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Seattle Children's Teen Center

If you’re anything like us, when you stop and think about the patients being treated at a place like Seattle Children’s Hospital, your mind will likely conjure up an image of a small child, maybe an infant or a toddler, surrounded by family, and in need of specialized care. For more than a century, Seattle Children’s has been a vital part of that picture here in the region we call home, providing award-winning pediatric care for children and families in Washington, Alaska, Montana, and Idaho. Like us, your shorthand mental imagery for children’s hospitals might not include teenagers and young adults.

We first had our perceptions checked when our IT Overlord, Steve Lopez, reached out to Seattle Children’s to check up on some donated hardware we had delivered to their teen center. While they were grateful for the gadgets we could provide for their younger patients through our iPads for Kids pilot program, the games developed for tablet devices weren’t fully satisfying the gaming urges of the more mature patients who frequented the Teen Center in search of entertainment.

The Teen Center is a place where teens can go to get away from their rooms to unwind with a movie, socialize, or play some games. While iPads are a great way to keep families connected, and to stave off the boredom that can set in during an extended hospital stay, it turns out that the Teen Center needed an entertainment solution that was a little bit more mature.

Enter Scott Kankelborg, Special Projects Ninja at Bungie. After an onsite assessment of the Teen Zone situation, he quickly identified the solution: games… lots of games. First, he had to upgrade the center’s hardware. After upgrading the graphics cards, doubling the memory, and updating the OS and drivers for peak performance, Kankelborg personally presided over a Steam-powered developer donation drive to drum up the software to suit.

To score the software we needed to justify the buffed hardware, we reached out to our peers in the video game industry.  When we asked them if they had any games lying around, the digital donations poured in. Kankelborg soon found himself swimming in T-rated titles from Activision, Airtight Games, Bootsnake Games, Double Fine, Firaxis Games, Evolutionary Games, Hidden Path Entertainment, Mojang, PopCap, Runic Games, Signal Studios, Squad, Square Enix, and Unknown Worlds. As if those generous donations weren’t enough to fill the Teen Center with smiles, Valve Software also stepped up and donated every single T-rated title in their catalog.

After a short return visit to Seattle Children’s, Scott had the Teen Zone’s new library of games fully operational, and Seattle Children’s Foundation staffer, Eve Kopp, had this to say about the generous donations:

“The teens at Seattle Children’s are absolutely thrilled about the new games. This generous gift has provided great motivation for patients to leave their room and incentive to complete their therapies or treatments.”

At Bungie, we’re absolutely thrilled that we could play a small part in helping Seattle Children’s complete their ongoing mission, and we are floored by the generous contributions from the developers and publishers we reached out to for support. We’re fortunate to be a part of such a wonderful community of game creators.

“The best part about my job at Bungie is that I’ve had the amazing opportunity to aid the efforts of our Foundation," says Bungie Foundation Coordinator Christine Edwards. "Helping better the lives of kids around us is something we feel passionate about and it’s such a wonderful feeling to know that our peers in other gaming companies have that same sense of passion.”

If you see a studio listed above that you recognize, or maybe even one that you don’t, we would love for you to reach out and let them know that you appreciate their community support. If reading these words has you feeling a little more generous, we encourage you to help Seattle Children’s, to get involved with your own local children’s hospital, or to support the multitude of great charitable organizations out there, like Child’s Play, that are focused on bringing smiles to children’s faces through great entertainment. If you’re anything like us, you’ll find the experience incredibly rewarding.
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