Gaming for Haiti

Early in February I started noticing signs around the MIT campus advertising a videogame marathon for Haiti. The Complete Game Completion Marathon would involve several teams working their way through various games for a weekend, and people would donate in support of the effort.

I really didn’t know what to think. It was an odd kind of charity effort, and I had mixed feelings about its methods. I wanted to know more, so I decided to do a feature on the event for GameShark. It was published today.

This was kind of an unusual piece for me. It’s rare that I do field interviews and interact face to face with my subjects, and I have to admit that it felt a little strange to be having long conversations with people whose intentions were so plainly good but whose efforts left me a little skeptical. I felt an ambivalence that they didn’t, and I knew that my piece would probably cast their marathon in a slightly different light than they would. They knew this too, of course, but this is one of the first times in my career that working as a reporter and observer left me feeling slightly uncomfortable. It’s rare that I’m writing about people, you see. Most of the time I’m covering an issue or a creative work. This time, I was observing people doing something they felt passionately about.

That’s part of the bargain, of course. In her foreword to Slouching Toward Bethlehem, Didion remarks that a writer is always selling someone out. Yet you’re also dependent on the kindness of your subjects, and their willingness to let a stranger hang out with them and observe them. But eventually, you have to write about them. And just figuring out what to say means making some judgments.

    • Spades
    • April 12th, 2010 4:47pm

    you ever been to haiti before?

    • Spades
    • April 14th, 2010 6:47am

    Yeah I have actually (before the quake). I got some family there. We ain’t got street lights(we are lucky to have electricity for one day),our government sits on its ass, and our police are corrrupt, poorly trained, and poorly equipped (some of them still have M1 Garands). So generally Haiti was shit before the quake but no one wanted to get up and help then.

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