You know what I think would be great? If gamers stopped being so damn selfish, collectively removed themselves from their couches for once, and used all that energy they spend playing games for the betterment of mankind. Wait, no, I don't think that, the Red Cross thinks that, or at least that's the implication given by their latest ad. The reason I don't think that? Gamers are are spending time, money, and effort to make the world a better place to live, and we're doing it with the thing we most love, games.
Now I'll be the first to admit that I can get a little reactionary when it seems like someone that isn't "hip to the lingo" is using games as a scapegoat or device in their advertising to drive people to action. And this ad by the Lebanese Red Cross is really clever, well designed, and is ultimately advocating something that I am behind 100%, but lumping gamers into the mix to make their point because it's convenient causes exactly what they're trying to avoid to occur; it's a divisive message and is going to make those of us sensitive to this kind of thing less likely to lend aid to their cause.
Thankfully, those of us that are now unwilling to lend aid to the Red Cross are likely still involved in any number of the multitude of charitable organizations run by and for gamers and the rest of the world. There are organizations such as Child's Play which donates games, books and toys to sick children across the world, Folding@Home which can be run in the background on a PC or a PS3 and distributes computer processing across the globe in order to better understand the evolution of viruses, or Gifts From Gamers which sends consoles, games, DVDs, CDs, books and magazines to soldiers currently stationed on the front lines. That last one is interesting considering the International Red Cross' roots are in assisting soldiers during war time. Seems the Lebanese Red Cross is a little late in their appeal, we've been on point helping those that need it for years now, especially soldiers.
Again I'd like to state that I don't disagree with the Red Cross' underlying message, we should be saving the world for real. The world is a horrible place full of violence, illness, tragedy, and horror, and we as human beings have a responsibility to put an end to that. The thing is though, we are, and we have been for a long time without any other unifying factors in place except that we all enjoy gaming and we aren't the shallow, thoughtless gang that we're often painted as. Take a look at gamers as a whole and you'll find an incredibly diverse group of people, a group that has put aside any differences it might have in order to help those in need. How many other charitable organizations can you think of whose members ignore the boundaries of race, age, gender, sexuality, and religion simply so they can give aid and make the world a better place to sit on your couch for hours at a time, seemingly doing nothing but accomplishing so much?
We all want to help, that much is obvious, but alienating gamers isn't the best way to get that help, no matter how many ignorant cause-heads titter at your clever joke.