The young patients at Seattle Children's Hospital awoke this Christmas Day to gifts from a sprawling culture not frequently associated with charity: video gamers.
It has been three years since Eve Kopp, associate director at Seattle Children's, was approached by an organization called Child's Play that wanted to donate video games to children suffering from severe illnesses. What she did not expect that first Christmas were the trucks bearing more than $200,000 worth of goods contributed by gamers and game producers across the country. Today there is a video game system for every room at the hospital, in addition to the gifts that arrive each year for individual patients.
"Normally you wouldn't expect gamers to do anything besides stare at their computers," Ms. Kopp said, "but now they're attending charity auctions."
Child's Play was midwived by Mike Krahulik and Jerry Holkins, better known to gamers as Gabe and Tycho of Penny-Arcade.com, a Web site that carries essays and comics about gaming culture. Their charity, based in Seattle, has by now raised more than $2 million and has gone global, benefiting sick children not only in the United States but also in Canada, Britain, Egypt and Australia. This year a Child's Play dinner auction brought in $210,000.