GameChanger Day Celebrates Giving, Gaming for Children in Hospitals

GameChanger Day is a joyous occasion that represents all we hold dear as a charity. The mood is celebratory and the video games, VR, and toys are aplenty. 

More often than not, when we visit hospitals, the patients we meet are going through mental and physical strain due to the nature of the treatments they’re receiving. At each and every stop, we do our best to bring a smile to the face of the children and families we meet by supplying a break from their time in the hospital.

While we strive to bring a bit of hope to every stop throughout the Gamers Give Back Tour, there are times we feel compelled to make an extra push to create a larger than life moment. On Wednesday August 23rd, together with the good folks at Morgan Stanley Hospital in New York City, GameChanger Day was one of those moments.

Before the kids arrived in the game room, we set up an Xbox one with NBA 2K17, Minecraft, Halo 5, and LEGO Marvel Superheroes. We also had a PS4 with a Guitar Hero station ready to go so everyone could rock out as needed! Not long after we finished setting up, many different patients, along with their parents and siblings, arrived with pleasantly surprised looks on their faces. It was time to have some fun!

 

Nate, our resident VR expert, brought our virtual reality set up and shared new and exciting worlds with the children. The kids loved creating sculptures, characters and shapes using Medium. Faces across the room lit up when the kid’s realized they could create a sculpture in 3D and walk around with it. We also had the PS4 VR complete with a driving wheel and pedals with Driveclub ready to go along with Eagle Flight and Google Earth VR on our two Oculus Rift with Touch Controllers set-ups.

Sometimes, the raucous nature of a playroom at a hospital can be a bit intimidating for a child. It’s extremely important that we remain sensitive to the needs of the patients. In these cases, it’s the small things that count to make every child feel included. One of the boys we met was a bit shy and quietly mentioned to his mom that his favorite streamer had played Job Simulator in VR. We looked up the game and downloaded it on the spot. The mom and son duo, in which the young man used his right hand while his mom helped control with her left, played for 40 minutes and enjoyed every moment of it.

The hit of the showcase? A 4 Player version of Rocket League (think of it as soccer but with rocket-powered trucks) projected onto a jumbo screen! 4 kids at a time were at the helm clutching Xbox controllers while music from the awesome game soundtrack and sound effects emanated from a large state of the art speaker.  The matches were epic to say the least and culminated in the last game of the day where the kids were on a 4-player team against 4 CPUs.  The kids were down 4 points and came back in the last 90 seconds and won by a point!

A huge thanks to each and every team member on the Child Life staff at Morgan Stanley Hospital. We’re already in talks with their team on expanding our relationship to help build out their VR experience in the hospital and will be assisting with upgrading their teen lounge in the near future.

Like all of our efforts, none of this would be possible if not for the help of our amazing supporters who host the fundraisers that keep GameChanger Charity moving along. This past year, we had incredible efforts hosted by San Francisco Giants baseball star Hunter Pence and YouTube/Streamer star (and all around good guy) Markiplier. Portions of the funds raised from each of their efforts went toward making GameChanger Day a reality.

Engadget wrote a beautiful piece about the day. Check out this excerpt:

GameChanger takes just about anything that companies are willing to give, much of it being items that are just slightly too old for sale and are destined to be destroyed anyway. That includes tablets, gaming consoles, games and even marketing goods. Jim said GameChanger wasn’t allowed to bring tech on a recent trip to Cuba but was able to bring shirts and hats from gaming companies, which the children loved. “We’ll take anything that’s new, that’s excess material that can be repurposed that these families would love to have,” said Jim.

Click here to read the entire article.

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GameChanger Charity is always looking for new ways to support the children, their families, and hospital caregivers, and we can’t do it without your generous donations.