Pink for Tink: Hardcore Caring
By Jonathan (Ardua) Doyle, OnRPG Journalist.
If you have been on the internet for more than five minutes you are probably aware of a few common truths. First is the John Gabriel Greater Internet Theory that states that anonymity and an audience results in a caustic environment. Secondly, there are no girls on the internet. That or there are girls on the internet and they are better than you at gaming. Really that article of internet faith goes many ways.
Finally, if you’ve been here for more than two minutes you know that people like to fight. Really, really, like to fight. If you’re for PS3, that guy over there is a life time 360 fan. If you like white bread, there’s a forum full of brown bread fanatics who will insult your mother. Communities online have conflict, this is a fact. Some games make it a selling point like Warhammer Online. Then sometimes, just sometimes, online communities show you the absolute greatest side of humanity.
Our evidence for this? The PinkForTink campaign on the Badlands server of Warhammer Online.
Allow me to explain. A married couple called David and Trisha play Warhammer together. Trisha (called Tink in the game) has had a few bad breaks in life as evidenced by the original post on the forums. She previously had cancer and had beaten it but as outlined in a blog by David (usually called Mort) it came back again just before her five year all clear mark. Naturally, for anyone, that’s crushing news. What originally started on the boards as a quick note to let the few friends they had on the server know why they’d be around a little less turned into a massive outpouring of support.
You know, from the internet.
The best was yet to come though. Anyone who has ever come across Breast Cancer is probably aware of the Pink Ribbon Campaigns.. In Warhammer however, a friend of the couple dyed his armor pink instead and from it the name PinkForTink was coined. Soon hundreds of people were dying their armor pink on both sides of the game in a show of support for Trish/Tinkerhell. People were giving away the dyes freely and others were changing their last name in the game, a typically cosmetic addition, to PinkForTink.
Of course Mort and Tinks guild turned out in the colours to show support but the shining star of this story is the fact that some 200+ people also showed up after a forum post () to show support, to show that they care and most importantly to not kill each other until they got the screenshots.
On the internet where everyone “knows” everyone else is a bad guy, in a game where everyone is supposed to kill the guy on the other side of the fence and for a person who none of them have likely ever met in person, this was simply amazing. The community came together and showed support for all the right reasons and let her signal the start of a fantastic brawl afterwards. Destruction won if you are curious by the way.
Personally I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything quite so heart warming in any of my games. Proof that the virtual communities, which you may never come face to face with, really do care.