I’m sure that most of the readers of my blog are familiar with Ben Abraham. He’s been a key figure in the video game blogging community for the last couple of years, both through his own blog (most recently with his permadeath series) and his tireless participation in discussions in other blogs and fora (I’ve certainly enjoyed his Vintage Game Club contributions). Earlier this year, he founded Critical Distance, not to act as a home for his own writings but to highlight others’ writings, to enrich our discussions by making us aware of thoughts and works that we would otherwise have missed.

I had a great time earlier this year in the heady mix of conversations and ideas that is the Game Developer’s Conference; but, during and after that time, I kept wishing that Ben had been there, because I really would have liked to hear his perspective on the event, to hear about what he would have dug up that I missed in all the hubbub. And, chatting with Michael Abbott recently, I found that he felt the same way.

So Michael and I have decided to draft Ben to serve as a sort of roving reporter for GDC! And in a happy turn of events, Gamasutra has graciously consented to arrange for him to have access to the event: as part of the agreement that is allowing them to publish Ben’s This Week in Videogame Blogging series, they are kindly providing a GDC 2010 all-access entry pass for Ben.

Which gets the major hurdle out of the way; but there remains a rather large ocean between Ben and GDC. And this is where I would like to enlist your assistance, because intercontinental plane flights aren’t cheap. If you’ve appreciated Ben’s nurturing of our community the way I have, please use the widget below to help defray his plane flight expenses. If you’ll chip in the price of the last video game you bought, we’ll easily be able to pay for his plane flight; if that’s too much, smaller amounts are also welcome. All the money we gather will go directly to Ben’s GDC expenses (except for the credit card processing fees that PayPal deducts); I’d also appreciate people putting this widget on their blog (click on its ‘Copy’ tab), or publicizing this on twitter.

We thank you in advance for all of your help.

(Edit: The values the widget gives below are broken; in fact, rather frustratingly, as I type this it shows less money having been contributed now than it was showing this afternoon! Thanks for those of you who have contributed so far; we’re up to $160 as I type this, which is certainly an encouraging start!)

(Edit 2: Chipin seems to be doing something wrong with their caching headers, or something, because emptying the cache seems to fix the issue. We’re up to $428 now! (now = morning of 11/19))

(Side note: the widget is acting a little funny; there’s normally a 5-minute delay before its total gets updated, but I’m still waiting on one contribution to show up. I’ve got an e-mail in to ChipIn’s support; in the mean time, rest assured that, if you’ve clicked on the widget and told PayPal to send money, it goes directly into a PayPal account I’ve set up for this purpose, whether or not the widget updates properly.)

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