ODU Gamers Locked-In for Charity
Virginia House experienced a 24-hour gamer lock-in on Sept. 19 and 20 when the Video Game Design and Development Club and the Street Fighter Association hosted a daylong session of gaming for their Extra Life charity.
Participants brought their own systems and games for the night, providing the VGDDC with an extensive library for players to check out. Titles such as “League of Legends,” “Halo 3,” “Gears of War,” “Street Fighter,” “Left 4 Dead,” “Super Smash Bros” and “Nintendo World” were available.
The lock-in raised money for the Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughter (CHKD) through the Extra Life, a national charity service that assists individuals and organizations looking to donate to local Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.
“I’d heard about other Extra Life events happening across the country, and I thought it was really cool that they were having one at ODU,” said Jas Singh of the Super Smash and Street Fighter Associations.
Though the organization operates on an honor system for proving one has completed the 24-hour play time, many gamers choose to stream their playing so that viewers can tune in and donate. The results are often entertaining.
Joshua Cruz, president of the VGDDC, sited an example of one streamer who shaved his head bald for the event and another who performed random karaoke throughout the stream. Viewers paid him to stop.
Cruz also explained how the club stumbled onto this event when organizing their budget at the end of last semester. As part of the 10 points and standards that every ODU organization must maintain, the VGDDC needed to organize a “philanthropic event” and donate to a charity.
“They’re usually easy things, fun things to do, stuff you should be doing anyway as a club,” Cruz said.
Not knowing what to expect, the VGDDC set an initial pledge goal of $100. They exceeded that goal barely two hours into their 24 hour lock-in from a combination of online and in-person donations.
According to VGDDC public relations manager, Marquise Twitty, and treasurer, Trai Corte, some people, particularly campus staff, were initially hesitant about the idea of the VGDDC hosting a 24-hour event on campus.
“We’re a newer club and we don’t have a lot of event experience,” Twitty said.
Other gaming clubs proved enthusiast about the prospect. The Street Fight Association, Super Smash Association, and ODU Minecraft Club help the VGDDC advertise for the event and recruit participants.
“We don’t do a lot of social events because we’re a production club and we focus mostly on production, but we’re looking to kind of change that this semester. We want to bring in the community and expand our presence on campus,” Cruz said.
Their designated room in Virginia House was filled to bursting with ODU students and members from the Street Fighter Association, ODU Minecraft club, Super Smash Association, Vex ODU and ODU Poker A.C.E.S. Their playing was captured on at least four different streams at one time on Twitch.
“It’s a pretty good turnout. Not the full number of people who registered, but I don’t think we could have fit 100 people in here,” said Paul Kane, an ODU student.
As many as five players at a time crowded around the Wii U to play “Nintendo World,” a party game featuring different mini-games themed to different Nintendo titles such as “Super Mario” and “Animal Crossing.”
“It sounds adorable, but it’ll tear friends apart,” said Kevin Prunty, Minecraft Club web-master.
A larger crowd formed around the “Super Smash Bros” area, where several Super Smash Association members competed against each other to much excitement from the onlookers.
Cruz admitted that the VGDDC rushed the organization of the lock-in, and that the event could have benefited from holding off for a week or two to solidify planning.
“Three weeks ago I didn’t even have officers… we organized a lot at the beginning of this week,” said Cruz.
If their enthusiasm was any indication, participants did not seem to mind the last minute organization. Players had to be told several times to mind their noise levels, particularly when versus matches of “Nintendo World” and “Super Smash Bros” led to excited hollering from the players and viewers alike.
“It was cool to see the room packed with people playing games, and it’ll be fun to see how many people are still watching the stream near the end when we’re all hanging on by a thread,” said Tyler McLean, an ODU student.
By Alyse Stanley