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Fund drive to send video game care packages to troops underway now

Owen S. Good is a longtime veteran of video games writing, well known for his coverage of sports and racing games.

The fourth-annual 8-Bit Salute, a marathon benefitting the video game care-package charity Operation Supply Drop, is underway and taking donations over the next two days.

Donations buy video games for U.S. and NATO servicemembers stationed overseas. One hour in, it has raised $147,578 of a very leet goal of $1,337,000.

Participants are streaming play sessions on Twitch and taking donations on their channels; donors can also give directly to Operation Supply Drop at this site. In-kind donations of games on current and previous generation consoles, the Nintendo DS/3DS and PlayStation Vita, and Steam Xbox Live or PlayStation Network codes also are accepted.

Operation Supply Drop started in 2010, the brainchild of Army Capt. Stephen Machuga (ret.), a Ranger who sought to refocus the goodwill of civilians who made well intentioned donations of care-packages full of things that troops, well, don't really want. Machuga said he got the idea after his unit received a care package full of old romance paperbacks, which were then used for target practice.

"People back home want to help, but they don't know what soldiers want," Machuga said at the time. Video games resonate much more with troops needing downtime.

Polygon profiled Operation Supply Drop and Machuga at length in 2013; much more can be read here.

The 8-Bit Salute lasts through tomorrow, and can be followed through the official Operation Supply Drop stream peeking in at various streamers throughout the weekend.

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