Fly Gabe Newell Campaign Exceeds Targets

Not for much longer, it seems.

A quick update on the Fly Gabe Newell story, where amateur L4D campaign maker Joe W-A is trying to raise the money to fly Gabe Newell and Erik Johnson to Brisbane, Australia, so they will call off their boycott of his mod. (Read the original story to make sense of this.) He needed to make roughly $2400 to achieve this. Rather incredibly he’s just broken the $3000 barrier. Gabe, you’re going to Oz.

Joystiq spoke to someone at Valve who suggests that Gabe will honour his agreement.

However, it seems that’s no reason to stop giving money to Joe’s cause. Joe has committed that all excess money (so long as the donator agrees to it) will go to Penny Arcade’s Child’s Play charity. Child’s Play raises money for providing toys and games for kids in hospitals around the world. It’s a good place for your money to end up. Of course, if you’re concerned about the ambiguity of giving the money this way, you could always just give some money to Child’s Play directly.

If we were a multi-million dollar company who could afford a billion plane flights, we’d certainly make sure most of the money raised went in that direction and still go on the trip.


  1. John Walker says:

    Gorgeras – the points I made weren’t all connected, clearly. Above someone has posted a peculiar rant about how Joe is an anti-Valve boycotter. Which he is not. So I said so. And I made no comment either away about this bloody boycott.

    Lobotomist – the suit comment wasn’t entirely serious.

  2. Psychopomp says:

    link to


  3. Jim Rossignol says:

    “I will never again buy another game by Valve.”

    I did laugh out loud just there.

  4. Lobotomist says:

    Hehe. It is funny.

    Note I said “I will never again buy another game by Valve.”


    “I will never again play another game by Valve.”


    This is how it works in my neighborhood

  5. IdleHands says:

    Lobotomist –

    Valve have a marketing department?! My lord now they’ll be able to advertise their games. That is diabolical with a capital Dire! Any company with a marketing department instantly means they are unclean and they run every email through the department for the suitable response.

    It’s all a marketing conspiracy! Also JFK was shot from the grassy knoll. Aliens landed in Roswell. It’s definitely a malicious marketing ploy and not a harmless joke.

  6. Dave Gates says:

    For the love of god… I love this site because it usually has such open minded people. Why all the bile? This is a fun entertaining piece of news. I think there is more then a bit of jealousy being bounced around. Oh and all those saying that this is merely rewarding an angry nerd for the love of god look at your own posts because that is exactly what you’re becomming. Something funny has happened, rejoice in it rather than smash it down.

  7. Justin Keverne says:

    By this point I don’t care if he gives my $10 to Child’s Play or keeps it for himself. He’s brought a fair amount of amusement to my weekend and he’s earned my money. I could rant about how I actively give to charity anyway but nobody’d believe me and quite frankly whether I do or not is nobody else’s business.

    This is rather nice, if unplanned PR, but Valve aren’t stupid they’ll make sure they come out of this looking good. If Gabe and Erik go it’ll be on their dime and all the money raised will go to Child’s Play, probably with a hefty addition from Gabe himself.

    Anyway, roll on L4D2 should keep me more than happy until I can can get me some Episode 3.

  8. Lambchops says:

    i can almost see Lobotomist coming out with a team America style “The corporations are bad because they are all corporationy” type of comment.

    Every bloody games company does some sort of PR whether they be a behemoth publisher or a little indie dev. That Valve happen to be somewhat adept at it doesn’t make them somehow evil and worthy of completely boycotting. I’ve got to say i’m incredibly confused by the PR = bad insinuations you appear to be making; unless I misunterstand you and you are mad at something else entirely.

    Showing protesters what they are protesting against in an effort to make them understand it is an age old technique (big pharmaceutical companies, for example, used to do this with animal rights protestors before the protestors lost almost all their public sympathy by digging up people’s dead relatives) and a worthwhile one. It wont always change people’s minds but at least it stops uninformed, lunatic accusations.

  9. Alan Wilson says:

    As John Walker says, you do rather have to love Valve. And no, I’ve never seen them in a suit. The “Marketing suit” is Doug Lombardi, who actually plays in a rock band and spent half of the GDC Valve party discussing rock minutiae with our own ex-rock-star, John Gibson.

