Whether deserved or not, video games and those that play them sometimes get a bum rap. Our favorite hobby is often cited by the uninformed as the cause of a variety of societal maladies and antisocial activities. However, there are those who would turn this paradigm on its head and use the power of games and their communities for good, charitable causes.
Since it’s the season of giving, we thought it’d be a good time to spotlight a few of these charities, with information on how you can get involved.
The AbleGamers Foundation focuses on improving the quality of life for those with disabilities through the use of video games. They work to increase the accessibility of video games for those who need special considerations. Their online portal serves as a social hub for gamers with disabilities to come together to discuss ways to overcome the challenges of playing certain games, and maintains a database of titles reviewed specifically for accessibility. AbleGamers also consults with game developers to ensure games are as accessible as possible, and maintains a roadmap of best practices to provide guidance to these developers. Finally, they run a grant program that helps gamers with disabilities purchase expensive assistive technology that would normally be beyond their means. You can donate directly on their website, or volunteer in a variety of ways, including setting up your own fundraising stream.
Founded in 2003 by the creators of the online webcomic Penny Arcade, Child’s Play is a game industry charity dedicated to providing toys and games to hospitals and therapy facilities. These games provide much-needed distraction and comfort to children receiving treatment and their families. In 2013, the charity expanded its efforts to establish Child’s Play Game Centers within a network of Domestic Violence Support Facilities. Since its founding, Child’s Play has raised over $38 million. You can donate directly via Paypal, or by using their website to look up a local hospital near you and buying a gift from that hospital’s Amazon wish list.
Extra Life is a 24 hour gaming marathon that supports Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, which increase funds and awareness for over 170 children’s hospitals across the U.S. and Canada. Through its efforts with gaming communities and companies such as Twitch, Rooster Teeth, and Wizards of the Coast, Extra Life has raised over $14 million for local CMN hospitals since it began in 2008. Getting involved is simple: You just sign up, create or join a team, and game for 24 hours, usually while livestreaming to raise awareness for your fundraising efforts.
Founded in 2007 by a group of high school game enthusiasts, Gamers Outreach provides equipment, technology, and software to help children cope with treatment inside hospitals. Their unique Gamers Outreach Karts, or GO Karts, are portable, medical-grade video game kiosks equipped with everything needed to easily provide bedside entertainment to children who have difficulty leaving their hospital rooms. You can either donate money directly or send in your old games to be put to good use.
Games Done Quick
Games Done Quick is a series of video game marathons featuring speedrunners playing through games and completing challenges to raise money for charities such as Doctors Without Borders and the Prevent Cancer Foundation. During the marathon events, there are a series of donation incentive challenges and bid wars that can affect what challenges the speedrunners attempt, or even what games are played.
Anyone can attend or volunteer to help out during either of their two annual events held in the winter and summer. Streams of all of the events are also viewable from the Games Done Quick homepage and their Twitch channel. If you’re feeling up to the challenge, you can even offer to run a game during one of the events.
The Humble Bundle is a digital storefront that partners with game makers to sell a curated selection of games at a price determined by the purchaser. By paying more than the average going price, you can unlock several tiers granting additional games, discounts, or DLC. You then get to decide how that money gets split between charity, the game developer or publisher, and the Humble folks themselves. The concept has since expanded into a persistent storefront where 10% of the net revenue from every purchase is routed through the PayPal Giving Fund to support a variety of charitable organizations. They also offer a monthly game subscription service, flash bundles, weekly bundles, and book bundles, so there are a ton of great options for giving back while also getting some great loot in return.
These are just a few of the ways gamers can give back. If there are other gaming or pop culture charities of which you are aware, start or contribute to the community here at Wikia, or visit our Wikia Gives Back page to learn more about how Wikia helps bring communities together to share knowledge and resources that make a difference.
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