It’s really easy for me to rant about the stigmas attached to writing games because the negative press that gamers and game designers have received for various projects is mind-blowing. Well, here are just a few reasons why gamers and industry professionals aren’t all that bad.
Some Gamers Work to Fight the Stereotype
If you’ve ever had the chance to talk with Bill Walton, he doesn’t come across as being a one-man army, but that’s exactly what he is. Bill is the owner of a site called The Escapist: the reality of fantasy games which is a roleplaying advocacy site that has been around since 1995. Here’s a quote from his site:
Tabletop role-playing games like Dungeons & Dragons are an engaging and intellectually stimulating activity that promote teamwork, problem solving, and creative thinking. Even better, in hands of a parent, guardian, or educator, they can be a fantastic teaching tool.
Unfortunately, the role-playing hobby has acquired a reputation for being geeky, dangerous, occultic, satanic, and even causing players to be prone to suicide or homicide. Only one of these is accurate – sure, it’s a bit geeky, but that’s the worst thing that can be said about it. The rest of those claims are pure urban legend.
Bill just started a podcast, dubbed The Escapistcast to expand into new functionality to help spread the message that (unbelievably) gamers aren’t evil.
The Entertainment Consumers Association (ECA) is now running Game Politics, a site that I had done some writing for a while back dedicated to covering legislation and media coverage primarily around video games. If you want to keep playing games and fight the stereotypes, there’s no better way to get involved than through your local legislator.
I should point out that the ECA is different from the Entertainment Software Association (ESA). “Formed in 2006, the ECA is an advocacy organization for consumers of interactive entertainment.” The ESA is “the U.S. association exclusively dedicated to serving the business and public affairs needs of companies that publish video and computer games for video game consoles, personal computers, and the Internet.”
Gamers Organize for Charity
Over the years, I’ve seen industry folk put together projects to sell them for charity through places like Fundable or PayPal, then promote them over the web to bring awareness. The organization called Child’s Play is a successful example of how industry professionals have gone out of their way to work with hospitals and their patients. Here’s a quote:
Child’s Play works the same as last year. With the help of hospital staff, we’ve set up gift wish lists full of video games, toys, and movies. You can go to each hospital’s list and buy a toy, and that toy will be sent to the hospital. Some of these kids are in pretty bad shape. Imagine being stuck alone in a hospital over the holidays, getting something from a fellow gamer would really raise their spirits. Some of the stuff the hospital will give away for kids to keep, while other gifts (like consoles) will be kept by the hospital for patients to use throughout the year.
Inspired by Child’s Play, several other organizations and groups have started on their own. This group called Extra Life for Kids “was created by the Gamma Tau chapter of Phi Kappa Theta Fraternity during the fall of 2003 as a way to benefit local Children’s Miracle Network hospitals through something different: playing video games.”
This group called, “Gamers for Humanity is a brand-new “not-for-profit organization, founded for the purpose of giving gamers a chance to organize for charitable activities and fellowship.” Here’s the nice thing about it: their Indiana trip coincides with GenCon Indy, the big U.S. event of the year. So gamers can do something good for the community, then go play. They’re hurting for funds right now; all they need to raise is $5,000. Here’s a quote:
We are currently exploring fundraising and donation opportunities for our August build in Indianapolis. Our target amount is $5000, to be donated directly to Habitat For Humanity’s Indianapolis chapter. This money will enable us to have a full day (two shifts) for approximately 20 people at a build site in the Indianapolis area, Tuesday, August 12th.
If you’d like to help them out, donate to Gamers for Humanity. They are transparent about where their money goes (you can read where it does and how much money they get on the website), so rest easy knowing that your donation will go where it’s supposed to.
Are You Involved?
Whether you’re a gamer, industry professional or a fan, finding time to do “good deeds” can be next-to-impossible and I am right there with you. Time is a precious commodity for me because my story is like so many other writers and game designers I know, but I am trying.
Are you involved in any charity organizations? Were there any gamer-centric organizations that I missed on this list? How do you find the time?