How Mass Effect 3 Protesters Raised $80K for Charity
“Just chipped in some goddamn dollars”
Both Robb and Fullerton were quick to note that the Retake fundraiser is a huge community effort, and while they and a few others had a hand in pushing it off the cliff, the larger group on the BSN forums has made it fly.
Among those who found a different way to contribute was Chris Ballard, 26, a student from Rio Ranchero, New Mexico. Ballard, who said she enjoys “casually” making images in Photoshop, applied that skill to making images and posters for the Retake charity drive and the movement at large; one of which can be seen above.
“Among the threads (on the BSN), I saw one suggesting the creation of the charity drive, and I thought it was interesting — I’d never seen a charity drive spawned by protest, to a video game or otherwise, before,” Ballard said. “So I started looking into it, and thought, ‘Hey, y’know, this is a really good idea. This is going to get noticed, and besides, even if nothing changes, at least someone will get some good out of it.’ So I looked into it more, and while I was reading through the first pages — all that was there at the time — I saw that they were talking about getting a ChipIn thing set up for it, but needed some kind of mascot or poster.”
Since March 12, Ballard has created a number of images, as have several other members of the Retake community contributing to the fundraiser thread on the BioWare Social Network. Another contributor, Anna Mikl, 21, of Vienna, Austria, began creating merchandise using an image of “Marauder Shields,” a meme character that has cropped up in relation to the Mass Effect 3 ending backlash.
Riffing on the “Hope” image used in the U.S. presidential campaign of Barrack Obama, Mikl has created T-shirts and posters through Redbubble. The profits for the shirts – about 20 percent of the price – are going to Child’s Play, Mikl said.
“I saw a rather nice article about similar posters and designs and thought that this would be a perfect moment to try something similar, to boost morale, sort of,” Mikl said. “I didn’t think too much of it, till i saw that a lot of people were asking for T-Shirts or Posters. I don’t really like making profit of such things, especially during such times, so the Retake Fundraiser seemed like a pretty good idea to not only support the movement but make a few people happy and donate to charity.”
Despite an overwhelmingly positive response among the community of players sharing their issues with Mass Effect 3’s ending, the Child’s Play charity drive has drawn a lot controversy in and of itself. Some have seen the movement as an attempt to use “emotional blackmail” against BioWare – that by not meeting the demands of the players who make up the Retake group, BioWare is turning its back on the charity they support.
Some others have claimed, on Twitter and elsewhere, that the community is using sick children in hopes of meeting their goals.
That viewpoint has led to some mischaracterizations of the movement in the press, in fact. It was reported several times in the week after the fundraiser was started the members of Retake facilitating it meant to hold the money back if BioWare didn’t acquiesce to their demands.
That’s false, however.
“ChipIn allows fundraisers to track their funds, but the money goes directly to our (Child’s Play’s) Paypal account,” Dillion said. She also noted that she could not verify that funds from the Redbubble merchandise went to Child’s Play because the direct PayPal account wasn’t being used, but Redbubble does allow for profits to be passed along to charities after it takes its cut.