Last year I wrote a small piece about how Drake showed up on Ninja’s stream and how it was going to propel Fortnite and video games into the mainstream. This, of course, was shortly before Fortnite started taking over everywhere. It was one of those blink-and-you-miss-it events that was big in the gaming world but led to something bigger outside of it.
Today I was planning on writing about something else, but this past weekend something similar happened and I wanted to talk a little bit about it.
This weekend H.Bomberguy, a known YouTuber who does gaming and political videos, did a stream that lasted 50+ hours of him playing Donkey Kong 64. He did it as a charity stream to support Mermaids, a British transgender activist group that had recently made the news because Graham Linehan (creater of IT crowd and other shows) put together a petition to deny them lottery funding because reasons. Because of his petition, their funding is now under review, and so as a fellow Brit H.Bomberguy decided to put together a charity event to get them some funding anyway.
He decided to play Donkey Kong 64 because it was a game from his childhood that he’d never beaten because he had a lot of difficulty with it as a child, and so he pledged to 101% the game from start to finish and take donations for Mermaids the entire time he played the game – this took somewhere around 58 hours for him to do (with naps, from what I understand) so the stream started on the 18th and finished in the wee hours of the morning on the 21st.
H.Bomberguy managed to raise $344,000 and counting for Mermaids (as while he has finished his DK64 runthrough, he and his moderators have left his stream running for the purposes of allowing as many people to donate as well – here’s a link to it if you also wish to donate.
What was surprising about this stream was how it started to take off with more mainstream political advocates. Adam Conover (from Adam Ruins Everything) and some of the casters from Chapo Trap House were on (and apparently debated the merits of a banana-based economy while H.Bomberguy played, although I haven’t watched that part myself yet). Jim Sterling (another YouTuber from Britain) was on for a little while. Chelsea Manning showed up to lend her support. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez also dropped by to talk and advocate for transgender rights, almost as a “screw you” to Aaron Sorkin’s recent comment about how young Democrats need to “grow up.”
It was a very surreal and fun stream event – at one point H.Bomberguy got stuck on a mini-game for an hour, so he ended up joining a DK64 speedrunning Discord and got tips from speedrunners to help him get through and move on towards the 101% finish. While I didn’t get to watch a majority of it, I’m sure fairly soon there will be highlights of some of the big guest moments as well as the more entertaining bits during the 58 hour stream.
I’m hoping this spearheads a greater movement in gaming towards supporting people of all races, genders, and orientations. I’m personally tired of the “asshole gamer” narrative that seems to permeate everywhere due to things like #Gamergate and high profile YouTubers being Anti-Semitic. Gaming can be a wonderful, inclusive place and also isn’t just a toy for kids – H.Bomberguy’s stream proved it, especially with the outpouring of support for him by all these other people.
That’s all I have for today – on today, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and every other day please be good to each other and treat others the way you yourself would want to be treated. It takes very little to show decency and respect to your fellow humans.
I’ll end with links to H.Bomberguy’s stream and to the Mermaids website directly, in case anyone wants to show their support.