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.
Great work Chris. You are a credit to both the gaming industry and it's community.
Well done, Scully. Top work
Really splendid work Chris. I work in the NHS and I know we all really appreciate the love and support forthcoming right now. 🙏
Fantastic work, just a shame social media was immediately full of...
"What about social carers?"
"What about postal delivery workers?"
"What about truck drivers?"
"What about supermarket workers?"
On a practical level opening it up to those with an NHS email address is much easier/quicker and less labour intensive than opening it up to any key worker and getting them to submit evidence of their job. You have to draw a line somewhere.
Brilliant initiative. Mon the hoops.
Scully - top stuff mate
Your a legend mate, thanks for your amazing hard work.
As an NHS frontline worker I cant say enough thanks for this. I havent claimed my free game yet as when I went on the site it said all Switch games had gone for the day. I will try again tomorrow, does anyone know if Animal Crossing or Pokemon Sword are usually available?
Thank you very much to all parts involved, specially Chris
As a nurse working in Seattle, I love this. It's nice to get the recognition. Getting free coffees and meals since this whole thing started feels good. I still get the occasional crazy person asking if 5G towers started it or that I'm part of the whole "conspiracy", but overall it's really nice.
I had heard but have since forgotten about this. I've just signed up for it, thank you to all involved.
This is beautiful.
While I think this is awesome, from what I have heard these people don't exactly have time to relax. Most appear to be working 10-12 hours every day. And I know from my family friend who is a nurse that even a "calm" day is exhausting work.
These people are the heroes we should be thanking, not politicians or celebrities.
Thanks for all the kind words, everyone.
@Heavyarms55 I completely agree: many NHS workers are working crazy hours and don't have a minute to themselves. The good thing about giving them a game is that they can redeem it now and it'll be sitting there waiting for them when this all blows over.
I appreciate this brings up the question of why we didn't just wait until the pandemic ended before launching this campaign, but we figured that many workers also have kids who aren't seeing them as much because of the long hours they work, so they may want to pick a game for their kids instead to keep them entertained.
@scully1888 Now that's something I did not consider. Yeah, they can choose a game for their kids to play and then enjoy it themselves once normalcy returns - or at least something more calm.
I didn't mean it like they should wait to do it either. I just thought that it would be something they wouldn't be able to enjoy - possibly for a long time.
@ivory_soul People are stupid. Real corruption and cover ups go on in most governments and yet people are believing such preposterous nonsense instead of demanding more action about real issues. Apparently 5g towers are being damaged due to it. Anyway, keep up the good work.
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