Golden Wrench Destruction For Charity

By Kieron Gillen on August 3rd, 2010 at 9:44 pm.

I HATE WRENCHES

This is somewhat inspired. You recall the Golden Wrenches circa the last Team Fortress 2 update? WiNGSPANNT despised his – number 31 – but had a bright idea of how to turn its annihilation into a force for good. In short, he’s using its destruction as an excuse to raise money for Child’s Play. To simplify the whole system, the twenty highest donators will be invited to join him on a server to observe this crushing to powder of a modern day Excalibur. Inspired by this Seven (Count ‘em!) other golden-wrench owners are going to follow suit, with the whole ceremony being recorded for posterity. Hurrah! Anyway, go forth and donate, or watch this video which explains what’s going on in further detail…

The first video…

And a second update…

And the most recent one…

Hurrah! Donate here, etc.

, .

58 Comments »

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  1. Alex Bakke says:

    What a lovely man.

  2. WiPa says:

    What a neat idea. I would donate if i had a PayPal. :(

    • megalomania says:

      You can pay with a debit/credit card in the bottom left of the payment screen. In that case Paypal just processes it and you don’t need an account.

  3. Chizu says:

    Maybe I am just a total bastard, but I just don’t want to destroy the one thing I’ve ever “won”
    :'(

    I guess I should at least donate to make up for not wanting to destroy my own wrench.

    • Alex Bakke says:

      At the end of the day, it’s a bit of code, a model, etc. Own it, and you’ll be remembered by people who play TF2. Destroy it, and you’ll be remembered by people everywhere. Plus, you’ll get more people to donate :)

    • The Great Wayne says:

      Not willing to sound nihilistic, but you’ll most probably not be remembered either way, so just go with whatever suits you and your conscience right now. At the end of the day there’ll still be plenty of causes to donate to or act for if you’re feeling an urge to do so and plenty of more meaningful things to win than a golden wrench.

    • Vague-rant says:

      Yeh, being remembered by “people everywhere” seems a little strong.

    • Alex Bakke says:

      Yeah, that was a little strong, let me reword. You’ll be remembered as a nice guy who helped to change the life of others by sacrificing an item that doesn’t really matter, compared to one who chose to hold on to an item. You’re still donating of course, which is great, but still. Your choice however, I suppose I’m just saying what I’d do in that situation.

    • Berzee says:

      This implies that people won’t give money that money to charity unless they can watch someone destroy things … which means that those people will be remembered by me, as jerks.

    • Nick says:

      Don’t be guilted into it, donating is actually better than just destroying it.

  4. egg says:

    Damn, this is just so cool. Really nice idea.

  5. Vague-rant says:

    I’ve always wondered why people need a specific event or fund raiser to carry out a donation. Surely if you want to give the charity should be reason enough?

    Thats not to detract from what they’re doing though. I think its great.

    • Berzee says:

      Exactly. Like in my comment above — does this mean they won’t give money if wrenches don’t die? I wonder the same thing about charity races and drives and dinners, too.

    • DJ Phantoon says:

      It’s a lot easier to justify donating to a good cause when they do something.

      The Salvation Army guy outside the Walmart is just as important as any other drive, even if it will bring in far less. (I don’t have an England appropriate analogy, sorry.)

      You don’t seem to be the type to donate anything, anyways, so why judge from your ivory tower?

    • laikapants says:

      @DJ Phantoon:

      The Salvation Army is in England too, it’s where they’re from. See the Christmas Episode of Mr. Bean (the most readily available thing I could think of): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xzkm-kbx2T4

      That said, in regards to why people might donate now and not other times, a sense of belonging to a thing bigger than themselves. Sure you could donate $5 anytime you feel like, but during an event your $5 can be part of the $10,000 (or whatever).

    • Hobbes says:

      To cynics who demand either total saintly benevolence or abso-fucking-lutly nothing, and inspired by Chizu, Vague Rant and Berzee:

      People aren’t Hobbsian creatures of pure selfishness, but neither are they ideal Kantian beings of selflessness. The practical compromise that we seem to have come to is that while we all acknowledge charity as a virtue, most of us need to be psychologically pushed into it. Something like this engages us quickly, and makes it easier to exercise our ‘better natures’.

      Compare the costs & benefits of a Golden Wrench-holder vs. a potential donor: the former loses something unique but gains the psychological reward of knowing the massive multiplier effects caused by their actions that will benefit those in need; the latter has a more straightforward exchange between money for (relatively minor) social benefit & corresponding feeling of having done a ‘good’.

