Gabe Newell Goes Down Under Thanks to Internet

| 1 Oct 2009 15:28

The saga of Gabe Newell and Australian modder Joe W-A will be reaching its finale, as the Valve president will be flying down to the Land of Oz following a fundraiser from the community that earned more than $3,000.

Hang onto your seats, folks - it's recap time! Earlier this month, Valve flew two prominent Left 4 Dead 2 boycotters out to its office to show them the game and make them eat their words. Following this, an enterprising Australian modder named Joe W-A asked Valve co-founder and president Gabe Newell why he wouldn't come Down Under to check out Joe's L4D mod. Newell replied in jest that he was boycotting the game, so Joe W-A fought fire with fire, starting a fundraiser to fly Gabe Newell down to visit and check out his game.

Within days, the passionate Valve community had raised more than $3,000 for the cause, and now it turns out that Newell will be heading to the bottom of the world after all in a show of good faith and a remarkable sense of humor. As it turns out, Valve and Newell will be ponying up the cash themselves - the $3,000 raised by the community will be donated to charity.

If you're in Australia next week, maybe you can catch a glimpse of Gabe Newell as he stops by the offices of Australian politicians with a crowbar and a copy of L4D2. Press release is below:

October 1, 2009 - Valve, creators of best-selling game franchises (such as Half-Life and Counter-Strike) and leading technologies (such as Steam and Source), today announced its studio co-founder and president, Gabe Newell, will be visiting Australia next week to meet local game designer Joe W-A, who raised over $3000 for Newell's visit through the gaming community.

The fundraising began after Joe heard that Newell had recently flown the leaders of a gaming community group boycotting Valve's upcoming Left 4 Dead 2 to Valve's Seattle, WA headquarters. Joe emailed to ask if Newell would fly him to Seattle so Joe could show him his "mod" (a PC gaming term for modifying an existing game into something new).

Newell playfully replied that he wouldn't fly Joe to Seattle because he was "boycotting" Joe's mod. The Australian-based game designer appealed to the game community for $3,000-the funds necessary to fly Newell halfway around the world-and raised the money in less than 48 hours.

"The power of the gaming community and their ability to rally around a cause - be it serious or fun in nature - is amazing," said Gabe Newell, president and co-founder of Valve. "In 2003, the community helped the FBI and European law enforcement officials find the people who stole the Half-Life 2 source code. This year, the community is putting me on a plane to the other side of the world to meet Joe W-A and see his MOD. It's going to be a fun trip."

Newell and Joe will meet in Australia next week. Reports of the trip will be posted on's blog section by Valve employee Erik Johnson, who will be traveling with Newell down under.

He's probably going to get eaten by a kangaroo. That happens all the time down there, doesn't it?

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