On May 17, Operation Supply Drop will host the third annual “8-bit Salute,” a 24 hour gaming event created to raise money and send games/gaming gear to soldiers overseas and recovering in hospitals around the world. For this year’s event, Uncharted and The Last of Us developer Naughty Dog, free-to-play pioneer Wargaming, headset manufacturer Astro, and Red vs. Blue creator Rooster Teeth have all signed up and agreed to pledge “significant support,” and all four will enter their own teams to join in on the marathon.
For 24 hours, gamers will play any games of their choice, with each hour earning money through sponsorships. The total donations will then be sent in to Operation Supply Drop, which then funnels that money to the troops in the guise of video games. The event is loosely organized, and there is no minimum amount to donate. More than a dozen video game developers and publishers have also pledged to field teams of their own, although a complete list has yet to be released.
If you want to help out, you can jump onto the Operation Supply Drop website and either join a team or create one of your own. If you create your own, you’ll need to rally gamers on May 17 to play for 24 hours. Each registered member should find a sponsor or sponsors. The details are left up to the gamer – you can ask for $5 per hour or $50, but Operation Supply Drop is hoping for at least $250 per gamer (although this is in no way required). You can play from your home or get a group together, play AAA games or mobile. It doesn’t even have to be video games; checkers, shuffleboard, and chess are just as good, all the donations all go to the same fund.
It costs nothing to register but if you sign up for the $15 elite option, you will be registered for a raffle with several prizes. If you raise $200, you will be entered in the premium raffle, which will award two users with a next-gen game package worth $2,000.
It probably goes without saying, but this is all for a good cause. The group was founded by Army Airborne Ranger Captain Stephen Machuga, and has raised over $700,000 since its inception. Last year’s event alone raised $530,000 in donations, and this year is expected to surpass that.