Retake Mass Effect Fundraiser: Why Child’s Play Shut it Down

Just hours before the Retake Mass Effect 3 community’s fundraiser for Child’s Play hit $80,000 in donations, the fundraiser was beginning to draw to a close.

“I was contacted by a representative of Child’s Play and informed that there were beginning to be negative repercussions of using the charity as a form of protest,” Robb, a computer programmer from Highlands Ranch, Colorado, and the creator of the fundraiser’s ChipIn page, told Game Front in an email. He asked that his last name not be published.

“In particular, some people who are against the Retake ME effort have written hate mail to the charity, accusing them of supporting our petition directly. (The Child’s Play representative) pointed out, and I agreed, that was a dangerous precedent to set with regard to other potential protests in the future. He was very appreciative of the incredible level of donations we were able to generate, but he very politely asked that I draw the donation drive to a close.”

Robb said he set an end cap on the fundraiser of $80,000, which was reached easily on Thursday evening; the end total raised was $80,240.

It seems that a combination of unprecedented circumstances and misinformation led to the ending of the Retake fundraiser, despite the fact that it was intended to run until April 11. By all accounts, the fundraiser has been incredibly successful, reaching the $80,000 cap in just 11 days. Members of the community responsible for the fundraiser said it gained better than $20,000 in its first 24 hours.

But backlash to the fundraiser has been almost as intense as the positive response in terms of donations. Child’s Play Project Manager Jamie Dillion said in a post on Reddit that the charity was inundated with messages regarding the movement, ranging from general inquiry to intense anger.

“For the past week or so, we’ve received quite a bit of email regarding the fundraiser,” Dillion wrote. “It ranged from those wanting to verify the legitimacy of the fundraiser (something we’re always happy to discuss!), accusing us of capitalizing on the emotions of fans, appreciation for allowing the group to unite under a positive cause — it ran the gamut in terms of sentiments.”

Confusion and Misinformation

There also seemed to be a great deal of confusion as to what Child’s Play’s role was with the fundraiser and the greater Retake Mass Effect community and movement; some donors reportedly even thought they were actually fundraising to get new endings made to Mass Effect 3. In fact, Child’s Play was never involved with any part of the RME community, except to receive money from the fundraiser. When Game Front contacted Dillion earlier this week regarding the fundraiser, she said she was unaware of it.

That’s because Child’s Play allows anyone to set up a fundraiser to donate to it, without the charity actually being involved. Using ChipIn, as the RME fundraiser did, users can set goals and track their giving, and all the money donated is funneled straight to Child’s Play’s dedicated PayPal account. But Child’s Play doesn’t have anything to do with the people who set up the fundraiser or why they set it up, or with the fundraiser’s administration. Simply put, the charity is merely on the receiving end of a pipe.

Still, Child’s Play’s lack of involvement with the Retake movement has been misrepresented and misreported in a number of places across the Internet. The appearance that Child’s Play supports an effort to change Mass Effect 3′s ending seems to have spurred powerful backlash.

Child’s Play is also in a position it has never faced, as Penny Arcade’s Jerry “Tycho” Holkins, one of the founders of the charity, pointed out in a blog post on PA’s website. Up until now, a situation like RME’s has never come up, in which the charity was tied to something decidedly political.

“This is a passionate community that formed around one thing, and some of that passion was expressed in charitable giving,” Holkins wrote. “I actually support this cause, but I am a pessimist, and I’m thinking about the next time something like this happens – when someone attaches Child’s Play to something we can’t get behind, or leverages your history of generosity and fellow feeling for their own weird bull—-. So, we need to have something like a policy on this.

“This is the best way I can think to say it: Child’s Play cannot be a tool to draw attention to a cause. Child’s Play must be the Cause.”

