Original eSport Champion Donates Historical Artifacts to Raise Awareness of Human Trafficking

Donation Ceremony To Be Held At Classic Game Fest In Austin, Texas
Commemorative Trading Card at Event
Commemorative Trading Card at Event
AUSTIN, Texas - Sept. 24, 2018 - PRLog -- June 2, 2017 (event date) —  A quarter can go a long way, if you're a skilled game player. In 2013, Billy Joe Cain played for over 33 and a half hours on a single credit to set the highest verified world record on the arcade game Defender. His effort raised over $1000 for a soup kitchen in Killeen, Texas. Now, he is donating his record-setting Defender machine, and the Stargate machine he won in a 1982 eSport tournament, to the National Videogame Museum in Frisco, Texas, in the hopes that it will raise awareness for his new mission: raising awareness of human trafficking.

"Spending 33 hours in front of a machine is nothing compared to what trafficked victims endure on a daily basis," says Cain. "If this helps raise awareness of the cause, I'm all in."

Cain founded a non-profit called Radical Empathy Education Foundation with the goal of eradicating human trafficking by using virtual reality to raise awareness and create training materials. Finding ways to raise money and improve their work is a full time job. With the help from Classic Game Fest and the museum, Cain believes that Texas can help make a difference. "There is a huge interest in eSports, and these are artifacts that go back to the beginning. Since these historical video game events happened in Texas, I want to donate them in Texas, to keep it local," says Cain, "but for donations to Radical Empathy, we can use all the help we can get."

In 1982, Cain was crowned the Defender State Champion by Southland Corporation, the owners of 7-11, by winning their statewide video game tournament, the First Annual Texas Video Game Championships. Southland awarded him a brand-new Stargate machine, because they'd promised a new Defender, but they had stopped making them. His original Stargate and the Defender he set the world record upon are going to the museum as a set.

"Donations like these help so much! We are just over a year old but already looking for new things to dazzle and amaze repeat visitors," says Joe Santulli, one of the National Videogame Museum's founders. "When there are stories attached to our artifacts, it just makes the whole museum come to life for our guests."

On July 30, Cain will officially hand over ownership in a ceremony at the Classic Game Fest in Austin.

"This is a very exciting opportunity for Classic Game Fest. Seeing pieces of history get placed where the public can appreciate them is always a wonderful thing," explains David Kaelin, Event Founder of Classic Game Fest. "We feel the love."

In addition to raising money for the donation in order to offset costs, he hopes that people will continue to feel the love. "We need to arrange for shipping and generate marketing collateral specifically for the donation. Even things that seem free aren't always free," Cain explains. "Our estimate is that we'll spend $500.00 getting it all arranged, and hope we can do it for less. All funds raised beyond the actual costs go directly to the eradication of human trafficking."

Radical Empathy Education Foundation's game, TRAPPED: A VR Detective Story, is slated to make an appearance at Classic Game Fest as well. In TRAPPED, players experience life as a victim of human trafficking, literally walking in their shoes, in the home they can only leave to be victimized.

Radical Empathy works with survivor groups and agencies to ensure accuracy, from the scenario it represents as well as the script within the game. "TRAPPED is an intense experience, and rightly so," says Cain. "We need people to understand that this is reality for far too many people worldwide. Donating my arcade cabinets to raise awareness is the least I can do."

Cain says that players can experience the game without audio if they just want to try our VR for the first time and are concerned about the subject matter. They also have a VR Crime Lab that is being integrated into the game as well. His development team needs to get feedback on how people interact with the game so they can improve the play experience for future users.


Radical Empathy Education Foundation (REEF) is an Austin-based nonprofit that uses immersive Virtual Reality (VR) experiences to eradicate of one of the 21st century's greatest injustices: Human Trafficking. To support REEF's work, please visit https://www.radicalempathyfoundation.org/donate

Radical Empathy Education Foundation welcomes you to visit their GoFundMe with reward levels for corporate donors at https://www.gofundme.com/radicalempathy

Join us on social media @reefcares across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

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Page Updated Last on: Sep 24, 2018
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