FOR anyone feeling guilt at those lengthy gaming sessions which last through the small hours of the morning and continue long past the postman’s knock, it is the ideal way to do some good.
Players from across the country as well as some of the biggest developer names in the world have pledged support to a charity gaming marathon being held this weekend.
Now in its fourth year, Sick Kids Save point has raised more than £50,000 for the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Edinburgh, as gamers pledge to raise sponsorship and sit through a gruelling 24-hour session in front of their chosen title.
Rockstar North, the Edinburgh developers of Grand Theft Auto V, are longstanding supporters of the initiative, and have donated a four figure sum every year since its inception. This year, they are also offering an array of GTA V prizes to those taking part, with several staff from the studio also participating.
The charity gameathon is organised by Edinburgh actor, Tom Freeman, who was nominated for a Sick Kids award earlier this year for his efforts.
“I’m delighted that our local heroes have yet again come up with the goods when supporting a crucial local hospital, which treats kids from all over the country.” he said
“We’ve had support from many of the numerous local games companies and some further afield, but Rockstar North have been consistent in their generosity. Many of Rockstar’s employees even take part.”
Playing games for 24 hours, Freeman admits, is not easy, and can turn even the most entertaining game into a slog. He advises anyone participating to put down their controller on a occasion. “Go outside, smell a flower, make a sandwich,” he adds.
Also supporting this year’s Sick Kids Save Point marathon are Swedish company Paradox Interactive, NIS America, Finnish company Ludocraft and Scottish website Calm Down Tom, all of whom have donated prizes. The event also enjoys the support of the Scottish Games Network.
For many taking part, the prospect of blistered thumbs is all too real. Scott Murdoch, however, is facing an even greater challenge.
The 30-year-old from Glasgow will run a marathon through the city while playing a Nintendo DS. “The training has been pretty brutal,” he said. “When I’ve been out with my DS, I’ve been playing Mario Kart, and the performance has been pretty dodgy, I’ve been crashing into walls a lot.”
Another title he intends to play on the day is Pokemon Diamond which, crucially, does not require a stylus. “It’s ideal for running and playing,” he explained
Murdoch’s parents and friends will also be running sections of the marathon to guide him on his way through the city. It is a route that will take in Cardonald, Pollok Park, Queen’s Park. Glasgow Green, the city centre, Kelvingrove Park, and then back to the southside.
Already, Murdoch has raised over £600. While some people think the fundraising effort is “completely mad,” he has been greatly encouraged by the reaction.
“The way Tom organises the event helps change the perception of gamers a wee bit,” he added. “We’re not all just sitting on couches playing games, and that’s why I wanted to run through the city rather than do it on a treadmill.”
The Sick Kids Friends Foundation is a registered Scottish charity that raises around £1.5 million every year to help children and families at the Edinburgh Sick Kids Hospital.