How The GTA V Destruct-A-Thon Came to Be

One night in January, gamers gathered at a movie theater in Austin, Texas to play Grand Theft Auto V on the big screen. The goal was to blow stuff up for charity, and it was a big success. Here’s how the event came to be.

Something is missing from modern gaming. Thanks to console gaming’s increasing lack of local co-op multiplayer, it’s easier to play games with someone in London over the internet than it is to play with your neighbor. For me, online multiplayer games and social media integrated features will never match the fun of sitting in the living room with your friends and playing games together. So I started thinking about how I could re-create that feeling but on a larger scale.

One night I was playing Grand Theft Auto V alone, and I pulled off a car chase so epic I lamented not having a witness. My cat was there but he seemed unimpressed. Honestly, he seems unimpressed by everything other than Fancy Feast. I remember playing older GTA titles with my buddies and how much fun it was to watch each other get 5 stars and try to survive.

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That’s how I got the idea for “The GTA V Destruct-A-Thon,” a charity show that combined the things I’m passionate about: gaming, comedy, and charity. I came up with a way to recreate those epic living room triumphs with friends while doing good for others. I was shocked and amazed at how supportive everyone was about the idea, and we were able to crowdfund it successfully. With the help of a few good friends like Slide to Play and SpaceTime Games, we rented out the amazing Alamo Drafthouse movie theatre in Austin, TX on January 20th.

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We had a panel of local Austin comedians provide commentary while the audience played GTA V on the big screen. We had an experienced player put on a fantastic light show by taking down helicopters with a rocket launcher, a first timer got into a hilarious fist fight in the street, and another player settled the score with a gentleman’s club bouncer via minigun. The crowd cheered them on every step of the way.

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We gave away prizes donated by EA/Bioware and PopCap games. We rampaged, laughed, and ate together while raising $1400 for Child’s Play with a nearly sold out crowd. It was an amazingly fun night and we received overwhelmingly positive feedback from our audience.

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I learned that the gaming community is generous and supportive, and I can’t thank you all enough for helping us do good for others. I hope we can put on many more shows like this and keep the spirit of living room gaming alive, together.

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