      It’s an awfully good trick to make people do nice things, and it’s worked for me. Perhaps you have better defences.

    • Novotny says:

      Or you could just read the Blind Watchmaker.

    • Wulf says:

      I suppose I’m a bit of an odd one out, here. I donate to a few of charities on a monthly basis, I’m far from rich, but it’s something I want to do. It’s one of the little things I can do to make the aspects of the world I do care about a better place.

      I actually have a subscription to those charities, too.

      I’m not that compelled to toss my money out randomly on charities though, as I’d prefer that what little I did have wasn’t spread in such a fickle way. I am glad that things like this will get others to donate, though. Perhaps even the sort of people who wouldn’t even normally consider donating to charity.

      That’s a good thing, and why I’m all for events like this despite not being able to really offer anything of worth to them.

    • Berzee says:

      Hobbes, I literally meant what I said when I said, “I wonder.” I would like the extremes =P but for certain I know that I am the extremes. For example:

      I knew about Child’s Play before and decided not to give any money to it (based on various financial considerations). Some kind of special event is not going to make me overturn that decision. I know that this is a weakness of my imagination, but I can’t imagine how an event is helpful to people in that. If I decide to give money I will give it because it is needed. If I decide not to, it will be because I can’t afford it or because I am a gluttonous jerk who would rather pay Burger King. (Sadly the latter is common).

      It’s kind of how I feel about commercials on TV. Except for Old Spice, the only way they ever prompt my purchase is if I didn’t know the product existed beforehand. So it makes sense what the destroyer of wrenches says, that this is more of an awareness thing.

      As awareness or a reminder, then, it makes sense.

    • Vague-rant says:

      Like Wulf, I give to certain charities on a regular basis, but almost never give to these kinds of charity events/drives. I don’t think that’s whats the norm, I just wondered why it wasn’t.

      I’m not judging people from any kind of ivory tower (more like prodding from my dung heap), I was just curious. And the awareness explanation has satiated that curiosity.

  6. Berzee says:

    I think those wrenches are cool, btw. I want to see one in real life!

  7. WiNGSPANTT says:

    Kieron,

    Thanks so much for posting this article! I really appreciate it, and thanks to everyone who has given something, even just a few cents! As for everyone else, thanks for the moral support.

    To anyone asking “why do people need a reason to donate?” They don’t. But to be fair, many people have never heard of Child’s Play, so think of this as an awareness campaign rather than a “if you give X you get Y” campaign.

    Cheers,
    WiNGSPANTT

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      Our pleasure. Hope you get a load of cash.

      KG

    • Berzee says:

      That’s sensible. =)
      ( Like Vague-rant said, it’s nothing against your plan, I think it’s a good one. =)

    • WiNGSPANTT says:

      Also if I might suggest a slight correction… I never despised the wrench. In fact, the wrench is quite fun. I despised the idiotic anger and drama that surrounded it on both sides. I despised what it did to the community!

      Thanks again!

  8. Bahumat says:

    I’m calling this now! My bet is:

    Valve is going to release a missive on the TF2 Blog featuring the Administrator soundly decrying this senseless waste of corporate resources in the name of charity, and include a number of links to the event and how to donate.

    Valve has nothing to lose by this, and truckloads of good PR to gain.

    • DerangedStoat says:

      On the flip side, I wouldn’t be surprised if the people sacrificing the wrenches ended up logging in later and finding that Valve’s given them a unique and shiny medic item.

  9. Fergus says:

    That’s amazing. Power to them. Imagine if WoW users did this. In fact, you don’t even have to destroy them … just auction off exceptionally rare items and send the money to charity.

    It’s Sim Broadway, btw.

    • DJ Phantoon says:

      Blizzard already did that. They just took half of the money behind it. Or maybe it was more? I forget.

  10. coupsan says:

    Yes, he’s an attention whore. Yes, you’re all buying into it. Yes, he’s getting money for a charity.

    Good for him.

    • coupsan says:

      To clarify, he’s only doing this because of all the “unwanted attention” he got from having a wrench. You know, because it’s hard to unequip it.

    • DJ Phantoon says:

      PEOPLE THAT DONATE TO WORTHY CAUSES ARE TERRIBLE PEOPLE INDEED.

    • IdleHands says:

      HOW DARE HE HELP THOSE LESS FORTUNATE THAN HIMSELF! THATS BEING SELFISH!

    • Frye says:

      As far as miserable trolls go, you have to admire he managed to find a negative spin on this.