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29 Comments on Retake Mass Effect Fundraiser: Why Child’s Play Shut it Down

Chris

On March 23, 2012 at 6:59 pm

Just a shame when trolls flame a CHILDREN’S CHARITY because a group donates money to them. I would also like to point out that we knew that we were donating to a charity for children and in no way did we expect them to help us fund a new ending. I do not know where this guy gets his information from at all. Anyway, back to the point its pretty shameless and horrible to do that because you hate the group that represents a different opposing view than yourself. People that have committed that should be rightfully ashamed of themselves.

Kirk

On March 23, 2012 at 7:11 pm

People who think Mass Effect should have a quality ending send money to children.

People who think Mass Effect should have a horrifyingly lame ending send hate mail to those same children.

I think we all know which side is the right one.

Karson

On March 23, 2012 at 7:21 pm

While the movement itself might not have, I can understand why there would be some confusion regarding where the money was actually going to.

Many people will express angry towards the opposite side of a view they share. Of those, some will take it too far. It is just the nature of the beast. All you can do is swear to yourself you won’t become something like that, ensure that others are well aware of the facts before making a decision such as a donation, and keep your responses to anything to do disagree with civil and reasonable.

I support this article if for no other reason than how it has portrayed its information. Nothing in it gave me the impression it was taking anything out of context or ignoring well established information contrary to any information being given. The same goes for all the articles I’ve read regarding this entire situation.

It is sad to see some sites take up arms for, or against, RME’s stance while seemingly choosing to ignore any points made by either side to support themselves. Sadly, that trend seems to be seen in the sites that disagree with what RME is trying to do. They will say it wants to change the ending, without citing any of the reasons RME feels justified in trying to do this.

It isn’t as simple as ‘we didn’t like the ending.’ We were told we would get one thing, and handed a complete other. In this instance, it happened to be the ending to an otherwise great game.

GameFront, keep up with articles about this situation that address all the facts, regardless of your writers’ stances on the situation (unless it’s obviously meant to be an opinion-based article). Do what’s right, because it’s right and, regardless of what side they stand on, you’ll earn due respect for it; or at least my respect.

birthofthecool

On March 23, 2012 at 7:46 pm

That was a real pity, how that ended.
I couldn’t donate much, but what I could I was eager to give. I just felt it was an incredible good idea to channel our frustration into something positive.
None of us ever claimed that Child’s play had anything to do with our cause, only that we thought it a worthy charity..

I seriously can’t believe that there are people who would attack a charity organisation in this way and without any facts to their accusations.

I partly blame the misrepresentation spread by many so called gaming news sites, which had a terribly biased view of the ReTake Movement from the start.

What I fail to understand is the extreme anger and hostility, the people who like the ending are spreading right now.

I for one, and I believe most of the Retake Movement don’t want to take the ending as it is away from it’s fans.

The goal is to get what Bioware promised the ending to be, multiple endings, that take your decisions in this and the 2 previous games into account.

The existing ending can certainly be one of them, most of it could probably be part of any ending, if the flaws are eliminated and the outcome gets more diverse.

I think that is what most people, who see themselves as part of the ReTake movement want.

The backlash that is happening now, the intentions some people,want to see behind the donation drive. it sickens me.
The only thing I can think of is that those people are the sore losers that are whining and ranting, now that it seems as if Bioware at least in part agreed to our wishes.
The sore losers they made the ReTake members out to be.

birthofthecool

On March 23, 2012 at 8:01 pm

As one of the people who was angry about Child’s play’s decision to not accept our donations anymore, let me add that really only a few people ever wanted a refund and most stated they were going to still donate the money, they just didn’t want it to go to Child’s play anymore.

A childish reaction maybe, but at first their decision seemed very humiliating for some.

I believe that Child’s play had reasons for their choice, but I think that it sets almost as bad an example, as really actively supporting our cause might have done.

Think about it, a fund raiser with the best intentions, that raised a large sum of money in a short time and a charity doesn’t want their donations anymore, as if the money was somehow dirty.

Would they refuse to take money from Bioware or EA?
I think not.

