Smashing Records

Video game marathon raises funds to help kids develop their own games

After 55 hours of playing Super Smash Bros in support of inner-city kids, Daniel Bergman isn’t done with the game. 

“I am going to take a little bit of a break, but I don’t think I’m sick of it at all. The re-playability goes as far as whether or not people are willing to play the game with me,” Bergman says. 

Throughout his gametime, more than two days in total, others picked up a controller next to him, but no one else participated in the Guinness World Record breaking video game marathon. 

Bergman needed a shift of people to verify to Guinness how long he played and that he took no more than a 10-minute break for every hour played. 

The feat raised more than $1,000 for Geekdom House’s next big project which will prepare Winnipeg inner-city youth for a career in video game development. 

“This record in particular was something that a long time ago my friends and I had talked about,” Bergman says. 

Looking into it, they realized that it wasn’t worth doing this just for themselves, so they decided to find a cause to raise money for, preferably something that related to video games. 

Bergman says he had heard about Geekdom House, but didn’t know much about the Christian geek group. After learning about its upcoming project to teach inner-city youth to develop their own video games, he was sold. 

“There was a program in the city that used to make race cars,” Geekdom House Admiral and Founder Kyle Rudge says. 

Through this program, youth gained mechanical skills and something for their resume. 

“We thought, hey, what if we were able to do this with video games?” Rudge says. “It’s a great way for them to tell their own story.” 

It’s also one of the few ways they could get into the industry, which has become particularly difficult. 

Geekdom House’s Canada Helps page says video game companies want to know potential employees understand the industry from start to finish, so they ask if they have games they’ve taken to market. 

“The problem is that video game developer schools are a dime a dozen now and churn out such varied skill levels that on a resume, it is difficult to gauge their ability. A program like this takes a game from concept to creation to market and youth in the program have a clear head-start over their peers in breaking into this industry,” it reads. 

Rudge was completely behind Bergman’s recording-setting game nights. 

“It was just a lot of fun. It was a great way to engage with a different demographic,” Rudge says. 

However, Bergman’s sleepless nights didn’t raise all the money needed to get the project going. 

Rudge says they’ll need to buy computers, software and other pricey equipment before launching in fall 2017. 

For now, Geekdom House is still asking for donations at canadahelps.org. 

Published in Volume 71, Number 1 of The Uniter (September 8, 2016)

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