Making video games accessible within the walls of a hospital is our first priority at Gamers Outreach.
At the core of that topic is hardware. All of us gamers know the devices we choose dictate the sort of games we play, as well as where and when we enjoy them.
In hospitals, managing hardware can be challenging. A building’s infrastructure may limit online connectivity. Items may get lost or stolen. Policy might limit the items people can bring into hospitals. And in some cases, screens to connect devices may not be present at all. As well, healthcare workers are often working under intense time constraints.
All those reasons and more are why we started building Gamers Outreach Karts more than 15 years ago.
GO Karts, as we like to call them, are portable video game kiosks built for hospitals. Each kart is equipped with a monitor, console, controllers, and assortment of games. They’re a tool to help provide triple A gaming experiences to kids receiving care.
We built our first GO Kart by repurposing existing medical equipment. As our requests from hospitals grew, it became necessary for us to invest in manufacturing a custom kart built for our purpose – a design that we controlled and evolved as needed and was cost efficient to produce. In 2017, our friends at Child’s Play provided us a grant to help make that happen. We built tools that enabled GO Kart manufacturing in hundreds of quantities. To date, that process has made it possible for us to place GO Karts in nearly 400 healthcare facilities.
In the last year, we’ve received more requests from hospitals in the U.S. and abroad than we had ever anticipated when the GO Kart program first began. At the same time, rising manufacturing costs as well as freight costs have been a growing concern.
We don’t want to pass those costs on to donors or hospitals. So instead, we’ve decided to reimagine the way GO Karts are built.
With the help of our longtime supporters at NZXT, we’ve invested in a revamped construction process that’s resulted in a new GO Kart design, built for modern consoles and more readily available for international deployment. With this latest evolution, we’ll be able to build quantities in the 1000s, ensuring we can meet requests as received.
This weekend during Gamers for Giving, we’re excited to share the physical prototype with you. This GO Kart represents our third iteration of design and shares many of the same characteristics as our previous versions. It’s built for use in hospitals and is capable of fitting all modern consoles. We anticipate our first units being ready for deployment this Summer.
Funds being raised this week will go towards helping us deploy the first 100 new units for hospitals on our wish list. As well, if we can hit the full $1 million goal, we’ll have resources to support a number of international facilities.
The GO Karts are making an impact for kids receiving care each day. Even some of our units donated more than a decade ago continue to be a resource for healthcare workers. All of that has been made possible thanks to your help. We’re looking forward to the years ahead and continuing to be a resource for our fellow gamers, and we hope you’ll keep joining us.
To learn more or get involved, check out our website, GamersOutreach.org.