I’m still okay with them getting the money, but this reaction wasn’t something I ever expected from a charity organization.

Mozer

On March 23, 2012 at 8:17 pm

Pretty pathetic that someone spends their time sending hate mail to an organization that provides entertainment to hospitalized children. Gives you a glimpse of the world’s next generation.

Janus382

On March 23, 2012 at 8:25 pm

Excellent article, and I totally agree with the reasoning the end the charity drive. Honestly, we should have seen the potential backlash and negative implications of this… but then again, I don’t think anyone did.

Orion

On March 23, 2012 at 8:37 pm

It’s a sad, sad, SAD day when gamers attack a children’s charity over a game… It’s a GAME, ok? It’s made for having fun! It’s not to be used like this?

People should realise that BioWare meant for the series to be fun and entertaining, which it was. In my mind they did exactly that. So what if the last ending was a little hard to understand?

Dooes that mean that it’s a bad one worth making all this fuss and throwing a tantrum over? NO! Nor is it an excuse to involve Legalized, real world organizations in said tantrums.

That being said, Iapplaud those of you that actually WANTED to channel that frustration into something good and try to do something kind. To that I say WAY TO GO! :) Very good job.

To those that have done nothing but spit hate and negativity, I say: GO GET A JOB MAKING THESE THINGS AND YOU CAN DO IT THE WAY YOU LIKE! :x

Yes, I’m pretty sure I’m going to receive some hate from that but that’s just tough! I’m sick of people twisting stuff like this and whining just because there was something they didn’t like in it.

I say what I friend of mine said, he said “some people may not like BioWare because the ending was not satisfactory, but demanding their money back or demanding a change to an already existing game’s ending just because they paid money is beyond retarded. BioWare doesn’t own you anything, you paid for their game, It’s your problem. Simply don’t play.”

I agree with me friend there. Look guys and gals, the plain truth of it is this: These are ONLY games. They’re meant to be a fun and interesting break from the problems of the real world. It’s nothing to get all upset and start this movement or that movement. Because in the end, it’s not going to matter.

They’re not going to go and rewrite the WHOLE game just because a few people had a problem with a few minutes of a cinematic… Even if it was the ending cinematic. So let’s all just take a breath and move on with our lives.

Take it from a guy who has looked death in eye a few times, ME3 is NOT worth getting THIS worked up over, there are WAY more improtant things in life to worry or be concerned about than some STUPID video or PC game.

Sharkey

On March 23, 2012 at 8:41 pm

Very unfortunate on what happened that led to the fundraiser to end so early. I just want to point out that a new group (separate from Retake) has started it’s own fundraiser sans a political movement, simply charity for charity’s sake in inspiration of what Retake did. They’re called Full Paragon and are raising money for “Kids Need to Read”. If you still want to contribute to a good cause (helping kids read), check them out: http://www.fullparagon.com

BWchief117

On March 23, 2012 at 8:55 pm

IDK why this happened… I’ve been following the #RETAKEME3 movement since I finished the game, and it was pretty clear to me that it was just offered as a way to basically feel better after those endings brought on such disappointment.

WHY INTERNET, WHY R U FULL OF DA TROLLZ!?!

Too bad idiots had to flame them, but at least they got the money.

Lugaidster

On March 23, 2012 at 9:25 pm

@Orion Two things

Firstly, if you are not passionate about the game (or games for that matter), please refrain to tell others “it’s just a game.” I don’t go around telling car lovers “it’s just a car” or trekkies “it’s just a tv show.” It’s just bad manners. Everyone has a passion, and they can take it as far as they want within reason. Don’t take the reaction of some fringe members on the group as the whole idea of the movement. We do want a better ending, but we aren’t putting a gun to anyone’s head (most of us at least aren’t anyway, but it is a headless movement so some members are bound to get out of control).

