A room inside Mountain View's Hacker Dojo has been turned into the site of the third annual "Indie Games For Good" -- a marathon of independent video game playing that raises money for games and toys for kids in hospitals.
A group of gamers known as "Cloudboat Armada" has a team of over 20 gamers playing in shifts around the clock until donations stop being made. Last year the group played for 76 hours straight and raised $13,000 for the Child's Play, a group which provides games and toys to children to make their stays more enjoyable in over 70 hospitals around the world.
The video game playing and interviews with independent game developers is being broadcast live from the Dojo over the internet. Organizer Elena Churilov said video game enthusiasts from all over the world are tuning in to chat with the group and make requests for video games to play.
"IGG is an opportunity to share games and have fun, while at the same time having a real positive effect on the world," Churilov said.
"It's definitely a mutually beneficial situation," said Brendan Mauro, one of the game developers who was invited for an interview. On Friday afternoon, Oct. 18, he was able to publicize his San Francisco-based company's new game, Extrasolar, which allows players to drive a rover on a fictional planet where life is believed to exist, while uncovering the motives of "a private space agency with a shadowy past."
"We have a strong interest in science and space and we would love it if more people were interested," Mauro said of the game, which he says has many details based on NASA research. "This is our small part to assist in that."
Churilov started the event with Shamayel Daoud and Matthew Rasmussen (Rasmussen came up with the idea) three years ago, running the event inside a friend's home. Needless to say, the group is thrilled to have the Dojo's ultra-fast internet connection to allow for higher quality video streaming.
The event has plenty of publicity and interest because of the nature of the independent video game community. Independent game developers work alone or in small groups -- some "wildly successful" financially and others just working as hobbyists -- but almost always communicating with other developers or fans online. Churilov said over 50 such gamers were lined up to come and be interviewed during the event every hour between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m., for several days.
The event has a wide reach. Because the event runs around the clock, "We hit every time zone," Churilov said, so, for example, European gamers chat with the group in the middle of the night.
On Friday afternoon, the group had just passed $2,000 worth of donations, sent directly through PayPal to Child's Play. For more information, visit iggmarathon.com.