Gaming For A Cause: Gamer’s Journey Helps Many
Any time there is a comic convention; there is never a shortage of energy and enthusiasm from its patrons. Thousands upon thousands of people swarmed the halls of the Tampa Convention Center to immerse themselves into milieu of gaming, movie, and television culture.
I remember when I went to my first Comic Con in San Diego back in 1997, and it was not nearly the culmination of what it is today. Sure you had a large convention hall, various vendors, and a couple of celebrities, but it still paled in comparison of today’s spectacle.
Being an avid gamer myself, I relish in having such a large conduit for other gamers to come together and have a good time. In one of the Tampa Convention Center’s many conference rooms, I could not help but notice that an organization had set up dozens of televisions with various gaming consoles, alongside some old school arcade cabinets, and pinball games.
This looked like my kind of crowd.
After a few minutes of perusing some of the wares that were for sale, the man who had made this magical setup happen–Angel Miranda greeted me. He had noticed that I had been staring in bewilderment at what looked like a giant Styrofoam missile. “That’s an official prop from the Hunger Games movie” he would go on to inform me.
Some lucky fan was going to win that in a raffle later on in the evening.
Miranda handed me a business card that read “Gamers on the Edge” and his fascinating story had begun to unfold.
“When we started doing this, my wife and I had literally both lost our jobs on the same day. We lost our house, we lost our car, and we lost everything,” Miranda said. “We hopped around for a couple of years, but when this first happened, we started raising money for our children’s hospital through gaming. It kind of helped us get our eyes off of the mess we were in and kind of focused on somebody else.”
This was the start of their journey, which would lead them to their noble and charitable cause. With his wife and 2 children, they had stayed with their father for a time before settling in Newport Richey.
Raising money for charity through gaming isn’t necessarily a new idea.
One of the most successful charities called “Games Done Quick” streams an annual summer event called “Summer Games Done Quick” in which professional gamers play popular games that they would try to beat in the fastest time possible. They raised a staggering $1.3 million dollars for Doctors Without Boarders in 2016.
Miranda’s fundraising start was a little more modest.
“In the first year we donated $233, we literally lost our house, we lost everything because my wife and I lost our job on the same day,” he said. “We were able to go to somebody else’s house because we didn’t have one, and just play. Half of it was board games and half of it was video games and we would just slap it on Facebook every so often with pictures saying, hey look were still playing, donate another dollar, and people would just go online and donate.”
So how does one go about raising money for hospitals by playing video games?
Miranda had a pretty simple explanation.
“It’s a lot like what you would do in a walk-a-thon. So instead of saying ‘please donate dollar for every mile you walk’ you say ‘donate a dollar for every hour I play,’” he said. “So you do a 24 hour game-a-thon, and that’s how you raise money. The money goes directly to the hospital, so you don’t even need to touch the money, you don’t need to have a big elaborate thing. Even the credit card fees are waived.”
With tens of thousands of potential donors flowing through the convention halls at the Tampa Comic-Con, Gamers On The Edge is sure to get a heavy dose of exposure and good will.
Their next event will be the Pinellas Comic and Maker Con at the SPC Seminole Campus located at 9200 113th St N from 10 am – 5 pm. For more event info and how to donate, you can visit Angel’s website www.GamersOnTheEdge.com.