In the past we’ve interviewed some wonderful people; a mixture of indie developers and streamers from all over the world. This time we have something a little different, an interview with Sam Stephenson, the campaign manager for a charitable organisation known as 8-Bit Salute. I don’t want to ruin anything for you though so to find out more you’re just going to have to read our interview below.
To get the ball rolling, why don’t you tell our readers a little about yourself.
My names Sam Stephenson though known to most as Obiwanshinoobie and Samos89 I’ve been involved with streaming since JustinTV. I originally trained as a professional actor, appearing in the movie KickAss and getting my MA in acting for screen at 21 from Central School of Speech and Drama. After 3 years of not doing too much outside of indie films and shorts, I decided to focus my passions and skills in other areas which lead me to jump into Twitch from a producer/ manager side of this. Initially, I set up and ran GinxTV launching their channel in 2014. That Summer I met the OSD Team at RTX and since then I have been doing all things Twitch for OSD. I’m also British.
And now we’ve gotten to know you, tell us a bit about what you do because you’re not just a casual streamer, are you? You’re the campaign manager for 8-Bit Salute.
Some might say I’m a Filthy Casual 😛 but yes my title is Campaign Manager for 8 Bit Salute. 8 Bit Salute is the streaming side of OSD and what my roles involve is a movie director, producer mixed with streamer relations, partner relations and outreach to potential streams all rolled into one. Including scheduling of all our channels day to day streaming.
I must say it’s great to see you using gaming in a positive light when usually you read how games turn children into serial killers, but could you tell us a little more about the work 8-Bit Salute does in supporting Operation Supply Drop?
Sure thing, so we have the motto ‘Making Fun Where There Is None’ with the aim of that being to bring a sense of normality and fun to those stationed overseas and training day-to-day. Help take their minds away from what they are doing and where they are.We hope this reduces the chances of PTSD and that they will think of the good times playing games over anything else.
And how much of a difference does this make to the men and women out there currently serving in the active military?
The thanks that we get from those currently serving is beyond measure, a lot of Vets wish they had this whilst they were serving. Being told that we have made a tour of duty more manageable by giving them games to occupy the down time is more rewarding than I have words for.
Are there any particular targets for 8-Bit Salute that you’re looking to achieve this year? Breaking past fundraising amounts, reaching out to more veterans, helping more families?
We have the aim to reach $50K in donations via 8bitsalute.org and the same again via our tiltify fundraising and recently we hit the goal of having served 100k Vets via our programs.
Now for what may or may not be an easy question. What was it that made you decide to support this specific charity? Why not something to help defenceless animals or combat homelessness?
I have a few friends who serve/ have served. I am the least Military look person you could imagine I’m very skinny and have zero muscle, combined with Diabetes. I get to sit in my office every day playing games and talk about games with people all over the world. I wouldn’t have that luxury or freedom without the troops who are there to defend us all over the world.
Is setting up events or operations to help other charities something you may look at in the future? Or are you solely focused on this current partnership for the time being?
I actually help out a lot of charity events. Special Effect was the first charity I worked with and do something for them every year. A lot of my best friends all do ExtraLife and StJude so I try to organise things for them too like TeamOSD Supports St Jude bring one charities community together to help another.
Ok, moving on, how did you find yourself doing something like this? I mean playing video games to help people, did you ever think this was a possibility when growing up?
It wasn’t something that I saw on careers day that’s for sure! Though my own personal streaming isn’t the most regular thing ever, knowing that I can organise and run events daily to help charities via gaming is amazing to me and not something I thought possible 5-6 years ago.
For people reading this who want to get involved, where do they go and how can they help?
They can head over to FrontTowardsGamer.com or 8BitSalute.org or skip all that and email me directly at email@example.com
And final question, slightly related to the military theme; Battlefield or Call of Duty?
Can I say Gears of War?
Yes! Yes, you can.
And that’s it! What an amazing way to use computer games to bring so many positives to people’s lives. If you’ve been inspired by our chat with Sam, then as mentioned above, you can help raise funds too. Just head to FrontTowardsGamer.com or 8BitSalute.org to find out more about how you can help and to see more evidence of the great work they do. And as usual, we’ve more information on how ou can follow 8BitSalute just below:
Twitch – www.twitch.tv/operationsupplydrop