May day! May day! We have warm fuzzies incoming! And just in time to start June off with happier thoughts. And who couldn’t use more happier thoughts right about now?
This month has given us a good assortment of good feels. On the uplifting side of life, we’ve already noted an artist creating Blizzard-themes Ramadan lanterns, a couple whose wedding was postponed by the pandemic but held one on their special day in Guild Wars 2, multiple events and fundraisers in honor of the Mental Health Awareness week, a 75th anniversary Victory in Europe Day parade in World of Warships, and so much more. But who says you can’t have more? There are still stories you haven’t seen yet!
In May we’ve also seen Riot Games’ 2019 social impact report detailing that $10 million has been raised for nonprofits around the globe since last October. We watched large scale charity streaming events from Fortnite and PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds. And we witnessed industry efforts help mitigate charities’ lost opportunities when COVID-19 forced the cancellation of live fundraising events with a brand-new Stay in the Game Relief Fund.
On a more individual-impact note, did you know there is a Steam game where the entire premise is individuals writing anonymous positive and encouraging letters to folks who request a little lift? And players are inundating the Kind Words servers with a massive response of positivity, comfort, and advice! Plus we’ll cover one of our own writers, who created a home-away-from-home for those who mourn memorialized a beloved game that’s been lost, Asheron’s Call, inside Animal Crossing.
Donating to charity is a very wonderful way to to insure that our fellow beings get support and services they need. But what if you don’t have lots of money or time to give, or you want to do something a little more personal while still staying anonymous? How about sharing kindness and support through inspirational and encouraging letters?
The game Kind Words gives folks the opportunity to take a much more involved approach to helping others: Instead of donating money, you donate words from your heart directly to an individual in need. And boy, are players responding to this opportunity! In fact, they’ve responded so enthusiastically that developer Popcannibal had to reorganize the game’s interface to try adn keep up! games has announced that players have written a million letters of encouragement, comfort, and advice to complete strangers who have requested such. A whopping 300,000 paper airplanes were also delivered in-game containing more uplifting words.
What an amazing way to uplift others on a one-on-one basis. This is akin to an online version of a compliment jar, an activity I have spearheaded and benefited from, where you collect compliments to an individual anonymously and present them the jar full of positivity. I still open and read the one I was given when I was a teen.
When you think fighting for funds, you might envision agencies vying for a share of allocated resources. I have had to see and do this many times over the years working in social services. But in our gaming sphere, the phrase takes on a whole different meaning. Here, it refers to gaming tournaments where players fight mobs or each other to raise funds for charities. And May saw two such events.
Starting mid-month, PUBG hosted Continental Series (PCS) Charity showdown, with four different regions each getting prize money to split and a charity of choice to receive an equal award. Asia (Korea, Japan, China, and Chinese Taipei), Asia Pacific (Southeast Asia and Oceania), Europe, and North America have all concluded their tournaments as of yesterday. $100,000 will be distributed to participating teams based on performance in each region, with a matching $100,000 to each winning team’s charity of choice. That’s a total of $400,000 going to charity.
Fortnite held one mega tournament on May 22nd, pitting 41 of ALF’s best players against 41 of Australia’s best professional players and creators. The prize was a share of $100K to go to players’ chosen charities. Catch the action in the entire 3.5 hour event here:
COVID-19 can’t curb charity
Another casualty of the current pandemic is the cancellation of multiple events where money raised would go to benefit organizations that provide many needed services and support. To help filling in the gaps left by the loss of those donations, four industry-related organizations created the Stay in the Game Relief Fund. These organizations — the IGDA Foundation, Take This, Global Game Jam, and the Games and Online Harassment Hotline — aim to “work to decrease stigma and support the mental health of game lovers and creators, create supportive environments around the world for entry into this creative industry, and pave the way for a gaming community as safe and inclusive as it is innovative.”
The initiative had corporate commitments for matching funds, including from Riot Games, Devolver, Double Fine, Robot Teddy, Splash Damage and Six To Start. The Stay in the Game Relief Fund hoped to reach $100K in total, but in fact it surpassed its goal and raised $54,936, an amount that will be matched to double that.
$10M is a Riot
Speaking of Riot Games, the League of Legends developer released its 2019 social impact report. Announced last October, the Social Impact Fund has raised $10 million dollars, much of that ($6M) through a special game skin sale. Riot invests this money into nonprofit organization around the world; $8M has been invested in more than 50 nonprofits in 15 different countries.
We all mourn when we lose a beloved game (and it feels like it is happening all to often!). But sometimes, just sometimes, there are ways you can go back, even if just a bit, and relive some of those moments and memories. Our final uplifting highlight for May hits really close to home: Massively OP’s Andrew has careful constructed a replica of part of Asheron’s Call right in Animal Crossing. If you really miss the AC and Asheron’s Call 2 worlds, see about dropping by Andrew’s home and and taking a moment to wander about within the city walls. Soak up that nostalgia!
— Den (@Dengarsw) May 20, 2020