Cambridge, Mass.; March 31, 2011 – Harmonix Music Systems, the Cambridge, Mass.-based video game developer of the best-selling Rock Band and Dance Central titles, is lending a helping hand to the Japanese community after the March 11 earthquake and aftermath that has left the country devastated by participating in game industry efforts and, thanks to one employee, even starting one of their own.
The company is participating in "Gamers Heart Japan", a 60-minute special that will premiere April 3 online and on broadcast networks G4 in the United States and Canada, SCI FI Australia, as well as Musique Plus and SPACE in Canada. Alex Rigopulos, CEO and cofounder of Harmonix, is featured in an interview on the special, which is filled with veteran game industry journalists from all over the world, as well as some of the top game makers on the planet, sharing their thoughts on the incredible work and talented creators from the Japanese videogame development scene in an effort to encourage donations to the Red Cross. Donations for The Red Cross can be made through the GamersHeartJapan.com website.
Additionally, one Harmonix employee has taken it upon himself to develop his own fundraising efforts in the video game community. Quality Assurance Lead Steven Bailey founded Healing Pack as a way for employees of Harmonix and other video game developers to help. What started as an individual effort quickly turned into an industry-wide initiative.
“When I saw the tragic disaster that hit Japan recently, I wanted to do something,” Steven said. “I knew however that I didn’t have enough money alone to make the impact I wanted. I decided to gather up all of my Harmonix swag that I had collected over my five years working there and sell it for charity. Then, I thought that maybe other game companies might also want to help, so I started sending emails and contacting other developers. I have to say that the response I got was far more supportive than I ever expected.”
In only two weeks, Steven was able to gather more than 80 auctions worth of gaming merchandize from various developers, including many items that were made available only to employees of those developers. The items will be auctioned on eBay.com, with 100 percent of the proceeds going to the Japan Earthquake and Tsunami Relief Fund - a GlobalGiving Project. Head to www.healingpack.org to see a complete list of auction items.
The auctions feature such items as an electric neon Fallout: New Vegas sign, a copy of Civilization V signed by creator Sid Meier, Deus Ex: Human Revolution concept art signed by artists, a signed Infinity Blade poster, a host of developer-signed Rock Band equipment and much more from companies like Bethesda, Majesco, The Behemoth, Blue Fang, Owlchemy Labs, Dejobaan, Irrational Games, Demiurge, TimeGate, Fire Hose, n-Space, Gearbox, Epic Games, Aspyr, QUICKHIT, Eidos Montreal, 38 Studios, Big Huge Games, Capcom, Uber Entertainment and others.
“More than 20 developers have joined this charity auction effort, and they’ve shown an amazing generosity that has made me prouder than ever to be involved in this industry,” Steven said. “A lot of the items in these auctions are rare or one of-a-kind gaming merchandise that you can only get through this effort. Beyond just getting amazing gaming swag though, you’ll be helping a great cause.”
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