Video games for the improvement of the hospital system? I'm all for that.
There is a charity called Child's Play, and you've probably never heard about it. Mike and Jerry of the (in)famous webcomic Penny Arcade started it in 2003, and as of the 2010 final tally it has raised over two million dollars. Child's Play started as a collecting of games and toys for hospitals around the US for children's wards, as kind of a neat idea that might give back to the world. Now it is huge, spanning not just the US but finding its way to Canada, England, Australia, Egypt, and New Zealand. There are raffles and fundraisers, and even a black-tie auction dinner in their hometown of Seattle that raised just about $184,000 in three hours last year. All of this money and these things go to buying the stuff that hospitals need for their kids, and it isn't just video games. It's Matchbox sets, paints, crayons, toys, games, stuffed animals, handheld systems like the DS, and so many other things.
And there are studies. PA has funded research about things like children asking for less pain medication during procedures with/without games. And you know what? It's true. Children undergoing dialysis asked for less medication when they had a DS in their hands than they did when they didn't have anything. Doctors routinely send information to the Child's Play coordinator about the wonders that their program is working.
Mike and Jerry get emails all the time, and at the PAX Q&A they get people who stand up all the time to say that they lived in the hospital as a child, and that programs like this one mean so much to them.
Isn't that just amazing? $2,294,317.53
One day, I will save up the money and buy a ticket to the charity dinner. I probably won't have any money to spend there, but I will go nonetheless.
"I'm just thrilled to be a part of something that has catastrophically succeded."
~Wil Wheaton, talking about Child's Play