What started out as just a goof and a slight against one Graham Linehan, turned into one of the most spectacular and genuinely heartwarming moment in Twitch’s history.
Thank you all. So much. I didn't plan for this, and I never could have done. A lot of more specific thanks are in order when I can get to them, but first and foremost for the sake of best keeping track, donate from now directly to @Mermaids_Gender athttps://t.co/HvVtlEd5j4
— H.Bomberguy (@Hbomberguy) January 21, 2019
A little bit of an explanation first. Hbomberguy, or Harris Bomberguy or The High Priest of Sobek The Lord of Sperm (it’s a joke that requires more setup than I have space for) is a British gaming YouTuber and streamer with quite a bit of following (about 300000 subs). He focuses on hyper-analyzing games via video essays in the style popularized by the likes of Lindsey Ellis, but with a generous coating of self-referential irony about his work. He’s also not afraid to veer into charged, political subjects like LGBT rights, immigration and raising prominence of white supremacist movements.
In his video about speed-runs which garnered a lot of positive attention, Hbomber talked at lengths about Donkey Kong 64, a cult classic Nintendo 64 game, which boasts a tremendous amount of collectible items and due to an oversight it’s actually possible to reach 101% level of completion with it. Achieving that, however, can take upwards of 40 hours. Hbomberguy pledged, initially as a joke, to livestream the whole process.
To make it a bit more exciting, the YouTuber decided to donate all the profits from the livestream to Mermaids UK, a small but very active organizations devoted to supporting trans people, especially children, and help them and their parents cope with their situation. He chose this particular organization after being made aware of Graham Linehan’s, a British comedian, ongoing crusade against trans rights and his conflict with Mermaids.
Initially Hbomber did not expect much support, it was supposed to be lighthearted fun, but by the end of the stream which took over 50 hours, he and his friends managed to collect over 340 000$. Yes, you’re reading that right, over a third of a million dollars. By the time of publishing this, the stream has ended, but you can still donate to Mermaids if you feel inclined to (the second part of the stream is below, for the full thing visit Hbomb’s Twitch channel).
This wasn’t only possible due to fervent devotion to the cause his fans had shown, but also due to the fact that several high-prominence guests made an appearance during the stream. Among them was Grant Kirkhope, a legendary composer and the voice of, among others, Donkey Kong himself, and most characters in Banjo Kazooie and Conker’s Bad Fur Day. Another one was John Romero, the creator of DOOM and Quake.
At one point during the stream, when it accrued well over 200000$, none other than Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez joined the stream to voice her support for trans rights from the American continent. Yes, THE Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, congresswoman for the 14th New York district (you may have heard about her historical victory in the primary elections). Her appearance came as a total surprise to all parties who at first couldn’t even believe it was really happening.
Nobody ever expected, in their wildest dreams, the stream to be that successful. When it reached its 75 000$ goal, Hbomber was elated, but as it kept on going and going without showing any sign of stopping, it slowly began to dawn on everyone just how much support there is for trans rights.
So why am I telling you all this? At first glance, one might think that a stream by a YouTuber playing a very old console game to raise money for charity, lies somewhat outside of the scope of gaming. But one would be wrong to assume so, as Hbomber’s stream demonstrates by itself.
While the end-result was charity, people joined because they wanted to see Harris complete Donkey Kong 64. They joined, because in his words: speed-running is awesome. The passion for games which we all share managed to, for a brief period of some 50 hours, unite all of us, not in an internet argument about historical accuracy or publisher skulduggery, but towards a good, wholesome cause.
And another thing to mention is that the people who joined Hbomb in his efforts are some true legends of the gaming industry. People who built our hobby from the grounds up to be what it is today. The giants on whose shoulders we’re all standing. People who the developers of today try to emulate. And it has to be said: they support trans rights.
I don’t know about you, but my faith in humanity was restored. All I can say is: godspeed Hbomb. And go get some sleep, you earned it. Hail Sobek.