Perfect Charity Blossom

Perfect Charity Blossom is an event in support of the Child’s Play charity, which gives toys, video games, books and movies to a number of children’s hospitals.  Participants will play “bullet hell” shmups (aka. danmaku) ‘5k style’,  playing shmups (ideally) every night over the month of March in a long-form endurance event, as a sister to things like AGDQ’s “sprints” and Extra Life’s 24 hour “marathon” endurance.   Participants are then encouraged to ask for either pledges based on milestones (such as $1/run, or $10 for a 1cc) or for direct donations by viewers and friends.

The event originally centered around the Touhou Project games, but we appreciate participation from any who are willing to give their time, no matter what shmup they play.  Some recommended shmups for those who want to participate, in order of ease to acquire and to beat are:  Jamestown, Raiden, Luftrausers, Ikaruga, and Touhou.

Why Child’s Play?

When I was a teenager, back in 2000 and 2001, I spent about 18 months battling cancer.  During that, much of my time was spent in the hospital.  And while the treatment and its side effects were constant drains on my health, the boredom and worry was an even more constant drain on my mental state.  Fortunately, I had books and things to read.  And some of the hospitals even had movies and video games!   But many didn’t.

One of the things I remember most from my treatment was the day after a major surgery.  I’d spent the entire previous day asleep in the ICU, but when I woke up I was in excruciating pain, unable to focus, and bored out of my mind.  And then, who should walk through the door, but 10 of my friends and a few of their parents – and they were carrying something.  They had gone out to a local store and rented a Nintendo 64, and a few games, for me to play while I was in the hospital.  And they’d then driven it 80 miles to the hospital I was staying in.   And while the video games may not have done much to ease the physical pain, it certainly did a lot to help me focus my mind somewhere else and relax a bit.

That’s why Perfect Charity Blossom supports Child’s Play.  They were founded after my experiences, but their mission aligns with something I myself have seen and understand implicitly: when you’re in pain, a gift from a caring friend and a game to cheer you up can go a very long way.  So I, and all the members of Neon Cheetahs, are proud to be able to extend a helping hand to those children who are now, themselves, going through this.

For additional information about Child’s Play, see their FAQ section.

What are shmups?

Shmups comes from a portmanteau of the words “shoot ’em up”.  They originated in arcades, and are some of the earlier and better arcade games.  Games like Galaga, 1942, and R-Type can be considered early shmups, and even games like Centipede and Space Invaders might be thought of as “proto-shmups”.

In the US, shmups mostly disappeared as arcades started to go out of business.  But in Japan, which still has a large arcade culture, companies have continued to produce games in the shmup genre.  The most well known of these types of games are what are known as danmaku, which means “curtain fire” games, which is actually a good description, as the screen looks like a curtain of fire falling towards the player.   In English, they’re usually called “bullet hell” which has a similar implication if slightly less poetry.

Danmaku shmups have a reputation for being extremely challenging – pattern matching and positional awareness are important.  The game moves at a high speed, and precision of movement and timing is quite important.

Below is a demonstration of what a Danmaku looks like in action, from one of the Touhou games.  Note that the part of the character’s picture that can actually be hit is the small white circle in the middle of the image.

Why Perfect Charity Blossom?

Back around 2007, the Drunken Gamers’ Radio podcast invented “Shmupreciation Month”, which took place in March, and was devoted to playing and discussing as many shmups as possible.   In the years since, one of the hosts unfortunately passed away, and the others moved on to different things.  But, having learned about shmups through that podcast, I kept carrying on Shmupreciation, mostly by myself.

Then, in 2016, as February was drawing to a close, I realized that if I was going to spend all of March driving myself against the cliffs of games as challenging as the average bullet hell, I should do it for a good cause.  Since Touhou was my favorite flavor of choice, I felt that the slight corruption of Touhou 7’s title of Perfect Cherry Blossom made a lot of sense.

Last year, we had a half dozen people participate, and managed to raise about $150.  This year, our goal is a somewhat more ambitious $700.  But I really think we stand a chance of achieving it.

Currently, we have raised the following amount for Child’s Play:

What Can I Do?

If you are here, there’s two things I’d like you to consider.

First, if you would like to donate to Child’s Play, please click on the Donate button in the box above.   They will make sure that the money goes to a place that will benefit from it. Note that the donation button goes directly to Child’s Play.  Neither myself nor NeonCheetah’s profits in any way from this, so rest assured that 100% of any money donated will go to where they think it will do the most good.

Secondly, if you are a Twitch streamer or Youtube Let’s Player who would be interested in participating in the event, we would love to have you!  If you would like to  be featured on this page, please send me a link to your Twitch/Youtube channel at Koholos@yahoo.com or post it in the form below.  After that, just play a bunch of shmups during the month of March, with this logo on your Twitch panel which redirects to this link:  https://donate.childsplaycharity.org/66e2a8704d565d69871457ffb3731a21/ Note that this is a requirement by Child’s Play for participation!

 

Alternatively, if you have a Twitch channel but can’t participate yourself, consider hosting some of the other people who have volunteered to participate.   (Twitch Hosting is found in your Settings > Channel & Videos tab.)  That way, your viewers will have get to enjoy the Perfect Charity Blossom excitement!

And we’d love your help in spreading the word.  If you have friends or an online community that are really into shmups, let them know.  And, please, follow us on Twitter, @Perfect_Charity.  We’ll be posting throughout March with any exciting updates about our progress.

Who is Participating?

These are the streamers who are generously donating their time to the cause.  Currently, this is only a partial list.  Please visit them, check out what they’re up to, and show your appreciation.

Thedrelle

Koholos

The Kakuzato 

Elu Tran

Thank you to everyone, whether streamer, donor, or viewer.
Let the goodwill rain like danmaku.