Crispy Gamer

Kotaku Fund Raiser Fun


Life on the battlefield we call Internet Game Journalism is a cold, harsh existence. But for one night I was able to crawl out of the trenches and shake hands with the enemy to help the kids.

In an annual traditional, Kotaku’s Brian Crecente threw a big game nerd party that has come to be known as: The Kotaku Child's PlayFundraiser. Or as we like to call it in Denver: The One Cool  Videogame Thing That Happens Here, Rather Than In Some Snooty Place Like San Francisco or Brooklyn.

The even went down in a perfectly dingy, grungy and epic Cervantes Masterpiece Ballroom. This building used to be one of the crown jewels in Denver’s dance hall history. And now it’s a place plastered with concert posters and black paint apparently trying to hold back the grime. Oh, and it has the most excellent disco ball you have ever seen. I would say it is more like the Death Star of disco balls.

In addition to Brian’s magnetic personality and flowing pirate locks, and a full rock stage set up with Rock Band and DJ Hero, the Fund Raiser attracts game fans with the promise of winning schwag.

Ah schwag, that magical crap that game publishers send to journalists in an effort to tease out a little sympathy, buy a little extra attention and make you wonder things like—If they spent less on the schawg and more on the development if the game would suck less.

But schwag it is and schwag the Kotaku empire collects. Mounds of it. Heaps up it. Piles and piles of t-shirts, toys and bric-a-brac of every imaginable type.

And all you need to do to win is show up, donate $10 at the door and get a little ticket.

For me, it was a magical night of winning. I’ve been to all three Fund Raisers, and never won a thing. You’d think that I wouldn’t want to win schwag. But I do. I wanted to win bad. And this year….I won! In fact, I won one of the coolest things given away that night: A limited edition Modern Warfare 2 Xbox 360! A 360 I tell you!

Problem is, I have a 360. And the other problem is, I just couldn’t see how I could justify keeping or selling some ridiculously expensive piece of schwag. So, I did the only thing I could think of at the moment:

I sold it to a guy in the crowd for $300. All the profit, like all the money raised that night, went directly into the Child’s Play charity bucket.

Combine that with probably 300 plus people donating at thedoor and a silent auction that brought in well over $1,000 (I mean it had to, a collector’s edition of Uncharted 2 sold for $1,000 on its own. I guess it’s worth even more on eBay—so says somebody’s iPhone), and you get a tidy pile of cash for a good cause.

I’m already looking forward to hitting the Kotaku event next year. It’s a great chance to hang out with game fans and local developers (And,yes, there are a bunch of devs in Denver! Sony Online, ever hear of them? Oh, and the guys doing this seriously cool outer space MMO Jumpgate, and the Lego Universe guys? Lot’s going on in Colorado, let me tell you).

Most of all, Brian deserves a ton of applause for putting this party together each year, out of his own pocket and time. Even if he works for those other guys.