    They are hugely succesful BECAUSE they are fun and do give a rat’s bum for the game-playing public. Do they get it ALL right? No, of course not. Do they have a great sense of humor? Yes, mostly :) Will Gabe actually fly to Brisbane? Most probably!

    Good story, guys!

  10. Lobotomist says:

    So Valve people are bunch of cool guys. Check.

    [Deleted. I am NOT letting this become another thread about boycotting Valve because of L4D2 – John]

  11. dsmart says:

    wot Alan said.

    The issue here is that once people make up their minds about something – e.g. vilifying Valve – nothing you do or say will change their minds. And when you try, thats when hilarity ensures.

    Stunt or not, this is just fun stuff and anyone who tries to decry it as anything but, is a frigging idiot.

  12. John Walker says:

    Just for the record, I don’t say you have to love Valve. However, I think the way they behave in this industry makes them seem loveable.

  13. Funky Badger says:

    to support a company that made me feel like ass.

    Dude, I don’t think its the company that’s at fault here…

  14. abhishek says:

    If Gabe/Erik do make the trip, I’m sure we’re going to get more blog hilarity from inside Valve like the time when Robin fired everyone but the intern.
    This is just good fun for everyone involved, I just don’t really understand why people are pissed off about even this.

  15. Funky Badger says:

    I just don’t really understand why people are pissed off about even this.

    Injured pride?

  16. dsmart says:

    @ John Walker

    Just for the record, I don’t say you have to love Valve. However, I think the way they behave in this industry makes them seem loveable.

    For my part, I have worked with Valve (and chatted with Gabe and the higher ups as well) almost on a daily basis since our games were signed to came to Steam. They really are a class act and a clear cut above the rest. Bar none. Anyone saying otherwise is just plain jealous. Or somethin’

  17. nickski says:

    I love valve, i love em love em love em. with cherries on top and everything, like i love my mum. lotsa love, and hugs to valve, and why not?

  18. Mad Doc MacRae says:

    To whomever was wondering, I suspect the reason it seems like there is so much bile is because most people will read this story, smile, and go on to have a wonderful day (or at least a slightly less crappy one) without posting on the internet about it. There’s a silent majority out there who thinks this whole development is cool.

  19. Low Quality Beard says:

    I’m always impressed how people can delude themselves into believing really anything, although I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised I do live in the US, it’s a national past time to be delusional.

    Anyway, it’s a kind gesture that forces a smile to creep across ones face, that said I’d be quite impressed if Gabe and Erik actually went down to Australia, I have a feeling they wont simply because that 18 hour flight would be too daunting, at least for me. Also honorable mention for the modder, very classy move saying he’d check with those who donated first before giving it away to charity.

  20. drewski says:

    Mo’ money, mo’ problems, eh Valve?

  21. Simon says:

    I have more respect for Valve than any other game developer out there, they just seem more human than any other!

  22. Gorgeras says:

    I keep seeing comments in different places by people claiming Walking_Target and Agent of Chaos have done a u-turn or actually changed their position.

    Sorry, but it helps if you read what they actually wrote since the visit and not the quote-mined titbits that apparently professional journalists keep using.

    I don’t recall suggesting anything along the lines of your points being all connected John. I only commented on just one: your suggestion towards some unknown group of people or person that they were dismissing this as a Valve publicity stunt. Now you didn’t give names and spoke generally so forgive me if I got you wrong.

    I’m unsure about the way Valve are treating this. I remember four years years ago on the US WoW forums when Eyonix cracked the ‘bus-shock’ joke and and re-ignited all the hate shaman players had for him. Valve are giving mixed messages about whether they care about the Boycott or not and I’d be happier if they just came out and said what they thought rather than “we were suprised”. Just all about opinions they or any journalists or critics have had about the Boycott are so paper-thin they are knocked down by just reading the Boycott manifesto as it’s written.

  23. Mechtroid says:

    I am mechtroid, and I am one of the sile–dangnabit!

  24. Gunhover says:

    John Walker “I think giving a tiny amount of money to something this fun brightens my day, and hopefully will eventually brighten Joe’s. It’s none of your miserable damned business. Thanks!”

    Jim – buy this fella a pint!

