The Chinese school Volunteer English Teacher (V.E.T.) Program, which teaches young adults and children to speak English to help further career and educational pursuits, has pledged $20,000 on the Shenmue 3 Kickstarter to help raise awareness.
Pledging originally $10,000 to have dinner with the creator, Yu Suzuki, a founder of the school recently increased it to $20,000. The volunteer spoke about the decision through a forum post: ???[My brother and I] decided to make the second $10,000 pledge a character in the game. We don’t want to be a character attacking Ryo though. We are going to try and ask Yu Suzuki to let us have one of our Volunteer Chinese teaching assistants be a character in one of the villages. They deserve to be recognized for their hard work. They are volunteers and many of them come from poor rice farms.???
The idea of a charity spending $20,000 has likely raised some questions about the idea of spending money on advertising that could be spent on directly helping the program, even if the money is out of the pocket of the founders. The volunteer and his brother ???spent many hours thinking about whether this is a good or bad decision. We spent $10,000 in 2012 to get our school off the ground and that went a long way.???
However, he further elaborated on not only why spend $10,000 in the first place but also why increase it to $20,000: ???Because of our initial $10,000 pledge, the school received an amazing amount of attention in China, social media and gaming websites. I’ll reiterate, We are not wealthy! This was a hard decision. We could have given $20,000 directly to building the school and it’s programs but we feel that this pledge will lead to more exposure and support than what we could do through other mediums.???
Personally, it isn’t a bad idea, as the main goal of advertising is to spend money to get more money than you paid into it. It is also mostly in a subtle way that doesn’t appear to exploit people’s emotions, morals and empathy to reap money, but rather instead feels natural and informative of the program. Although in case the subtly of the added character is lost on players they are ???also hoping that since [the founder and his brother] will be listed in the credits as a special sponsor that it can have our school with a logo and a website rather than our names.???
Which good luck to the V.E.T. Program in trying to raise awareness and, therefore, additional funds to their cause. I believe knowledge is a powerful tool that helps people know the way not only to success but also to navigate around potential obstacles and tripping-points. As well as this, in a world that is increasingly communicating with each other, taking down language barriers is becoming more and more important as it has the potential to create opportunities and unity as well as discourage conflict.
If you would like to know more about the V.E.T. Program, you can visit their website or their Facebook page. Even if you can not donate money, simply throwing a ???like??? so others are made aware of its existence is still useful. I think it’ll be interesting to see if and how other charities (and, possibly, business) use Kickstarting games as a form of advertisement.
I just hope it doesn’t lead to large corporations spending a tiny amount (compared to typical forms of advertisement like TV adverts) for awkwardly forced brand advertisements. Imagine a Darkest Dungeon 2 game with character names like ???Pepsiman???, ???Nike Just Do It??? and Toyota Mirai???, as well as the ???Coca Cola Dungeon??? that has the logo as background wallpaper. On the bright side, it may lead to amusing self-awareness as businesses fund being depicted as twisted abominations in the game. Sure it’d take me out of the experience, but I’ll be laughing while slaying a disfigured boss called ???McDonalds??? along with its sidekicks ???I’m Lovin’ It??? and ???What We’re Made Of???.