From couch to cash: Trying to redefine the gamer stereotype

Before I begin, let me assure you that this week’s post is not about PAX East. However, it is influenced by it. In fact, I had recently come across an article in the Boston Herald regarding the upcoming convention. The title of the article was, “‘Nerd is the word: PAX ’14 is sold out.'” It covered what the convention meant to Boston in an economic sense and how it was such a great opportunity for development companies in the area.


I had no issues with the article. Actually, I thought it was good and informative. I did, however, have a problem with one of the comments from a reader. A user, who went by the name “AlfredNobel,” made the comment, “Must be a great event if it motivated all these people to get up off the couch.” Part of me was really bothered by this comment.


I’m going to give this person a slight benefit of doubt and assume that they also did not know (aside from many things) that the convention does not just cover video games. It’s a celebration of gaming, in general, and many aspects of it as well as other nerd related topics. One of which is tabletop gaming. This refers back to his “couch” comment; as in “couch potato,” which is an old reference for people who were lazy and, stereotypically, played a lot of video games back in the day.


(Did I really have to explain that term?)



This comment bothered me because in 2013, gamers raised well over $10 million dollars for charity. This includes, but not was  limited to the “Child’s Play Charity” which raised $7.6 million dollars for children’s hospitals across the United States and the “Extra-Life” fundraiser which raised $4 million dollars for various Children’s Miracle Network hospitals across the United States as well.


That was just two organizations. Over on Twitch.Tv, I came across numerous streams for other charities. In a span of 24 hours, one raised over $30,000 dollars split among three different human rights organizations. Just recently, “Awesome Games Done Quick 2014” raised over $1 million dollars for the Prevent Cancer foundation.


These people deserve a round of applause.


I really wanted to reply to the comment left by “AlfredNobel.” However, something stopped me. If I were to reply, I would have said everything I’ve said here and probably more. That’s partly why I stopped from replying. I also stopped because I wanted to do something more than just speak my feelings. I wanted to take action.


I want to be more involved in charity events through gaming. Now, this could be done by any means; by helping promote the event, donating money, or even participating and raising money myself.


The “Extra-Life” Challenge


Last year, Battleground Games & Hobbies held a charity event for the “Child’s Play Charity.” It was a lot of fun. The store gave out a lot that day for those participating, and, at the end of the day, I felt really great. However, I think it could have been better. This is by no means the fault of the store. I, personally, would have loved to have just seen more people there.


Now there are plenty of reasons why the turnout wasn’t as great as I wanted it to be. First of all, it coincided with a “Magic: The Gathering” tournament. Not everyone plays the game, and that doesn’t help. If I remember correctly, there was also another large tournament that day. So the store also had some competition to deal with.


Up to now, I’ve done a lot of talking, so here is how I would envision an event done this year. Ideally, if I could, I would do more than one, but I understand that there is a lot of logistics that go into these kind of things.


First of all, I would try have it in the summer. We live in New England, and weather is a big concern. The summer is a perfect time to have an event like this. Not only are the days longer, but there is no snow to complain over. The next thing would be that the event would have to cover all kinds of games. I’m talking about having another TableTop Day. This is a day where we can pick up a board game and just play. Don’t worry you miniatures player, there will be a place for you too.


Even better, what if we were to hold a 24-hour marathon of gaming. Now, I know, it seems a little crazy, but hear me out. I mentioned the charity “Extra-Life” earlier in the post. Now, let me explain what they do. Actually, I’ll have the site explain things, since they do a better job of it than I do:


“Extra Life began in 2008 as a way of honoring a young lady named Victoria Enmon. Tori’s battle against acute lymphoblastic leukemia inspired the Sarcastic Gamer Community in a way that is difficult to describe. Members sent in video games and bought gifts to keep Tori’s spirits up despite numerous hospital stays and three bouts with the deadly disease.


Tragically, we lost Tori to cancer in January 2008. Later that year, I asked my partners at Sarcastic Gamer if they would be interested in Extra Life, a 24-hour video game marathon to raise money for the hospital that treated and fought beside Tori. In 2008 and 2009 Extra Life raised a combined $302,000, 100 percent of which went directly to help kids like Tori at my local Children’s Miracle Network Hospital (Texas Children’s Hospital).”




Overtime, the charity has evolved from video games to gaming in general. This includes tabletop games!


The “Extra-Life 2014” charity event is scheduled to happen on October 25 of this year. That is plenty of time to get the ball rolling; plenty of time to Tweet, to Facebook post, to e-mail your boss, tell your mom, dad, grandmother, grandfather, sister, brother, cousin, aunt, and uncle.


So what do you say? If I were to get things started, would you be interested in participating? Would you be able to game for 24-hours straight?


Okay, don’t worry if you can’t. The site, its founders, and other know how hard it is to game for 24-hours. Some people, last year, played for 12-hours one day and another 12-hours the next.


In the end, it all comes down to one thing, and “Extra-Life” and I seem to have the same mindset about it: The performance on the day of the event is not what is important, but the hard work leading up to it.


Let’s make “AlfredNobel” and others like him really think about what they’re going to say the next time they comment on another gamer related article. We’re not just a bunch of bums who sit on the couch all day. We’re more than that.


About the author


Simeon is an avid gamer who loves to play board games and video games. He graduated college with a degree in Political Science, and now serves the public by writing about games. You can check that out here. Don’t forget to “like” him on Facebook as well. It’ll update you on all of his newest content. Best of all, you can follow Simeon on Twitter (@SimeonCortezano) for some real time hilarity. Thanks for reading!


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