I could launch in to a “not all gamers” diatribe which is useless because like the “not all men” rants it misses the point. People involved in trying to make gaming inclusive don’t say “all gamers” even the most attacked figures like Quinn and Sarkeesian would never say “all gamers” just that SOME gamers are jerks and the fact there are any needs to be addressed and the fact people are fighting to qualify just shows how much they miss the point (and are in all likelihood similar to myself and middle class WASP males ) the thing is, that’s been done before and probably done better elsewhere I’ve said my piece and don’t want to feed those flames any more. I could launch in to a swing in to a supportive discussion about Emma Watson’s pro-feminism campaign and the fake attack site that was launched (which I still suspect was a false false flag situation yup you read me anti-feminists pretending to be feminists pretending to be anti-feminists and as crazy as that sounds it’s only because they’ve done that before) or Jennifer Lawrence and her recent response to the invasion of her privacy. The thing is, that’s all been done too, and by people more closely related and more able to speak to the victimization than I can.
So instead I want to focus on something more positive, as a gamer there are days where I feel like a self loathing gamer, the stereotype of my peer group is a truly unappealing one but stereotypes do not develop in a void. I think right now, in our community’s darkest hours of swatting, doxxing, and general prickishness we need to look at some of the good and remind us that we as a community have a power to effect positive change not just negative reactionary kick back. Gamers as a community have been traditionally very charitable, I know it’s hard to believe but there are hundreds of events held globally to aid everything from sick kids to soldiers, from the differently abled to the underprivileged. It would be impossible for me to run through them all but I want to touch on a few of them to give an idea of what we as a community are capable of.
There are a few big charity events held by gamers every year that I’ll get out of the way first, Child’s Play, a charity that’s sort of a clearing house for various events. Founded by Mke Krahulik and Jerry Holkins of Penny Arcade (a website that has its own checkered past) the goal of the charity is to work as a toy drive for local hospitals. Several big events are tied to Childs Play including a charity dinner with an auction, a golf event called the Child’s Play Invitational Golf Tournament but for all these big name events there’s also the regional events put on by local gamers in an effort to help their local hospitals. This is as much a bottom up as top down driven initiative with fans as well as content creators working for the greater good. Each year they raise more and more money with and in 2013 raised $7,600,000 for charity bringing their grand total to $25,196,670. As an effort to show that not all gamers are anti-social pricks, it has grown in to something arguably more important than any other aspect of the “Penny Arcade Empire” maybe not more important to the industry than the advertising on Penny Arcade or the fan friendly face PAX lets companies put on but to the kids who are enjoying these games while recovering in the hospital and their family, it’s far more important and effects children globally with hospitals in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Egypt, India and Australia all benefiting from the program. To see how you can support Child’s Play check out their website here.
The AbleGamers Charity is a charity devoted to helping differently abled individuals enjoy gaming made up of a five person volunteer committee founded by Mark Barlet and Stephanie Walker. They operate by first promoting dialogue, education and research and funding grants as well as grants for differently abled individuals to get hardware needed to enjoy their hobby. Additionally they have collaborated with Evil Controllers in designing the Switchblade in designing a flexible and reconfigurable for gamers with limited ranges of motion. In 2014 this organization raised $162.656 dollars to date. If you are interested in helping you can find more information here.
The Extra Life charity is a charity in conjunction with the Children’s Miracle Network an international non-profit that raises funds for children’s hospitals, research and community outreach campaigns regarding children’s health risks. Extra Life began as a way for the Sarcastic Gamer community to honour the battle of young Victoria Enmon and her loss to cancer. Extra Life is a 24 hour video gaming marathon used to raise money for hospitals, original targeted to the hospital that treated Tori they raised $302,000 dollars to help the hospital in 2008 and2 009. Realizing the potential this event had it grew in to an annual event with 12,000 donors in co-ordination with the Children’s Miracle Network to help disperse the funds among the hospitals that could use the help and you are able to select a hospital in your area. If you are interested there’s still time to start a team and you can find more here.
In the end it comes down to this, there are a lot of terrible people who are gamers but for every one of them there are a hundred who are willing to give up portions of their life and income to help children, the sick and those in need both big and small. Whenever I see something like Adam Baldwin’s minions whipped in to a frenzy and harassing people, homophobic or racist dimwits using words they don’t really understand, or just general hate I remind myself for every one of those there’s a hundred people doing good things like these charities or GaymerX or Gaymestation or a host of game jams to promote women and minorities in gaming or just trying to help others in the community. If you know of any other charitable organizations you'd like to share information about please tell us about them in the comments. Now, take this opportunity to go out there and help some folks yourself.
If you are interested The After Action Report has started a team for Extra Life here please if you are interested please come to our page and either donate or join our team and let's raise as much as we can for Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto or start your own team and raise money for an institution in your area.