Gregory Weaver

So Everyone Can Game

FREE PLAY vgm/jazz festival supports ablegamers!

On August 31, 2019, five video game music/jazz bands from around the world participated in Free Play, the world's first online video game music/jazz festival. The festival streamed on Twitch from 6-11pm Eastern time.

Alongside Free Play we ran a GoFundMe campaign in support of the artists and AbleGamers. While we came up short of our goal of $3,000, we raised a massive $1,706 from 29 extremely generous donors. After fees were calculated in, that ended up being $50/person for all participating artists and $750 for AbleGamers!

While the show's sets are no longer on Twitch, you can view the archived videos on YouTube here (as of writing, there are still more releases to come!). The bands that participated were:

  • VGM Collective (New York)
  • 8-Bit Jazz Heroes (California)
  • Nice! Edmond is Super Sumo-wrestler (Tokyo)
  • The Consouls (Sydney)
  • The Hard Modes (Virginia)

For more information about the bands and the show, visit the event's website here.

One of the reasons that I was inspired to choose AbleGamers as our charity for this event was because of one of my best friends, Justin. Justin lost his sight when he was in middle school, but before that he was an avid gamer. When we met at the jazz program at Governor's School for the Arts in Norfolk, VA, in high school, we bonded over our love for video games and video game music.

Every person should be afforded the opportunity to create lasting memories and forge unbreakable bonds through gaming. That is why AbleGamers inspires me, and why I was so excited that we could support it through this event.

Free Play was a huge success and I look forward to organizing another one in 2020. Hopefully we can raise even more money for AbleGamers in years to come!

Below is some great information that AbleGamers provided as a default description on this page:

A disability can cause isolation, even in a room of people. Nothing tears down that wall faster than a shared experience, be it a love of cars, or a love of Forza. Unfortunately, for many people with disabilities, the pure joy and social experiences that videogames offer is financially out of reach. AbleGamers provides hardware, often extensively customized to the individual, at absolutely no cost to the recipient.

Did you know

  • One in five Americans has a disability.
  • More than 10 Million US Veterans under the age of 60 are disabled.
  • Students with disabilities have lower rates of participation in after school activities, leading to decreased socialization and leadership development.
  • Depression, often brought on by the social isolation many people with disabilities face, is one of the most common “secondary conditions” associated with disability
  • The cost of custom accessibility controllers is often more than $400. This is in addition to the normal costs of gaming hardware.

By donating today, you and I can help AbleGamers fund the cost of technology and outreach programs that empower people with disabilities to define who they are and re-enter the social space gaming provides.  It’s about more than just the entertainment value of gaming, it’s about making lifelong connections and joining the social fabric provided by virtual worlds. Worlds where everyone is equal.

Thank you!