Did you know that actor/comedian Robin Williams was an avid gamer? Williams even went as far as naming his daughter Zelda after the popular video game character. The actor was also a fan of popular multiplayer games like World of Warcraft, Call of Duty, and Halo, which led to a few lucky encounters for fellow gamers who ended up teamed up with the celebrity. As he was with people he met in real life, Mr. Williams was down to earth and relatable towards the people he met online.

With Williams’s death the gaming community feels the loss of one of its own. The actor was an excellent advocate for the gaming hobby. He discussed the positive things gaming brought into his life in interviews and highlighted the ways gaming engaged his mind and kept him connected to younger generations. Blizzard has announced plans to memorialize the actor within World of Warcraft.

In many ways, Robin Williams was the model gaming parent Pixelkin.org encourages parents to be. Williams shared games with his children, and they grew closer through gaming together. Interviews with Zelda Rae Williams in particular show that video games were a medium through which she and her father bonded. Zelda Williams speaks fondly of working through the puzzles found in the series she was named after, in contrast to her father, who was fond of digging for secret passages or hidden items. Videos of the father and daughter show the two engaged in games together—laughing, looking over one another’s shoulders, and providing suggestions or commenting on the story.

When I received news of Mr. Williams’s death, I discussed with my friends and colleagues what we could do observe the loss of such an impactful celebrity and fellow gamer. I wanted to find something that really celebrated what Robin Williams found important in his life. Mr. Williams was as passionate about charity work as he was about acting or games. He was a strong advocate for St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, in particular, where he regularly hosted fundraisers and met with patients. Zelda Williams has thanked supporters for donating to St. Jude’s in her father’s name.

Recently my nephews, my father, and I played some of the newest Legend of Zelda game, the HD re-release of The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker on Wii U. During this tri-generational gameplay, I realized that I was not nearly as up on my Zelda lore as I thought. I have decided to pick up a copy of the original Legend of Zelda so I can be better prepared to talk about the stories of Zelda, Link, and the land of Hyrule when I next see my folks. I decided to also donate to St. Jude’s Hospital in Robin Williams’s name. I felt this was the best way to honor his memory.

It made me feel better to spend time with my family gaming in memory of Robin Williams. I strongly encourage others to spend some time with their families gaming or watching some movies together and donating in Mr. Williams’s name.

Linda Breneman

Linda Breneman

Linda learned to play video games as a way to connect with her teenaged kids, and then she learned to love video games for their own sake. At Pixelkin she wrangles the business & management side of things, writes posts as often as she can, reaches out on the social media, and does the occasional panel or talk. She lives in Seattle, where she writes, studies, plays video games, spends time with her family, consumes vast quantities of science fiction, and looks after her small cockapoo. She loves to hear from people out there. You can read more about her at her website, Linda Breneman.com or her family foundation's website, ludusproject.org.