    It is simultaneously hilarious and depressing that so many people here are bitching about this situation. People – strangers – on the internet that you don’t even know are freely giving a few bucks both for their own enjoyment and satisfaction, to support a fun news story, a young chap’s ambitious idea and even the potential of a charitable donation to a relevant organisation… and people are complaining like Valve just strangled their puppies.

    It is a prime example that anything Valve have done, do, or will do in the future will just never be good enough for some. They are vehemently and pre-emptively against anything related to the developer for reasons known only to themselves. It’s a really bizarre twist on the fanboy concept, in that rather than blind loyalty they practice blind cynicism and hatred. Yet somehow they think they are different or better than the fans they just have to deride at every turn.

    FWIW, I donated to Joe yesterday, for my own amusement and because this whole situation has lightened up my week of toiling away at work to earn the money that I can choose how to spend. If you think that’s stupid, then the implication is that you believe anyone who spends money on enjoyment is an idiot. The delicious irony of this coming from out of a community of gamers isn’t lost on me, nor the other sane voices on this thread.

    Increasingly, it seems to me that the numerous sour misanthropes unwittingly trolling these sort of subjects are recent refugees from the console generation. The general immaturity, the knee-jerk reactions, the inability to even comprehend the basics of a story, the cries of “Source’s graphics are shit!” and complaints over not getting everything for free immediately on a stomping of the feet are great illustrations of this.

    Anyway, that’s enough complaining about complaining (something that is also not lost on me). I’d personally like to say thanks to everyone who has been involved in covering these developments (RPS <3), donating money, commenting around the internet and generally having a laugh about the whole thing. Honestly, strange as it sounds, you've all helped bring a small fragment of comedy, entertainment and escapism to an otherwise frustrating week in my life.

    Things like this are exactly why I love the true core of the PC gaming community – especially that relatively small sector of us who fondly remember things like the Dopefish, Shodan, MS-DOS installations, shoehorning in that new ISA SB card, Junktown, Bullfrog, shareware, the pixelated Apogee intro, Romero & Carmack, Hell March, the Mark Hamill Marketing Gambit, ludicrous gibs and IDDQD. There's a superb general attitude, shared nostalgia and sense of humour amongst the collective that you just don't find elsewhere in the gaming universe.

  25. TheSombreroKid says:

    This is all good stuff anyone who doesn’t think so has a cold black heart, the end.

  26. Metal_Circus says:

    John Walker, you are so right it hurts. I’m a happy guy, I believe in humans, but they never fail to shatter that illusion into a twinkling shower of tiny, shitty little pieces with horribly cynical and sarcastic comments like “Yay Internet Philanthropy!” courtesy of lePooch and all the other assorted grumbling douchebaggery on display here.

    Some people are never happy. Plenty of people seem to enjoy shelling out 40 quid on a cheap knock-off EA title, yet they get angry when people decide they want to contribute a small portion of their OWN money to what is essentially a bit of fun. Infact i’m quite sure those who donated got more joy from doing so than they did with EA Manshoot 2009 or whatever garbage is being sold today?

  27. Xercies says:

    Actually I’m a PC guy and not one of these console generation. And to be honest yes you can spend your own damn money to whatever you like and I haven’t stopped you from doing that, unless of course my words affect your wallet in some strange way. i was just commenting that I feel that the people who did this were kind of stupid because they spent their ahrd earned money on a joke and if they wanted it to go to charity wouldn’t they send it to charity.

    And as for thsoe two boycotters, there opinions are suspect because they were being paid by valve to get on a plane sit in a nice comfy chair see nice hardworking people and maybe play a game in a nice enviroment.

    Anyway spend your money I actually see Valve for what they are. A corporate entity they may appear to be on our side but that is mainly to get money from us and nothing more. Valve is not your friend.

  28. Kieron Gillen says:

    ‘But,’ said Candide, ‘isn’t there pleasure in criticizing everything, in finding fault where other men think they find beauty?’
    ‘Which is to say,’ rejoined Martin, ‘that there’s pleasure in not having pleasure?’
    ‘Oh, all right. Have it your way then,’ said Candide.


  29. Lambchops says:

    The thing for me is that i can’t just help loving silly endeavours like this – they just make me smile.

