Video-game marathon raises almost US$93,000 for charity, breaks world record

9 Jul 2012

Two women on different sides of the Atlantic put a gaming obsession to good use, raising almost US$93,000 for charity: water by playing Solitaire Blitz for 30 consecutive hours and breaking a Guinness World Record in the process.

Laura Rich from Cardiff, Wales, and Kathleen Henkel from Oakland, New Jersey, set a new record for Longest Video Games Marathon Playing a Card Game for their 30-hour session held simultaneously in London and New York.

The pair went through more than 1,500 hands during their lengthy game, and will share the world record title.

PopCap Games, creator of Solitaire Blitz, pledged US$5,000 per player and donations were also received from 1,400 people around the world. In total, Rich and Henkel raised US$92,577 for charity: water. The money will be used to build 18 new wells, which will each provide 250 people in developing nations with clean drinking water for at least 20 years.

“While achieving a world record today is an amazing feat, the thrill of helping earn nearly US$100,000 for an organisation as great as charity: water is arguably just as exciting,” said Rich. “To know that my love for a video game helped bring clean drinking water to thousands of people is an honour I will never forget.”

Solitaire Blitz is a social version of the popular card game that is available as a Facebook app. Since its launch in March this year, it has already attracted 5m lifetime players and more than 600m games have been played per month, totalling 2bn hands altogether. The game will soon be available as an app on iPad, iPhone and iPod touch devices.

Elaine Burke is the host of For Tech’s Sake, a co-production from Silicon Republic and The HeadStuff Podcast Network. She was previously the editor of Silicon Republic.