It’s ok if you don’t support it, but don’t dismiss it because you aren’t a fan. Just ignore. If you’re going to take a stance, then at least get more informed, which brings me to the second point.

It was never about “So what if the last ending was a little hard to understand?”. We aren’t talking about the Inception ending here. This ending is plain obvious. You either like it or not, there’s barely any intellectual content there. It leaves many things open to interpretation, but (almost) none of them are deduced with logical reasoning. It’s as intellectually stimulating as a watching a dog get in front of a car and die. All you can really ask is why would they do that or accept it as a given.

The emotionally invested won’t take it as is, but it is in the hands of Bioware to respond. If you are able to take the ending for what it is without downplaying it, then please take our movement for what it is without downplaying it also. It is a really troll-like argument to say “get over it, it’s just a game.”

PS: I hope you don’t take it as a personal attack. It’s merely a direct response. Nothing more.

Phil

On March 23, 2012 at 9:31 pm

@ Orion

Okay, first things first. I put down 80.00 on this game. The game’s ending was unsatisfactory, poorly made, and looked to be a last minute addon. I have every right as a customer of Bioware to demand either my money back, or that they fix the issue. Bioware/EA are a consumer driven corporation, as such, they have to rely upon consumers of their product.

You wouldn’t purchase a new car that didn’t have any functioning rear brakes, working doors or a body that’d shake apart after ten minutes of driving would you? No, you wouldn’t. Of course, you wouldn’t notice those flaws until you actually tried to drive the thing, so you as the consumer have certain expectations for that car, on top of any promises that the car’s maker made.

The same goes for bioware, they promised I wouldn’t have an A, B, C ending, yet they gave me one. They promised my choices would matter and influence my ending, giving me a wholly different ending from someone else. I didn’t, I got the EXACT same ending as three of my friends, and we all made WILDLY different choices through out the game.

Since you state that, yes, these are in fact games, I expect to feel good at the ending of a game. Not confused, upset, and rather angry that I got an incomplete product.

We aren’t asking them to rewrite the WHOLE game, we’re telling Bioware/EA that we want them to fix the ending to an otherwise amazing and wonderful experience that most players do NOT consider a stupid game.

juancho

On March 23, 2012 at 9:42 pm

It’s awful what’s happened. If you look into http://www.childsplaycharity.org/ you find this: “Child’s play seeks to improve [...] through the kindness and generosity of the video game industry[...]”
So its very understandable why they decided to stop the people of RME.
So, my advice to the RME people and supporters, dont get fooled by excuses, it just seems right to think they just cant afford this kind of enemies (EA).

Kashrlyyk

On March 23, 2012 at 11:34 pm

Thank you, birthofthecool for your posts.

“Child’s Play cannot be a tool to draw attention to a cause. Child’s Play must be the Cause”

They allowed Bioware/EA to USE Child’s Play to advertise a video game! They were fine with that, but not with Retake Mass Effect?

Fayad

On March 24, 2012 at 6:01 am

you just can’t beat big game publisher , no matter how hard you try or how good your cause is

lmfao

On March 24, 2012 at 6:52 am

Fanboys leak the ME3 ending, Fanboys deal with the new ending and don’t like it.

Just deal with it, you guys are lucky Bioware is even acknowledging your opinions.

Orion

On March 24, 2012 at 7:36 am

@lmfao

I have to agree there. I mean, come on guys. They DID listen to you in the fact that they’ve gone back and redone some stuff, right? Get over it. Sure it was a hard to understand ending, sure it seemed a bit empty but it’s nothing to get this upset about.

I stand behind what I said about it just being a game. because IT IS! I understand what a lot of people are saying, your only expressing how you feel, and that is your god-given right.

I respect ALL of your opinions no matter how crazy or silly they may be. I say that ONLY because it’s how I see this being. Raging about an ending that felt half-complete is really just silly to me.

