The current coronavirus pandemic is causing untold stress and suffering for millions, but in the UK, something is being done to make life a little easier for the brave and committed health staff who are on the frontline of the crisis.
NHS workers in the UK are being gifted access to over 85,000 video games as a way of saying thank you for their commitment to safeguarding the health of the nation. Studios such as EA, PQube, Rare, Developer, Konami and Sega have signed up for the "Games for Carers" initiative, allowing NHS staff to play games during their "well-earned downtime" or use them to "provide relief for their families."
To take part, NHS workers have to visit the dedicated Games for Carers website and enter their NHS email address. According to the BBC, demand was so high that the site collapsed shortly after going live, but it's back up at the time of writing.
Who is the person behind this noble campaign? None other than renowned games journalist and veteran Nintendo Life contributor Chris Scullion, who floated the idea on Twitter before it gained support from the likes of UK games body Ukie and video game marketing platform Keymail.
We spoke to Chris about the venture, and he told us:
It started about a month ago when one of my Twitter followers gave me a spare Switch code they had and said I could do a giveaway. Someone else suggested giving it to an NHS worker, which I thought was a great idea, but three or four got in touch requesting the code, so I had to let some of them down.
I started thinking that it would be great to get a handful of codes to give out to more NHS workers, so I reached out to my contacts in the games industry and ended up teaming up with Ukie and Keymailer. The whole thing grew arms and legs in the most amazing way and now what I'd hoped would be a few hundred codes has become 85,000 codes at launch from around 65 UK publishers.
Ukie CEO Dr Jo Twist has praised the way the industry has united to support health workers, saying:
Games companies of all sizes and players everywhere recognise their exceptional dedication and hope this initiative goes some way to help them to understand how respected and valued they are.