Playing games. Normally a fond memory that people have of their childhood.
Children have great fun playing games, and are encouraged to have a go at things and play for the fun of it. Playing games can be a great way to learn about teamwork and learn about coping with success and failure. There are all sorts of games that children play, active games running around, team games and sports, games inside, board games and card games, even computer games, the list could go on and on.
There is then a big link to playing games and being childish, so most sensible and grown up people don’t play games. Well, they may play certain games that are on the list of acceptable activities. Examples include football or squash, in order to keep fit (or injure yourself in my case). Maybe golf, to help with networking in some careers. A game of poker with mates, or possibly bridge. Trivial pursuit is an acceptable board game, not mousetrap. In terms of computer games, the Wii is becoming more and more acceptable, as a way to help people stay active. Grown ups playing computer games?, that is surely just a waste of time. Computer games seem to be maligned more than other games, often seen as a waste of time by many people, or a dangerous breeding ground for violent psychopaths by others (I will admit I am going to the extremes). In many circles playing computer games is a far less socially acceptable thing to do for a couple of hours than watch a film for example.
However, a recent event is a slight game changer. If you ask the question ‘Does anything good come from playing computer games?’ I would expect a fairly negative reply, depending of course on who you ask. What do you do when playing computer games raises money for a good cause? On Wednesday 20th June 2012 Kieron Davies embarked on a noble yet ridiculous task. He decided to play a computer game for 24 hours non stop (well, toilet breaks allowed). As a sponsored event it is slightly different to things people have done in the past. Over the course of 24 hours, hundreds of people would play against Kieron in a death match, and hundreds of pounds would be donated to Chennai Challenge because of it. The event worked because of the support of other gamers (sites such as http://www.cadred.org and http://www.vakarm.net/) and companies (such as Multiplay.co.uk
Overclockers.co.uk , Netcode Illuminati ,game-cast.tv) as well as professional players and everyone who donated. Most of the people donating were from the computer gaming world.
What will then happen with this money that has been raised? Part of it enables the team to go out to Chennai in August and visit people who are in very deprived areas. The team are all volunteers who take time out of their normal, everyday life to help someone else. All volunteers who pledge to raise money to be able to do this. Once in Chennai, one of the most important things they will do is play games. At a home for destitute boys, they will play games. They will play games with people who are at the bottom of society. They will play games with children who have a life far removed from ours. Think of the difference that playing these games will have. An outward showing of care and affection to people who don’t get to see it very often. How much difference will playing games have on someone, when you have travelled 6000 miles to play with them. An encouragement, motivation and a lifting of spirits. There will be many other things the team will do, money will be spent in many different ways, but don’t underestimate the power of playing games.
It’s also worth mentioning the charity Right To Play who’s whole concept is how important play is. Follow them on Twitter @RightToPlay_UK