Especially when you know that BioWare isn’t going to do a thing about it. Face it, that’s just a sad reality… You bought the game, YOU made that choice… Not them. Anyway, I would say that personally I liked the ending.

and the game itself was AWESOME! Just that I am kinda curious what planet that was that the crew crashed on. At least they survived, right? Be glad of that.

jamesfan

On March 24, 2012 at 8:57 am

I’m sick of hearing about ME3, this nerd rage has gone out of control and is utterly disgusting. Shows how ed up everyones priorities are these days.

fixxer

On March 24, 2012 at 9:03 am

The politics of charity. What a lovely subject!

Probably EA pays 1 mil a year compared to the 80k RME gave. So yes..

Orion

On March 24, 2012 at 9:42 am

@ jamesfan

Yes, I heartily agree with you. Everyone fussing over something that is JUST A GAME is sickening, that I have to agree with. Games are meant to be fun and entertaining NOT to get so wrapped up in that you burst a gasket if even 1 little detail is off.

Besides, the choosing how you play and ending with the same ending has been done b4. Remember the KoTOR games? They were done the same way… You were free to do the quests and side quests however you pleased but in the end, you STILL had the SAME 2 endings.

1 for Light and 1 for dark… Perhaps it is because I feel that there are more things in life to worry with. Yea… Have the kind of life I’ve had and you tend to have more clearer priorities… but that’s just me.

Mobil1

On March 24, 2012 at 9:46 am

I read this news on a different site first(big supposedly respectable site…its name is quite similar this this…), which ignored stating that the people behind the charity were harassed by those who are against changing the ending, and only portrayed a single reason for shutting this down, which was “because some fans wanted their money back cause they realized it didn’t went for a new ending”, I am really happy to see Gamefront is an unbiased site,presenting both sides of the coin so to say. Keep it up!

Orion

On March 24, 2012 at 10:31 am

@jamesfan
I agree, we should let BioWare attempt to fix it like that other article says… and leave it at that. To be honest, I’m looking forward to this new “The Truth” DLC thing, it sounds quite interesting.

@fixxer
Yea, EA probably does pay like 1 mil, maybe even more.

Orion

On March 24, 2012 at 10:33 am

@mobil1

Yep, the do. It’s really nice to see that there’s still good unbiased journalism in this day of spins and bias. :)

Kevin

On March 25, 2012 at 2:16 pm

Who is worse Orion?

The one who rages about what you perceive to be “just a game” or the person who QQ’s about people raging? If it is “just a game”, why do you care how people react to it? Oh, so you can look down on them, pronouncing in public how foolish they are? Grats?

As far as the charity thing….. you could see this coming. You just didn’t want to think that people would be so bottom of the bucket moralitywise to send hate mail to a children’s charity over this. Then again, if you do not think the absolute worst about human nature, you are giving it far too much credit.

That being said, what happened here could indeed be substantial for future things. The fans basically countered the attempted Bioware spin that they took joy in kicking puppies. Even if most were doing this to genuinenly help, you gotta admire this from a PR perspective. Genius utilization of social media and web PR.

dallas daniel hessler junior

On March 25, 2012 at 3:47 pm

i h 8 mass effect

Jay

On March 25, 2012 at 9:19 pm

For someone who seems so determined to point out it’s just a video game, you’re putting in an awful lot of effort, Orion.

If it means so little to you, why bother?

All of us have spent many long hours playing the mass effect series some of us spent quite a lot of money in hard economic times based on what we were led to believe. No one is asking Bioware to give us a happy ending. What we are asking is that they live up to their own claims.

If I spent $70s on a bottle of scotch and got home to find it only contained apple juice, you can bet I’d take it back and either get a refund or a replacement bottle. No one would say; it’s just a bottle of scotch! would they?

All the ‘whiny nerd rage’ comments ultimately ignore that this is as much consumer dissatisfaction as it is ‘nerd rage’.

If Bioware/EA want to whine about artistic integrity they can… but not on my dime.

