The 2008 Child's Play charity effort was once again a huge success, smashing the previous year's figure and almost doubling its goal for the year.
Child's Play raked in $1,434,377 for 2008, a good step up from the 2007 total of roughly $1.3 million, an impressive figure in itself. But the total for the year is somewhat arbitrary because, as Penny Arcade's Tycho Brahe pointed out, "people won't stop giving." As a result, he was forced to simply pick a moment at which the 2008 campaign ended and the 2009 effort began.
Prior to this year's edition of the Child's Play Charity Auction, Penny Arcade President of Operations and Business Development Robert Khoo downplayed expectations, saying the tough economic conditions could make it difficult to match the previous year's success. "Despite receiving $1.3 million in donations last year, we know the economic landscape is pretty volatile, so we'd be ecstatic if we hit our $750,000 goal for 2008," he said. His concerns proved unfounded: The auction raised $200,000, approaching the 2007 mark of $225,000 and pushing the year's take over the $1 million mark.
"Being the voice of a successful charity is actually quite strange, because typically when one is in this position they must constantly gesture at the machinations of a grim universe, and say this, this is what we are up against," Tycho wrote on Penny Arcade. "There is never any need, here. You never give me an opportunity to indulge in dark imagery. You simply make light."
Child's Play was founded in 2003 by Gabe and Tycho of Penny Arcade to raise funds for the Seattle Children's Hospital, and at the same time demonstrate that gamers are good people and not "ticking time bombs just waiting to go off" as they're so often depicted in the media. The initial result was a runaway success, raising over $250,000 in donations; in the five years since, the charity has grown to support 60 hospitals in the U.S., Canada, U.K, Australia, New Zealand and even Egypt. Along with individual gamers, the industry itself has also got behind Child's Play in a big way, donating exclusive items for the Charity Auction and releasing products like the PAX 2008 Collection Pack for Rock Band.
2008 is in the books but events for 2009 are already being lined up. Beginning on January 20, Sony is launching a month-long Child's Play fundraising campaign in Everquest and Everquest 2, while the Wordplay Hip-Hop and Videogames Charity Event is slated for March in Philadelphia and the almost-famous Nerdapalooza is scheduled for July. Can the Desert Bus be far behind?