It has become all too easy to emphasize everything that's negative in video games and gamer culture, given what's happened in the last two months. There is a very real and very toxic movement that continues to fester, epitomizing all that is ugly about this wonderful hobby. Between all the threats, the harassment, the misogyny, the intimidation, and the attempt to spread fear, it's been hard to look at what's positive about the gaming world. The past few days, however, have reminded me of the generosity of the gaming community. More than that, they reminded me that people can be caring in a cruel world.
I spent Thursday night conducting my evening research while watching Level|Up Live's weekly Runback stream. I was excited to catch the first weekly tournament for Killer Instinct: Season 2 and I returned to my PC just in time to watch Sabrewulf and TJ Combo go at it. Terrance "PushaTee" Moore was playing as Combo and the match unfolded like many others. There was trash-talking, there were jokes being thrown around in Twitch chat, and PushaTee even had Combo teabag Sabrewulf in-between rounds. It was fun for anyone that was watching.
And then suddenly, the fun stopped.
After the match, PushaTee went off-camera, as one of the commentators left his position to go talk to the competitors off-camera. There was a sudden commotion that ensued, with everyone looking away from the camera. The first instinct was that tempers started flaring and that a scuffle had broken out. Then I heard Mando Gonzalez, the lovable founder of IEBattlegrounds and omnipresent showrunner cry out for an ambulance. Everyone dropped what they were doing and rushed over, while the stream came to a screeching halt. Moore had collapsed. He was taken a local area hospital and was later pronounced dead.
It's one thing to raise this money for a close personal friend or even for a fellow lover of games, but it's another thing to do it because it's simply the right thing to do.
It was one of the saddest scenes I had ever seen unfold and an uneasy moment to witness on a live broadcast. Moore's friends and even members of the fighting game community that had never met him took to Twitter to mourn their fallen brother. But it's what happened next that brought a semblance of light into this tragedy.
Reddit's r/Kappa subreddit, comprised of fighting game players and hardcore aficionados, wasted no time in rallying around Moore. They immediately set up a YouCaring memorial fund in Moore's name, with all proceeds going to his family to help cover his funeral expenses. The goal was met within hours and currently sits at about $10,000 raised, as human generosity continues to manifest itself. Mike Watson, owner of the Super Arcade venue where Moore lived the final moments of his life, did not hesitate to devote all wristband sales for the following day to Moore, directing all proceeds to his family. The venue raised over $10,000 that evening. (Edit: It's since come to this writer's attention that the tweet is referring to total money raised across the YouCaring funds by the end of the weekend.) He likewise set up a YouCaring fund that sits at over $5,000 raised. Testimonials poured in left and right from anyone that ever knew Moore, casually or otherwise, about his wonderful character and many of those acquaintances have lent their support and offered to help during this trying time.
Over the weekend, I reached out to a friend of both Moore's and myself. I asked Jeff Katz, a fellow KI player that had mourned his friend's death in private, if he had any words to say about him. Katz pointed out that while he and many others have been grieving in their own way, he confesses that only a select few truly knew Moore personally. In the wake of that, it makes the outpouring of generosity that much more remarkable. It's one thing to raise this money for a close personal friend or even for a fellow lover of games, but it's another thing to do it because it's simply the right thing to do.
That's when the realization sets in that gaming culture is truly a wonderful thing. Video games aren't just a hobby to some of us, they can become a major part of our lives. They can become something that brings people together. They help unite us as friends and family. They help us grow as people. Friendships start with the common ground of video games and they blossom as personal relationships grow, just as is the case here. Furthermore, it's a common ground that brings pro gamers and fans together and it's relationship that has helped lead to the tremendous show of support that's evident through Moore's growing memorial fund. The outpouring of support for Moore should be a reminder of all that is good in video game culture and can be accomplished in the darkest of times.
"He was a good guy, man," Gonzalez said at the start of Friday's memorial stream. "He was a good guy."
Those were the only words Gonzalez spoke at the start of the stream. It speaks volumes that this was all it took to open people's hearts. Gaming may not be in a perfect place right now, but the last few days truly represent the good in humanity and the good in gaming culture.
Ozzie Mejia posted a new article, Opinion: Support for PushaTee shows all that is right in gaming culture
Spot on. I attend a Friday night weekly here in Massachusetts. The day after PushaTee's death the venue owner announced that all wristband sales for the night were being donated to the PushaTee fundraiser. It was kind of a slow night due to a out of state tournament the next day, but we still managed $125
Nice job Ozzie great write up \m/ , also this is very true "Video games aren't just a hobby to some of us, they can become a major part of our lives." Video games are a lifestyle and most people will never understand this and to what degree for many of us.
As for the negativity lately it will pass right now it seems to be the current fashion and the flavor of the month which we point the finger at. Our culture negativity is grossly blown out of proportion and pales in comparison to other scenes or in general comparison to current social media sites/places like facebook, twitter, youtube, etc on what ever topic/group you can think of it is not only video games.
Negativity can be found any where you want to find it, it does not take long to find it anywhere you want to. Weather it be the internet, school, a party, the work place, a specific culture, hobby etc it has always been there and unfortunately always will.
A testament to a groups, strength, longevity, growth and positiveity is what really matters, and as we all know video games have been around for a long time and it continues to grow and strengthen so take that how you will time will tell.
Last but not least since I have been gaming I have come in to contact to some of the nicest, compassionate, supportive, friendly, cool, intelligent, funny individuals that I have met in my life and they have all been video gamers. Having said that I have my view on the scene and it is by far a positive one.
Good article, and a great response to a tragic event.
Don't have much to say about what happened. I like your article though Ozz.
It still feels strange. I didn't know him, never been to an event, but I've been watching FGC streams for long enough that they are PEOPLE to me, and not just names, if you know what I mean.
Gonna be weird on Wednesday.
FGC #1 forever
Great article, Ozzie.