Nowadays it is customary to stay home to contribute to the fight against the coronavirus pandemic. Events are being canceled, non-essential services are closed and many people have become accustomed to working from home, including gamers, of course.

In this context, video games have an obvious utility: they are a form of entertainment and relaxation. But anyone who thinks that, in such difficult times, games are just for passing time, is wrong. As a matter of fact, both fans and the industry have done a lot to help fight COVID-19, whether through major actions or small gestures.

Check out 6 of the coolest initiatives fans and companies are pushing back against the disease other than just playing and making games!

1) Industry giants are donating to the cause against coronavirus

Everyone is donating money to combat COVID-19. Rockstar offered 5% of the proceeds from Red Dead Online and GTA V for efforts against the virus, while Sony set up a $ 100 million fund to donate to various organizations. 343 Industries (which makes Halo Infinite) raised $430 thousand selling t-shirts and directed the money towards donations.

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The Humble Bundle, with the collaboration of some studios, put together a game package priced at $30 and delivered 100% of the sales to donations - in one week, the package raised $ 6.5 million. Twitch conducted Twitch Stream Aid, which brought together gamers and celebrities to raise donations and they raised more than $2.7 million, including $150,000 donated by Ubisoft.

Razer adapted its factories to produce 1 million surgical masks, which were donated. Bethesda alone donated $ 1 million to different organizations, including UNICEF, which are working against the virus.

Sony's Play at Home initiative donated $10 million to indie studios that are suffering from the epidemic. CD Projekt Red (creator of Cyberpunk) donated about$1 million, to a local welfare organization.

Riot Games donated $ 1.5 million to efforts in the Los Angeles area and streamer Tyler "Ninja" Blevins donated $ 150,000 to an institution called Feeding America. The folks at Ndemic Creations, creator of the famous game Plague Inc., donated $ 250,000 to institutions.

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There is an online event that started in April and runs through June called Gamers Without Borders, organized by the Saudi Arabian Federation of Electronic and Intellectual Sports (SAFEIS). The $10 million prize will go to 12 organizations fighting the virus.

The list goes well beyond. But you get the idea.

2) A World of Warcraft server taught gamers how to protect themselves

In April, the famous server Elysium, from World of Warcraft, which is unofficial and run and managed by fans, held the event "Pandemic In Azeroth".

The idea was really great: the administrators inserted a highly contagious virus into the game. It was present only in one object. But after a player - nicknamed "patient zero" - touched it, it was loaded onto the rest of the characters and other objects as well.

Within 15 hours, 2,276 were infected. Within 24 hours, the number had jumped to 7,000. The virtual virus reached a total of 88% of the players.

There was a way to escape the virus by running away from the infected gamers and using an item called "hand soap", but clearly few people managed to stay immune. Worse, the virus caused a 5% reduction in stats and a 10% debuff in movement speed.

After the initial chaos, which served to demonstrate the risks of the epidemic, administrators reset the virus and started a series of missions related to its containment, which included wearing masks and cleaning items.

"I know we have a lot of players who are young or who don't have access to the information I have - or at least the same amount of information," said one of Elysium's administrators, Rain, to Kotaku. "I felt that I had the power to inform people and help in those times."

3) A couple who had their wedding canceled had the ceremony at Animal Crossing

A couple from New Jersey, USA had their wedding scheduled for April 12th. It would be a big ceremony for 150 guests. The COVID-19 epidemic, however, forced the pair to postpone the event until next year.

It would have been a melancholy ending if the groom, Nazmul Ahmed, had not had an unusual idea. Realizing the common taste he and the bride shared for Animal Crossing: New Horizons, he decided to make a surprise: he set up a virtual wedding on his island in the game.

The bride, Sharmin Asha, knew nothing of it. "Nazmul called me to collect resources on his island, as he has been playing for longer than me," she told the Washington Post. "As soon as I got there, he was at the airport and there were arrows on the ground. He told me that a special event was taking place in the game, so we followed them," she said.

The arrows led to a spot on the beach where a virtual wedding had been improvised. The couple's friends, who also played Animal Crossing, were all there for the event. Sharmin and Nazmul exchanged vows right there.

The whole story was told in a Reddit post that already has more than thousands of upvotes (one upvote is equivalent to a like). "It made me so happy. I don't even have words to say how much it meant to me," said the bride in the post.

4) A Japanese entity donated 100 SNES consoles to isolated children

Jarga (Japan Retro Game Association) is a Japanese group that is in charge of preserving the memory of electronic games. Created in 2011, it works to repair old equipment and create parts to preserve and restore offline machines.

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In April, the organization announced that it would donate 100 units of the SNES to confined families that had one or more children under the age of 16 at home. The consoles are all used, but have been restored and work just fine. The photo above, released by Jarga itself, shows the devices ready for shipment.

In addition to the SNES itself, the kit also included cables, a controller and two games, Final Fantasy VI and Donkey Kong Country - "both are easy to play and I believe even beginners can enjoy," Jarga said on its website.

The entity opened registrations for those interested and received no less than 54,630 requests. The 100 consoles of the chosen ones were sent at the end of April.

"I sincerely hope that I can pass on the fun of Super Nintendo to the next generation to children," said Yutaka Ishii, president of Jarga, in the statement announcing the shipment.

5) Final Fantasy XIV gamers held an online funeral for a colleague who died

Friends of an FFIV player, whose identity has not been revealed, organized a tribute for a fellow player within the MMORPG. Community players were invited to make a funeral march from Ul'dah to the Guardian Tree.

The girl's virtual name was Ferne Le'roy of Figaro National Guard FC and the funeral was held on the Zalera server.

There are several videos showing the walk from different angles on YouTube, like the one above, and a post on Reddit where more people paid tribute and were surprised by the civility and affection of the FFXIV community.

6) The industry came together to launch #PlayApartTogether

In April, 18 major companies in the video game industry joined the World Health Organization to launch the #PlayApartTogether campaign. It is an initiative to encourage the gamers community to stay at home and respect the guidelines for prevention and social distance, all through events, activities and rewards.

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There's a pun on the name. Due to the logo design, it is possible to read the campaign both as "play apart together" and "play a part together". Which has everything to do with the fact that, staying at home, gamers protect ourselves and others.

Companies like Blizzard, Riot, Twitch, Ubisoft and Zynga participated in the action, among many others. To find out what's going on, just search for the hashtag on social media.

So that's it, stay at home, play at home, wear a mask when you out to the market and help others as you can. The only way to survive COVID-19 is to work together.

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