This has been a rough year in terms of natural disasters. Images have flooded our televisions, Facebook ads, and YouTube accounts with visions of planet-wide tragedy. People from all over the world have come together to donate money to charities to help those in need, including gamers!
When the earthquake struck Haiti in January DriveThruRPG created a bundle that contained donated RPGs from 100 publishers. This bundle contained several hundred dollars worth of gaming material, but DriveThruRPG charged a mere $20. All proceeds went to Doctor’s Without Borders in an effort to help with the relief fund in Haiti. When I first learned about this, I was shocked to see how much money had been raised in such a short amount of time. My husband and I purchased this bundle, and received an email that basically said that due to the overwhelming purchases of the bundle, it would be a few days before we received the download links for the package. It was at least 3 days later before we were able to download any of the games for personal use. Gamers from all over the world came to DriveThruRPG and purchased their bundle for a good cause. True, they got a steal on the amount of games they were buying, but hey, it was for a good cause! When it was all said and done a total of $178,900 was wired to Doctor’s Without Borders.
In the video game arena, indie developer Wolfire Games, released something very similar, and had an amazing outcome. The Humble Indie Bundle includes: World of Goo, Aquaria, Gish, Lugaru (in HD), Penumbra: Overture, and Samorost 2. What’s Wolfire’s charity of choice? Child’s Play , a game industry charity dedicated to improving the lives of children with toys and games. So far, Child’s Play has had an amazing $1.7 million dollars donated since 2003 from gamers across the world. In the few short days that Wolfire had their Humble Indie Bundle out there for gamers to download (for as little as a $0.01) 124,250 people donated $1,136,933! I’d say that the video gamers are a generous bunch too!
Back to the tabletop scene, Daniel Solis has been working with donors for his [Happy Birthday, Robot!] game on KickStarter It’s a brilliant idea! Again, donors can contribute to see the game published and receive special perks depending on the level of their donation. However, Daniel took it one step further. He decided to donate copies of [Happy Birthday, Robot!], to different gaming organizations, schools, and libraries across the world, because his original goal was exceeded very quickly. Once the book is published, he will be donating 3 books to the organization Kids Need to Game . He will also be sending copies of the book to ten different libraries and schools to help foster role-playing and storytelling in the classroom. This entire project has been backed by generous gamers across the world, and thanks to them as well as Daniel, students will be given the chance to play this game in their classroom.
Finally, on a more personal note, thanks to the generous donations of a number of indie game designers, my classroom of 4th graders where able to finish their storytelling unit by creating their own hardbound storybooks. Being the end of the year, funding at my school was running short and there were no available funds to purchase storybook kits for my students. Thanks to the power of social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook, I was able to get enough money donated to purchase 26 kits and pay for express shipping. I did have friends and family members donate, however, the bulk of the money came from indie rpg designers and enthusiasts. My heart goes out to them for their overwhelming donations, and my students are just as grateful.
We all know that there are a lot of stereotypes about gamers. Gamers are perceived as being nerdy, obsessive, socially awkward, and childish. But, while we’re generalizing, I think we need to add “generous” to that list.