Play is a charity that was started by the guys over
at target="_blank">Penny Arcade in 2003. Its aim is
to give games to sick children stuck in hospitals. Pretty good cause,
huh? Speaking as someone who's never been a sick child in a
hospital, I can't imagine how much it would suck to be in these
kids’ shoes. That's why it's imperative that anything that
can brighten their day be done.
auction attendees vied for items including the WAR Collector's Edition.
While the organization takes donations all year round, the majority of
activity happens in the months of November and December - the run up to
Christmas. The shining jewel of events for Child's Play has become the
annual Charity Auction Dinner. The dinner for 2008 was December 9th in
Seattle, Wash., and I was lucky enough to get a ticket. More
exclusive than BlizzCon, there were only 400 tickets for sale. I
managed to snag number 398 and I encourage you to compete with me for
tickets next year.
I have been to charity auctions. I have been to geek conventions of
various flavors. But I have never attended an event like this before.
Good food, wine and snazzy dresses contrast next to geeks with long,
blue-dyed hair and video game paraphernalia that's been
signatured to within an inch of being unrecognizable. The well-to-do of
Seattle chat amicably with men running around in kilts and top hats,
and even one woman with a bustled dress straight out of
The night started off with a silent auction, with many items displayed
and each person bidding on a sheet of paper nearby. Most
items came from console-based game companies, but there was a good
showing of MMO-related lots, particularly from Blizzard. A quick list
includes several beautiful pieces of art from style="font-style: italic;" href="http://www.guildwars.com"
Wars, four Blizzard-branded iPod Touches, the Echoes of War
Soundtrack, two annual subscriptions to style="font-style: italic;" href="http://wow.tentonahmmer.com/"
of Warcraft, as well as an in-game Polar Bear mount
or Murloc costume, Collector's Editions of both Wrath of the Lich King
and href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/war" target="_blank">Warhammer
Online, a complete set of WoW Miniatures.
edition WoW statue somehow made it into the auction, an item that Tycho
quickly bought for himself.
Many items sold for well above retail cost, as you would expect at a
charity auction. There were some absolute steals in the silent auction,
though. For example, that in-game Murloc costume?
Only $90. (I'm still kicking myself for not bidding on that one!)
Another interesting lot was the Warhammer
Online Collector's Edition,
which sold for $60 - about 25% below retail. There's probably a lot to
be said about that, but in a different editorial.
After the conclusion of the silent auction, dinner and the live auction
began. Led by Gabe and Tycho of Penny Arcade, just listening
to everything going on was fun enough to make me want to come again.
The more desirable lots of the night were also saved for the
live auction, including some that weren’t even listed in the
program. The deal of the night came on lot 107, a Sultan Gaming Table.
Really designed for tabletop gamers, it's every D&D and
Warhammer geek's wet dream - complete with cup holders.
Valued at almost $10,000, it sold for half that.
As far as MMO lots went in the live auction, three of them were those
super-cool ones not listed in the program. First there was the Golden
Ticket - a metal plaque entitling you to lifetime subscriptions to
several games, including but not limited to style="font-style: italic;">Warhammer
Online, href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/aoc" target="_blank">Age
of Conan and style="font-style: italic;" href="http://lotro.tentonhammer.com"
of the Rings Online. Next was what I thought was the coolest
lot of the entire night. This was no physical item, but rather Blizzard
Entertainment was offering the chance to have the auction winner be
immortalized as a hero in the World
of Warcraft Trading Card
Game. I'd love to tell you that you'd be hearing
Morvelaira the Undead Priestess sometime soon, but the bidding ended up
about $500 over my limit.
The most exclusive MMO lot of the night also came from Blizzard. An
exclusive bronze statue of an orc on his trusty warg, which was only
produced and given to developers of style="font-style: italic;">World of Warcraft -
and no, they
had no idea where it came from - sold to Tycho of all people.
I think he was as shocked as the rest of us. It provided the biggest
laugh of the night, but another auction-goer with a big heart earned
the loudest applause. No sappy speeches, but the simple cry of
"Ten thousand dollars!" earned him the accolades. His prize? Appearing
as himself in the Penny Arcade comic.
In the end friends were made, a wonderful time was had by all, and over
$200,000 was raised for children in need. If the bar on the main page
of the charity's site hasn't been updated by the time of writing, that
amount will easily put Child's Play over it's goal for 2008 of $750,000
dollars. Regardless, let's just hope that we've made a lot of children
happy, and next year we can aim even higher!
To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our World of Warcraft Game Page.