the Electronic Frontier Foundation the internet would suck.

 

IGDA Foundation

The IGDA Foundation holds charity dinners with guest speakers. Proceeds from the dinners will help support the various charitable projects supported by the Foundation including the Romero Archives, the Eric Dybsand Memorial Scholarship for AI Development, the Accessibility SIG “Gamers with Disabilities” Project and the other charitable works of the IGDA Foundation.

 

Get-Well Gamers

The Get-Well Gamers Foundation was founded in 2001 with the goal of bringing video game systems and games to children's hospitals. Video games are an effective and proven pain management tool and provide needed entertainment during long hospital stays.

 

Humble Indie Bundle

Although the event is now over, the Humble Indie Bundle is an example of how even smaller indie game developers can raise massive amounts of money for charity. The Humble Indie Bundle experiment has been a massive success beyond our craziest expectations. So far, 138,813 generous contributors have put down an incredible $1,273,613. Of this, contributors chose to allocate 30.85% to charity: $392,953 for the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Child's Play Charity.

 

If you know of some worthy videogame-related charities that are not on the list above, please comment with a link and I will be sure to add it to the list.

Remember, when gamers give back, it makes a big difference!

 

- Chris K

- a.k.a. Breakdance McFunkypants

 

(Reposted from my blog: http://www.mcfunkypants.com)

(Follow me on Twitter: http://twitter.com/McFunkypants)


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Comments


Luis Blondet
profile image
"The IGDA Foundation holds charity dinners witu guest speakers."



witu?





Also, not every gamer wants to be a hero. Look at the popularity of crime games, from Grand Theft Auto to Mafia Wars, Crime City, etc.

Dave Taylor
profile image
There's a difference between "Gamer" and "Game Player".



Gamers want to make an impact in their world, therefore they actively pursue immersion in different realities and scenarios. Game Players look for quick bursts of tension-and-release as an activity.



I agree with Chris, Gamers do want to help, because they want to make a difference and actually impact upon this world and it's people.



...Witu.

Christer Kaitila
profile image
Luis: It is quite true that some games are "evil-simulations" where you play a thug or serial killer, living the gangster life, killing and drug dealing. But interestingly, even when playing such lowbrow games I tend to internalize my desire to be the "good guy" by explaining my action in an altruistic way. For example, when I play the GTA games (which I love) I tend to pretend that I'm ridding the world of badguys and am playing as a double agent - I'm not really evil, I'm pretending to be in order to eliminate the gang leader or final boss in order to save the world. It may sound strange, but I actively AVOID running over pedestrians when I play. Perhaps I'm in the minority. =) Of course sometimes it is fun to simply blow stuff up - but I'm making generalizations that are for the most part true: MOST gamers daydream about saving the universe, not all. So I will concede that you make a valid point.


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