Meet the friends saving Africa one lame game at a time

In 2011, East Africa experienced one of the worst droughts in recent history, displacing hundreds of thousands of Somalis and causing one of the biggest refugee crises the region has ever experienced.

In 2011, East Africa experienced one of the worst droughts in recent history, displacing hundreds of thousands of Somalis and causing one of the biggest refugee crises the region has ever experienced.

As a group of friends watched the crisis unfold from the other side of the world in Australia, they felt helpless. More than 12.4 million Africans were being affected by the drought and millions more would be devastated unless something was done. As the situation in East Africa worsened and worldwide charities made a plea for donations, brothers Dan and James Camilleri and their friend Mark Dawes decided they had to do something.

So they did The Lame Game Marathon.

The idea was simple and silly: three hardcore gamers would take part in a gaming marathon held in their livingroom. But instead of a 24-hour Call of Duty or Halo session, the three friends would subject themselves to some of the worst games ever made. They had a schedule written up to decide who would play which game at what time. An online stream showing them push through the likes of Pimp My Ride: The Video Game and Grey's Anatomy: The TV Show: The Video Game ran for the entire 24 hour period.

"I think I'm feeling a mix of anticipation and dread"

They hoped that by subjecting themselves to such a ridiculous activity they would provide some amusement for fellow gamers and encourage viewers to make a donation that would go towards UNICEF's emergency appeal.

They had set a fundraising goal of $2000. By the end of the 24-hours, they'd raised $5,500.

This year, the Camilleris and Dawes are back with a collection of games possibly worse than the previous year's and they're hoping to smash last year's fundraising goal to continue supporting UNICEFs Sahel Emergency Appeal.

"Last year's experience was pretty incredible to be honest ... well, apart from the games, which obviously sucked," Dan Camilleri told Polygon.

"It was amazing knowing that something that started as a small and random idea had snowballed into this event that was much bigger than any of us had anticipated. What really blew me away (and still does) was the amount of support we received from so many people. Any time we'd get an update on the donation total or on how many people were tuned in to the stream I just couldn't believe it.

"On top of it all, we then sat there stunned as a last minute flood of donations came through in the final hours of the marathon to push us up to and past the $5000 mark. It was totally surreal, and completely worth it."

For this year's marathon, the three have done their research to find some of the lowest-rated games on Metacritic. During the process, they learned that Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen once released a game for the PlayStation 1. That game will now be played during the marathon.

Games are being chosen for PC, PlayStation 1, and the Nintendo Wii, with one player one each system at all times. So far 12 games have been chosen, with the remaining three open to suggestions via The Lame Game Marathon's Facebook and Twitter pages.

The Lame Game Marathon will begin on September 22, 2012 at 10am Australian Eastern Standard Time (+10UTC). Viewers will be able to tune into a stream that can be viewed on the Lame Game Marathon's site and make a donation to UNICEF.

"I'm really looking forward to the whole event and seeing how much we can manage to raise for UNICEF this year," Dan Camilleri says. "But in regards to the games themselves, I think I'm feeling a mix of anticipation and dread.

"Some of the games look so laughably bad that they should be pretty hilarious to watch in action, but I'm still not looking forward to the graveyard shift between 2am and 6am ... that was the most painful last year (the Superman64 shift....egh) so I'm a bit mindful about what I might get stuck with for that shift.

"If it's Street Cleaning Simulator, then it might just break me."

More from Polygon

A guided video tour of an Unreal Tournament map

  • Freedom Planet gameplay video

  • Adventure Time trailer

  • Hearthstone: Naxxramas Overview

  • Oddworld: New 'N' Tasty - Overview video

Latest Discussions

Log In Sign Up

Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.



Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.