Freddonnadd

On March 26, 2012 at 12:56 pm

*sigh* I don’t mean to put more fuel to the flames, so I’m just going to say this:

Most people came to gamefront for it’s outstanding display of quality game news articles, free of personal opinion. I’d be sad to see yet another good site turn into a enflamed internet argument lobby.

By no means I intend to sit the fence, I for one am positively on the side of having a better ending done for us gamers. Any copmany who actually respects and values it’s customers would take this into careful consideration. That said, Live and let those who disagree live…

Blarty

On March 31, 2012 at 12:31 pm

This article doesn’t surprise me, and as much as the sites that shout down the Retake Mass Effect movement aren’t seeing a full picture, the majority of comments here aren’t either.

I have no issue of Retake Mass Effect as an idea, I have fundamental concerns over some of the rationalisations to their motivations, but ultimately they are passionate and believe in what they are doing, and this is a good thing. But the Childs Play thing was a step too far, not in the giving itself, but in its execution – many RME people attached the charity to the movement, which for better or worse gave the impression that the charity a) endorsed the movement or b) by having a fundraiser gave gravitas to the movement, made it more professional. RME proponents started emailing and tweeting various gaming sites, editors, authors and publications saying things tantamount to ‘Look how serious we are about getting the endings changed, we’re raising money!’. The easiest way would surely have been to provide a fundraiser, reach a target and THEN pledge it to a specific charity. There would have been none of this debacle and everyone wins.

But then again as much as I take heart in the passion and drive of the RME movement, I have worries about a group of gaming fans who at one time I would have thought as being imaginative and innovative as any, being so wrapped in pedantry and conspiracy theories (no I’m not an EA shill, a Bioware assassin, and I believe if you look outside there isn’t a black van with EA outside poised to follow you as you leave the house and go about your daily routines). And when I say pedantry I mean the absolute worse kind: the kind wrapped up in ‘facts’ stated previously that cannot be changed regardless of new information that could reasonably be used to draw new conclusions, but I felt a storm was coming when the demo came out and threads screaming ‘LORE ERROR!’ started appearing on BSN.

I applaud what you’re doing, I really do and I just hope you’re truly doing it for the right reasons, and no not everyone that isn’t 100% behind you is a Biodrone or some other derogatory comment you can come up with, or ‘bought by EA’, and people that have no issue with the ending aren’t automatically stupid or ‘don’t care about the game or the continuity’ they might just be able to enjoy it without getting all caught up on what they can see as inconsequential or minor details, and yes I appreciate these details might be major to you, just because they don’t agree with you, have a different interpretation or doesn’t have your fervour doesn’t mean they’re stupid or ‘they just don’t understand’. 

Some people really do have concerns over whether the RME movement understands the possible (though only time will tell) ramifications of a fan movement successfully getting a substantial game component, and please don’t point to Cole being changed in Infamous 2 as being a precedent, changing the ending of ME3 is a whole different league (even Broken Steel doesn’t come close enough to be an apples to apples comparison). 

Currently I feel that although the RME is focused on the ending and rightly so, its a focus to the detriment of all others; what happens if Bioware stops taking any notice of fans at all? And no, however much you might say that Bioware didn’t listen to you, they did throughout the Mass Effect franchise, just not in certain ways that you hoped they would. And what happens the next time something like this happens (because if the ending gets changed, then this scenario WILL happen again) and you’re on the other side of the argument? I’ve even seen people on BSN saying that because Bioware saw the fan feedback to Garry’s and Tali, and chose to alter some of ME2 accordingly, that they should be considered co-creators.

I hope this situation gets resolved for the best, but I worry about the precedent this kind of creative veto could set, and really hope this doesn’t become a normal practice.

dave lister

On April 1, 2012 at 8:45 am

interesting that childs play had no such compunction about being linked with the launch of Me3:

http://childsplaycharity.org/events/post/mass-effect-marathon-2.5-part-1

the whole thing is pathetic, really.