Eric Watson

Eric Watson

Eric is a freelance writer who enjoys talking about video games, movies, books and Dallas-based sports teams. Every week he watches a random film from his collection of several hundred DVDs and live tweets about it @RogueWatson. He also makes a mean tuna quesadilla. He lives near Fort Worth, Texas with his wife and daughter, two dogs, two cats, two fish tanks, some hermit crabs and a bookshelf full of Transformers.

AbleGamers and Gamers Outreach

AbleGamers Foundation, Gamers Outreach Bring Games to Hospitals

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Two charitable organizations, the AbleGamers Foundation and Gamers Outreach, are pooling their resources and programs to provide gaming to those with disabilities in hospitals. The unique care packages combine AbleGamers’ Expansion Packs with Gamers Outreach’s mobile kiosks. Each unit contains special gaming devices and equipment, such as modified controllers, which help make games more accessible. The first donation will arrive at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.

Gamers Outreach provides mobile gaming kiosks, called GO Karts, to bring gaming to anyone in a hospital. Units are all-in-one kiosks equipped with consoles, monitors, controllers, and sometimes even VR devices.

“In the hospital environment, we support a wide array of patients, including children who have limited mobility,” said Zach Wigal, Founder of Gamers Outreach. “There’s an obvious synergy between our programs and the work of AbleGamers. The Expansion Packs equipped to our GO Karts will provide healthcare professionals with a diverse entertainment toolkit. Ultimately, we believe these devices will help ensure the joy of gaming is experienced by all patients, regardless of their circumstances.”

AbleGamers provides custom gaming set-ups to those with disabilities, using everything from modified controllers to advanced eye-tracking technology and voice control.

“The work we do to support people with disabilities is bigger than us,” said Steven Spohn, AbleGamers COO. “There are roughly 33 million children, adults and veterans with disabilities in America alone. Gamers Outreach has been a friend and ally since the creation of both organizations. It’s a natural fit, now that we both have generous supporters who believe in helping those in need, to come together and help even more people. Together, we will ensure that children inside the hospital and at home can enjoy a distraction from the sometimes scary hospital environment.”

Both organizations are 501(c)(3) charities that operate entirely on generous donations. Their partnership will be celebrated during TwitchCon 2017, taking place this weekend, October 20-22. Streamers and fans can learn more about their works and are encouraged to donate.

game jam

‘Being an Ally Game Jam’ Seeks to Empower Anti-Bullying in Gaming

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The Museum of Art and Digital Entertainment (MADE) has joined forces with the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) for a unique 24- hour game jam. The “Being an Ally Game Jam” will take place this weekend in select cities around the US. Its purpose is for game developers to come together and create new games and experiences that teach empathy, support, and kindness.

Here’s the full description:

With America currently as divided as ever and more people being targeted by bias, bullying and hatred, both online and offline, the goal of the “Being an Ally Game Jam” is to reinforce and encourage positive behavior towards others through video games. The games developed as part of this Game Jam will be a tool to help explore and illustrate what it means to be an ally — both for the people developing the games and for the people playing and spreading the word about them afterwards.

Participating developers are encouraged to incorporate elements from “Be An Ally: Six Simple Ways.”  Games will be reviewed by the ADL based on how well these behaviors are included (at least 2 specific ally behaviors must be included), as well as overall creativity and playability. Teams will be formed during the start of the event.

The winning team will receive a $2,500 cash prize, an 8-week course in game engine Unity or Unreal, and membership into the International Game Developers Association. Their game will also be showcased at ADL’s Never is Now summit in San Francisco in November, with the winning team will be invited. Other prizes include a Nintendo Switch and SNES Classic Edition.

The “Being an Ally Game Jam” will run from Saturday, October 21 to Sunday, October 22 in Austin, TX; New York, NY; Oakland, CA; and Santa Barbara, CA. Interested developers can register here.