'World's Best Gamer': Gamers can be real-life heroes

He's known as the "World's Best Gamer," with at least eight gaming world records behind his belt and more than 700,000 subscribers to his YouTube channel. He has turned gaming into a six-figure income. But Bachir Boumaaza, known by his brash gaming persona "Athene," is also passionate about giving back — not something you expect in the gaming world, which is often criticized for desensitizing violence. He founded a website that combines gaming and charity, called GamingForGood.net, hoping to turn videogame players into real-life heroes.

From past events as a teenager to now, I have wanted to share what has come of my inspiring experiences with others, in hopes of creating an influence that would promote world-changing behavior.

Bachir Boumaaza, whose goes by the gaming moniker “Athene”
Source: Reese Leysen
Bachir Boumaaza, whose goes by the gaming moniker “Athene”

Giving gamers the ability to directly make such a difference may one day create a ripple effect, opening the opportunity for others to catch on and become role models themselves.

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Gaming For Good is a community-driven online movement, not run by one person but instead shared by everyone who has contributed in some way. From directly donating through GamingForGood.net you are granted points which can be exchanged for almost equal value towards games found on the front page. These games were donated to us by the developers and publishers of the games themselves.

I have chosen Save The Children's Child and Newborn Survival programs as the cause to support because these are considered by many independent analysts and philantropists to be among the most effective projects among charities.

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Since our previous project, Operation Sharecraft, a social-media campaign aimed at raising money for Save the Children in West Africa through the game Diablo, it was brought to my attention that despite the discouragement I felt at times towards reaching a goal of $1 million in 100 days, the tremendous support received was enough for me to understand that people really do care about causes worldwide and are willing to help. Our main focus is to raise awareness around the idea that both gamers and non-gamers possess the ability to change the lives of hundreds and even thousands of people and families.

I believe that the future of gaming will include generations of gamers who will continue to stand up for what is right, as well as back up causes such of this one.

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As long as I continue setting an example for my fans through the gaming experiences I share, and encourage more people to be advocates of change, I feel we could improve the way people look at both charities and the world of gaming. To see where we stand right now with almost $11 million raised, I look forward to what the future holds for Gaming For Good, and the possibilities it could bring for more charitable action for gamers and beyond.

— By Bachir Boumaaza

Bachir Boumaaza, a.k.a. "Athene," is a professional videogame player and the founder of GamingForGood.net. Check out his YouTube channel "AtheneWins" and follow him on Twitter @AtheneLOL.