Child’s Play initially began as a protest against that standard media story that video games cause violence and antisocial behavior in kids. The founders, Mike Krahulik and Jerry Holkins of Penny Arcade fame, began with an Amazon Wishlist for the Seattle Children’s Hospital. These gaming nerds, who self-identify as jerks, announced the charity on their website on November 25th, 2003. On December 1st, they posted a note from the board of trustees which explained that they had gotten so many donations that there were significant problems making the delivery. From the beginning, Child’s Play has been a tremendous success, bringing in over nine million dollars in total. In fact, this year’s drive began less than two weeks ago, and the donations have reached $622,000 as I write this.
One of the best things about Child’s Play is how involved the community gets. There is the annual Child’s Play Dinner, which is a black tie gala event with a live auction. And, there is the Humble Indy Bundle, which features several indy games bundled together and sold for whatever you want to pay. The proceeds go to the developers, charity, or both. There is the Mario Marathon, in which a group of guys plays Super Mario games nonstop until players catch up to donation levels. There is also the terribly awesome Desert Bus for Hope, where the folks from LoadingReadyRun play the worst video game ever made in a marathon that lasts for days. I should take a moment to explain the game these guys put themselves through. You drive a bus from Tucson to Las Vegas at 45 mph, in real time, for 8 hours, in a bus that pulls slightly to the right. If you make it to Vegas, you get one point. Over the years, these two marathons have raised over $676,955, and both are gearing up for another year.
Do me a favor. Read this story again, and really think about the size of these numbers. In seven years, generous nerds have given over NINE MILLION DOLLARS to help kids in hospitals feel like kids. So, if you can, try to help out a little.