Headshots from the Heart – Gaming for Good

Headshots from the Heart is a fundraising event benefiting the remarkable charity, Child’s Play. It is happening next weekend and you can of course donate or participate in their geektastic auctions.I’m going to swoon a little now over how happy the existence of these charities makes me.

Child’s Play itself is two parts brilliant and three parts heartwarming, baked at incredibly improbable for ten years. It was a charity started by a foul and irreverent online comic strip about video games. In 2003, the team behind Penny Arcade, probably the most successful online comic that could ever exist, decided to throw their weight behind doing some good. They started up a charity to provide games and books for kids in hospital in an attempt to ease the misery of long-term care. To date they have raised over five million dollars.

Child’s Play has also become something of a beacon around which gamers can gather and express their desire to do good. The stereotype of the cave-dwelling-troll gamer may be cruel and only half true… but it is still half true. Many of us are not the sort to run marathons or expose our pallid flesh to the scorching rays of the day-star. However, despite what some corners of r/gaming might imply, most of us are nice people with real human emotion and empathy. Many of us want to do good, but have trouble figuring out how to put money where our mouse is. Jim Tigwell, one of the creators of Headshots from the Heart, put it better than I can:

“If you’re a runner, if that’s what you love to do, you can run for charity nearly every weekend in the summer. You can use what you’re passionate about to make the world better. But if you’re a gamer, there’s nothing for you. Our mission isn’t just to create a broadcast to help kids, but to give gamers the opportunity to use their passion to do good.” – Jim Tigwell

The simple and unambiguously kind goal of Child’s Play had inspired other groups to create their own events to raise funds. The most famous of these, is Desert Bus for Hope. An unlikely marathon gaming session where the amount raised determines how long the organizers must play what is likely the most tedious minigame ever created. It has been running for six years now and raised over $400k last year.

Headshots from the Heart is another gaming marathon that started last year. The concept of this fundraiser is that donations are pledged based on the number of headshots the team manage to accrue over twenty-four hours of Borderlands 2 play. It will be live-streamed online and also has a LAN party attached to it if you are local to the Kitchener-Waterloo area (If you don’t know what that is, you probably aren’t).

My involvement in it is only peripheral: not having cash to donate, I have instead offered one of my sculptures for auction. I am both happy and sad to say, it is not the coolest thing avalable in their loot stack.



Ryan is a professional nerd, teaching engineering in the frozen north. Somewhat less professionally, he is a costumer, author, blacksmith, juggler, gamer, serial enthusiast, and supporter of the Oxford comma. He can be found on twitter and instagram @studentofwhim. If you like what I do here, feel free to leave a tip in my tipjar.

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