Hello and welcome dear reader to Behind the Controller, an ongoing column centered around the local video game community, the ongoing trends within the video game industry and where I will review some of the most popular new releases.
The practice of playing video games to raise money for charity has become a recent phenomenon within the past few years. Using YouTube and Twitch (popular internet video streaming sites) gamers from across the world have played hour after hour of some of the most popular video games out there to encourage viewers to donate to various worthy causes such as cancer research, homelessness and relief aid, just to name a few. Even here in West Chester, the university has its own charity group: WCU Golden Gamers. Last week, I had the pleasure of speaking with the president of the student-run club, Celine Butler, who agreed to speak about what the club was all about.
Q. So, what is Golden Gamers all about for those who don’t know?
A. The WCU Golden Gamers is a service organization whose mission is to game for charity. We use gaming as a vehicle to make positive change in our community.
Q. What makes the club special? There are other video game clubs on campus as well.
A. Our club is unique from other video game oriented organizations because our primary focus is on charity, not gaming. Gaming is the tool we use for our charity work. Combining gaming and charity allows for people from all across the gaming community to come together and do something good. Other organizations may focus on competitive aspects of gaming or emphasize certain types of games, while we have a diverse group of people that engage in games ranging from board games, fantasy rpgs, “Super Smash Brothers Ultimate”, and so on.
Q. Is the club a serious commitment?
A. The club is as much of a commitment as you want it to be! However, we see a lot of our club members coming to meeting after meeting, and event after event, because of their passion for charity. We have meetings every other week and our biggest commitment is our optional spring fundraiser.
Q. Are there any special activities?
A. We started the organization with the intention of having one fundraiser per semester. So far, we have succeeded. In the fall, we bought a Nintendo Switch for Penn State Children’s Hospital in Hershey, and one of the biggest ways we raised the funds was through a Super Smash Brothers Tournament. We partnered with eSports to accomplish this goal, and it was a great first event. Right now, we are working towards Extra Life, a 24 hour gaming marathon that benefits Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. The WCU Golden Gamers are gaming 25 hours straight to reach our goal of $7,500.00. Extra Life is our biggest event every year. We will participate in Extra Life each spring while the fall project will vary from year to year.
Q. Why should people join the club?
A. I think that, upon joining the club, people will realize that we function a lot like a family. We are extremely inclusive and welcome all students into our club. A lot of people have found a sense of comradery after attending even a few bi-weekly meetings, and I think that sense of community is extremely valuable in college. Additionally, we take part in some really cool projects and our club members take a lot of pride in serving the community. It is a great way to be involved in charity work while still having fun.
With video games becoming more popular than ever, it seems only natural for enterprising individuals to put video games and charity work together to help advance the greater good.
Kelly Baker is a fourth-year student majoring in English with minors in journalism and film criticism. KB819687@wcupa.edu