Gamers unite to play for charity
It is 8 a.m. on a Saturday. Usually, people would be in their beds sleeping. For the Honors 3020 class, they were getting ready to start a gaming marathon that would last for 25 straight hours. With televisions and gaming consoles warmed up and lots of soda and snacks at the ready, the students started gaming for a good cause.
The marathon was part of a fundraiser for Primary Children’s Hospital called Gaming for Good, a nationwide effort to promote the habits of good gaming. Ryan Moeller, a professor in the English department, said the main purpose of the marathon was to help promote habits of safe and practical gaming.
“There are lots of games out there that can be appropriate for everyone to play,” Moeller said. “This class and this marathon are two ways of showing that.”
Students in the Honors 3020 class, which is also called Gaming for Good, learn about the effects of video games on society and how to create effective games.
“Right now, we having students working on several video game projects, including a game on how to drive safely and one on biking to and from class,” Moeller said.
The marathon was streamed live over the web for the full 25 hours. While the marathon was called a “24-hour marathon,” it lasted an extra hour because of the switch from Daylight Savings Time to Mountain Standard Time.
While it was in progress, other students had the opportunity to donate in person, join the marathon or donate over the web during the live stream. Samantha Beirne, a junior majoring in conservation and restoration ecology, said the donations of local business played a big role for the marathon.
“It is really good to have local businesses supporting us,” Beirne said. “Every donation we had was critical during the marathon.”
There were four gaming consoles during the marathon. Games played included Mario Kart and Rockband. Cameron Hebertson, a sophomore majoring in computer science, said it was an amazing experience to do something like this.
“I am a full gamer at heart,” Hebertson said. “I usually doing something like this at least two or three times a year, so it was awesome to do it with a group of people that have similar interests as me.”
Moeller said he has heard a lot of positive feedback about the marathon and hopes that it can continue for next year.
“There might be a chance that we don’t do this again next year due to funding,” Moeller said. “The students and I really enjoyed this experience. We might do this again even if it won’t be an official class.”
When the marathon was over, the smell of empty soda cans filled the room as the gamers started to pack up and head home. But the experience was unlike any other, said Rob Smiley, a sophomore majoring in biological engineering.
“At first, playing games for 24 straight hours seemed kind of daunting,” Smiley said. “But in the end, it was pretty cool to do something like this for a great cause.”12
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