The image most people might conjure up of a computer gamer tends to be unkind. Slacker. Stoner. Laggard.
An Arlington group of 20-somethings, though, disproves the stereotype. Yes, they’re hard at play, engaged in a weeklong marathon — concluding June 18 — of “Mario” games played on Wii and other gaming systems, but they’re also raising money through donations for ACT Today, a charity that raises money for autism car.
"We thought, if we're going to play video games for that long, we need to do something worthwhile for a charity," said Britt LaRiviere, who founded the group about a two years ago. "I have a nephew who's autistic, so it's close to me."
They play out of LaRiviere's South Arlington home, and an international group of players joins in online — collectively known as TheSpeedGamers — and together they’ve raised more than $100,000 during previous marathons.
"It's a lot more organized," said Tyler Worthington. "We really flew by the seat of our pants at the beginning."
The last incarnation, about a year ago, generated about $50,000 for the cause. They hope to break the mark this year.
“These guys give 100 percent of money raised to the cause, they even spend their own money for prizes and other things, yet they are struggling college guys,” said Pam Berry, the mother of one of the players.