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<i>Penny Arcade</i> launches Child's Play 2004

The Web comic creators are once again ready to mobilize charitable gamers, this time to benefit five different children's hospitals across the nation.


The creators of the popular video gaming Web comic Penny Arcade announced today that their second annual charity event, Child's Play 2004, has officially launched. The event asks readers of the Web site to donate toys and video games to five children's hospitals through "wish lists" on the online retailer

The original Child's Play charity drive, held at this time last year, saw success far beyond its founders' wildest expectations. Jerry "Tycho" Holkins, who writes the dialogue for the thrice-weekly comic strip, attributed the success to the ease of shopping on the Internet. "[I thought] that a lot more people would give if we just made it easy to do so, and since many people who spend a lot of time online have an account anyway, repurposing their wish list system seemed like the best way to go about it," he said. "What [the Internet] has done is remove the barriers to impulsive acts of generosity. When clicking a couple of times amounts to an act of genuine compassion, you can find Good Samaritans everywhere."

And Penny Arcade found plenty of them. Gamers donated about $230,000 in toys and games, and $27,000 in cash, to the Seattle Children's Hospital. Although all sorts of toys were on the lists, much of the haul was made up of video game systems and games. The crew of Penny Arcade and their family and friends unpacked and delivered all the toys themselves.

"There were a couple of weeks where it was us and a few friends with boxes to the ceiling, cracking open toys for 10 straight hours without making a dent," Holkins said. "At the time, we were just trying to manage the influx. [The toys] kept coming for a couple of months past Christmas, spilling into the living room and displacing furniture."

The four new hospitals joining Seattle Children's Hospital on the list are located in Oakland, San Diego, Houston, and Washington DC. The hospitals are part of a nationwide charitable-giving network that extends across the US and into Canada. Penny Arcade hopes to continue adding hospitals to Child's Play each year until all the organizations are represented.

For more information about Child's Play, visit the official Web site.

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