    • Nick says:

      You do know his steam name is on a list along with everyone else who got one, right?

    • WiNGSPANTT says:

      The whole Wrench Log and global announcement parts of it kind of made it impossible to remain anonymous. Plus, don’t forget about tf2items.com

  11. pipman300 says:

    how long till someone is murdered for destroying their golden wrench?

    • pipman300 says:

      remember it’s the steam forums

    • pipman300 says:

      the 100 wrenchs of gold are a tool of evil made to corrupt the souls of all they touch turning them into wrenchwraiths

      engineer is given a plain gold wrench by demoman. spy said it must be taken to mount blu and destroyed

  12. Tom says:

    What a bunch of homos…

  13. Nattfodd says:

    Noble and righteous.. right on.

  14. C0LD-- says:

    His name is WiNGSPANTT, not WiNGSPANNT (one “N”, two “T”s). Please correct that. :)

  15. rei says:

    You’d think internet-people have never heard of a charity other than Child’s Play. How about Oxfam or Amnesty International for a change? Or Save the Children if you’re really that into kids.

    • Vinraith says:

      Child’s Play gets a large amount of attention from gamers because it’s a charity about games started by gamers. I don’t think there’s really any harm in that, but it does make gamers look remarkably insular. I’d love to see some gaming related charity events that benefited organizations not related to gaming, simply to show to the wider world that gamers do care about other things as well.

  16. jon_hill987 says:

    Or you could, you know, just donate some money to charity without someone destroying a wrench?

    • Berzee says:

      That sounds too much like initiative. How can I boast about being part of A Thing, then?

      (except for…well, ymknow, the charity…mrr grble mfff)

      Maybe (and this actually makes sense to me, and is probably the reason that would affect me most) it is less scary to give money to the wrench man and let him do the donating, instead of having to walk the 1,000 step staircase to put your money in the mouth of the glowering lion-money-box that one imagines waits by the office of the charity.

  17. Garg says:

    Yey for SimCity music!

  18. Some guy says:

    Please, don’t do this! Maybe you change your mind 30th august, and save golden wrench for eternity.

  19. dick says:

    DICKS !! ;)

  20. wcaypahwat says:

    I hate those GoodGame guys….

    I’m honestly not quite sure why this guy is getting hated on. He’s doing something that brings attention to the charity. which is always a good thing. Yes, he could just send some money off to them without destroying the wrench. Then tell a couple of his friends he donated to a charity, an get the whole “oh… thats nice” response.

    • Berzee says:

      I think you are missing a little of what we’re saying (some of us at least). It’s not him getting hated on for doing the event.

      And it’s not even his friends getting hated on for being the kind of friends who only say “oh… that’s nice” unless you do give them an event.

      It’s asking, what IS it that makes people who previously said “oh… that’s nice” now turn around and say “yes! I will do it”.

      Seeing as how we’ve got this weird but common prerequisite to donating, I commend him for finding a way to use it. =) Thinking on it more, and paraphrasing some stuff said above, I think I agree that a sense of belonging to something greater is probably at play here. Apparently the charity itself is still too big and distant an organization (even if in reality it’s just like 3 people working in off hours, depending on the charity). Being able to say “I gave 10 bucks to Child’s Play” is good, but there is probably something compelling in being able to say, “WE, the Wrench Destruction Band, gave 1,000 to Child’s Play!”.

      It’s just that, oddly, I’m having difficulty remembering if I’ve ever fallen victim to this phenomenon.

  21. lynxus says:

    Great idea, I dont normally donate on the internet however this cause is just too good and what people are giving up for it just makes it that little more special.

    I’ve donated.

    – Valve make awesome game.
    – Valve make people happy from the game.
    – Now valve can help make people happy who cant play the game.

  22. Lith says:

    I think this is a very amazing and selfless thing to do. Awesome.

  23. Dreadsteel says:

    Well, aproximately 3,000,000 (three million) people have purchased Team Fortress 2. The average price of TF2 is $20. Thats sixty-million ($60,000,00) dollars. Following me? Okay, since one-hundred (100) Golden Wrenches have been given out that means each wrench is worth $600,000 dollars (More than it costs the Heavy to fire his minigun for 12 seconds.). So that Wrench was like winning a virtual lottery. So that Wrench is really like a $600,000 piece of jewelry, useless exept for showing off but very, very, VERY valuable. If I had one I would keep it and just donate some money to the charity or something.

  24. CWalker00 says:

    Valve have caught wind. It’s rather touching.
    It’s on the TF blog. No link for you

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