Ready Player Two
The recent release of the Xbox Series X and Playstation 5 ushered in a new era of next generation video game consoles. Over the past several months, thousands of lucky gamers have unboxed, unwrapped, or unsealed their new consoles and experienced the joy of owning a brand new video game console. Whether they squealed with excitement, stared in stupefied amazement, or ran to the TV to immediately set it up, it’s safe to say that kids of all ages get excited about video games.
I’ll never forget opening my first console, the Nintendo GameCube, and the pure, unbridled joy that overwhelmed me. The launch of the Xbox Series X and Playstation 5 means that thousands of Americans will be plugging in their brand new consoles, but it also means that the older generation of consoles will start to gather dust.
Instead of cluttering your shelves with those old consoles, why not consider donating your gently used console and video games to a child that needs it. Goodwill, The Salvation Army, and Family Shelters are great places to consider re-gifting old video games. Additionally, a lot of gamers are donating their retired consoles to Children’s Hospitals. These donations provide relief and entertainment for the kids who need it the most, and there are several organizations out there that will help your old games and consoles find their “Player Two.”
Video games give people a way to step outside of themselves and interact with a world beyond their immediate surroundings. They provide an opportunity to slay monsters, help the needy, and explore faraway fantastic planets, but they also allow people who are sick or otherly-abled the opportunity to run down the soccer pitch and score a goal, to compete against people across the globe, or to work cooperatively with their friends.
For people suffering from pain or illness, games – and particularly video games, are an excellent distraction and positive stimulation. Knowing that they’ll be able to sit back and lose themselves in a game gives them something to look forward to after a long day of tests, treatment, or therapy. Luckily, there are some great gamers out there connecting young hospital patients with toys and games, because every kid deserves a chance to play.
The Gamers Outreach Foundation started as a bunch of highschoolers who loved competitive gaming. When the city shut down one of their Halo 2 tournaments as a “Public Health Hazard,” these teens set out to prove that video games could be a force for good. They started accepting donations and used video game equipment to deliver games to C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital of Ann Arbor, Michigan.
After 6 months of volunteering, they knew they could do more. They developed their GO Karts, which are wheelable carts containing a monitor, two controllers, and a video game console. These GO Karts zip down the hallway, and each kart provides relief and entertainment to about 8 children a day or 2,920 per year. These karts are easily disinfected and contain everything a child needs to pick up a controller and start playing.
The second controller on the GO Kart is part of the Gamers Outreach second big initiative, Player Two. This initiative looks for volunteers to go down to their local children’s hospital and play side by side with the kids. Volunteers can use the equipment the hospital already has, or they can bring their own games and gear, so you can spend hours playing your favorite, age appropriate, game and bring joy to a child who needs it.
Player Two provides children with a buddy to play cooperatively with or a rival to challenge them, and gives gamers of any age an opportunity to give back. Moreover, it’s a great way for children to connect with someone during the hectic business hours, when their family might not be able to be with them. Almost everyone could use another gaming buddy. If you don’t have the time right now, but you do have an old console gathering dust or a stack of games you don’t play, then donate them to Gamers Outreach and they’ll make sure they land in good hands.
“The thing that changed me forever, though, wasn’t the surgery, it was the game cart,” Jessica shared to Child’s Play. “Every time I had to get up for physical therapy, I knew the Nintendo would be my reward when I returned.” Child’s Play is a charity based in Redmond, Washington that connects children in hospitals with toys, games, and gifts. After successfully setting up an Amazon Wishlist for the patients at Seattle Children’s Hospital, they raised over $250,000 in their first year.
Child’s Play currently provides fun and games for a network of 180 hospitals around the globe, and more than 200 domestic violence shelters. The map of their supported hospitals lets you find a children’s hospital in your favorite city, hometown, or dream destination and donate items on the children’s wishlist. These toys, games, and consoles go straight to the children, and they get to experience the pure joy of playing again.