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    December 2, 2019

    Compassion, love, and kindness: engage in the spirit of the season

    Christmas season has come and with it this really special holiday spirit that lets us forget about ourselves and give rather than take. In this spirit we want to shed a light on special stories about compassion, altruism, and kindness from the gaming community – and put you in the giving spirit of the season.

    Although their reputation is sometimes rather bad, video games can have a tremendously positive effect on people’s lives. Not only can virtual acts of compassion, love, and kindness lift the spirits of a person who’s in need but also give a good example of how we should behave as gamers – and as human beings.

    Finding supportive friends in World of Warcraft

    An article by the New York Times features three stories of people playing Blizzard’s MMORPG World of Warcraft on Christmas. All three interviewees have friends in the online communities with whom they share a “second life”.

    One of them, Stefan Szalk, said in the interview that he’s had experienced many hardships in life. On Christmas Day, his WoW peers came online and celebrated with him as he was alone. Szalk draws much strength from the support and care of his online friends. When you think about it, his friends didn’t even do to much. Sometimes, it is just a tiny gesture that can make all the difference.

    Stories such as reported by the BBC are not a rare occurrence. Many people exchange gifts around this time, and even players from opposing factions put their quarrels aside and celebrate together peacefully. Anybody who’s played the game can relate to such stories and has experienced them – at least to some extent – on their own.

    Make love, not war

    Most First Person Shooters (FPS) are about eliminating your enemies with brutal force. The WWI shooter Verdun also belongs to this category. Its 2016 Christmas DLC called “Christmas Truce” is therefore extremely astonishing: instead of sending the player into one of the many gruesome battles during one of mankind’s bloodiest conflicts, the players re-enact the historic Christmas event in which soldiers on the Western front ceased the killing and celebrated Christmas with each other.

    In this DLC, the players get to play football, throw snowballs, write Christmas cards to friends and enemies, or engage in singing Christmas carols. For once, the game isn’t about winning a battle but just enjoying peace and harmony and spending time with other players.

    The purchase of this DLC had even a nice side effect: apart from bringing the Verduncommunity closer together, and commemorate this unique point in history, the developer M2H and Black Mill Games donated the revenues to War Child, a charity benefitting children suffering from wars today.

    Acts of kindness aren’t available on Christmas only

    While it is nice to hear about such stories around Christmas, we should all be reminded that kindness and care are not restricted to be given during the holidays. In fact, it should serve us as a reminder as to make a change to act after these principles all the time.

    In 2017, Counter-Strike streamer Adam “Loop” Bahriz was kicked from a game by his team-mates because of the way he talks. Loop is not entirely in control of his speech due to a degenerative disease caused by a condition called hereditary sensory and auditory neuropathy (HSAN), making this a very hurtful experience.

    The way he was treated triggered an outrage in the CS community and within hours 5,000 people visited his stream, not only giving him support and kind words but also donating hundreds of dollars. With the money, he was able to pay for a surgery he needed.

    Spread the joy!

    The best thing about these stories is: showing kindness is completely free and can be done without almost any effort! All it takes is some compassion and surely you will receive positive feedback right away. No matter whether you are making new friends or having an uplifting one-time encounter with a stranger in-game: it is up to you to spread a little joy in the spirit of the season.

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