How many of you have heard of Child's Play, the charity started by the guys from Penny Arcade? I'm going to guess most of you, but just in case please allow me to elaborate!
Child's Play was started in November 2003 by Jerry Holkins and Mike Krahulik as a response to negative press stating that all gamers were bad people and children were being trained to kill by video games. While the stereotype is that gamers tend to be reclusive, and some of them are, the truth is that they (we) are not evil, violent people. The guys of Penny Arcade wanted to take a stand, and so they asked the gaming community to show the world just how generous they were by donating gifts to the Seattle Children's hospital.
Original photo borrowed with love from the Flickr stream
The event was a raging success with over $250,000 raised in the first month, and each year it has grown exponentially. As of now, Child's Play donates monetary gifts as well as video games, books and board games to over seventy children's hospitals worldwide. Each December a dinner and auction event is held in the Washington state convention center as a way for gamers to come together for a night of fancy enjoyment for a wonderful cause. This year the auction raised $351,000 in just one night, bringing the grand total of money raised and donated since 2003 to $10,948,564 [source]. Talk about generous!
Child's Play accepts donations year round, but the big pushes happen around the holiday season. It warms my heart to see something so wonderful happening in a community that I love. It would be a dream come true to someday attend the auction and dinner. Maybe next year!
In exciting related news, the newest Humble Indie Bundle has been released! The Humble Indie Bundle started in May 2010 and is a pay-what-you-want business model for a pack of indie games. They usually include five games and the purchaser has the option of sending their payment to a charity, this year Child's Play is an option, to the game developers, or toward the cost of bandwidth for the Humble website. Or, you can split the money between the three of them.
It really is a wonderful model, and the majority of purchasers are highly generous. The games can be played on Windows, Mac or Linux machines, and you can even send them to someone as a gift! The newest bundle has made over $1,000,000 already.
The Humble Indie Bundle website has a top contributers section, and it's amazing to see how many people are willing to pay incredible amounts for these five games. When given the option to do what they want, people are far more generous than the news would have us believe.
It's never too late (or too early!) to donate to Child's Play, and if the Indie Bundle piques your interest then it's a great way to get your hands on good games and to donate to charity, too! It seems that there are a few bundles released each year, so be sure to check the website and keep your eyes open for the next pack. If you want to go straight to Child's Play, there are many ways to donate.
I hope you'll all take a look as these fantastic webpages!