    Whether it’s a guy trading up from a red paperclip to a house, people changing there names to Dave Gorman to aid one man’s drunken bet or joining a cult started frivolously by a lad called Danny (I know i did after I read the book!) these sort of crazy enterprises are just brilliant.

    Then again I am notoriously easily amused!

  30. Guhndahb says:

    This is a good laugh. Silly, yeah, but I like silly. I’ll never be over Macho Grande.

  31. Grey Cap says:

    Why does anybody have to be flown to Australia to see a map (even a work in progress)? Couldn’t Joe’s work be checked out right in the Valve fortress of doom/office?
    Other than the idea being hilarious.

  32. Metal_Circus says:

    Xecies – that’s utterly laughable. There are clear distinctions between Valve and other development/publishing houses. Are you seriously suggesting that Valve and EA are one and the same? They’re both businesses, but i’m sure you’d agree one is absolutley more unethical than the other.

    To merely say that Valve are after your money is hideously a hideously simplistic conclusion to come to as well as wildly innaccurate. Have you any idea how much time and money Valve invest in playtesting? IF they didn’t care about the players then why would they bother?

    In an industry that is becoming more and more about money and less and less about fun/creativity, I think it’s fair to say that Valve are at least standing out, and that’s been the reason for their success. It isn’t some capitalist agenda for chrissakes. That’s EA’s job.

    What is wrong with you guys? Some guy decides to give some money to charity and you have an issue with that? *shakes head in disbelief*

  33. Dominic White says:

    @Grey Cap – nobody HAS to be flown anywhere. It’s just a joke that has grown into fantastic reality. Joe grumbled in a jokey email to Gabe Newell that they should fly HIM to Valves offices, and Valve said they were boycotting his campaign.

    Cue him offering to fly Valve to his house to change their minds over the boycott. And lo and behold, internet legend is made overnight.

  34. Simon Jones says:

    RPS seemed to hit a point of critical mass somewhere in 2009 that shifted it from being a brilliant, ever-so-slightly underground publication with an insightful and open-minded readership to a brilliant, slightly less underground publication with a mixture of open-minded readers and complete arseholes.

    Such is the price of success, I suppose.

    What we need is some kind of AIM-filter on the comments.

  35. Grey Cap says:

    @Dominic. Thanks for the clarification. Well, hilarity counts for a lot in my book, good for him.

    @Xercies. At least agree with me that Valve’s approach to getting publicity is a lot more fun than some. Compare this to the Civony ads!

  36. Grey Cap says:

    Sorry, Evony.

  37. mister_d says:

    John Walker <3 Valve 4 lyfe

  38. Gunhover says:

    @ Xercies “Anyway spend your money I actually see Valve for what they are. A corporate entity… Valve is not your friend.”

    Valve are a corporate entity? I hadn’t even considered this… fancy a company making entertainment products being out to turn a profit. Shocking and horrifying, you have shown me the light.

    In all seriousness, do you honestly believe everyone involved in this isn’t aware that Valve are a for-profit organisation? Somehow the fact they sell their products for a financial gain has escaped us for all this time?

    Games developers have to make a profit to stay in the game. It’s not just about that man. It’s about Valve at least attempting to engage the PC gaming community on a regular basis over issues great and small. They listen to feedback, they even reply to feedback, they pull light hearted pranks and joke around. You even have often-critical journalists and industry insiders here who deal with Valve on a frequent basis tell you they are not the ugly behemoth of a faceless corporation that people like you make out. Doesn’t that tell you something?

    Even I have had numerous conversations about many facets of gaming, often even unrelated to Valve’s catalogue, with people like Gabe, Chet and Zoid. This isn’t a commodity and it’s not something they can tangibly express on their quarterly earnings reports. This actually costs them time and money to reply to the fistful of irreverent emails they get lumped with every day from their customers and fans. It has a PR side to it, yes, but it’s a rare form that also benefits the community. It’s not benevolent altruism and no one is suggesting that, but it’s win-win for all of us. Why is that seen as a bad thing?

    Any one who has worked in the games industry or even the wider corporate world knows the varied signs of particular corporate cultures. To imply that Valve internally are no different from an organisation like, for example, EA, shows a severe lack of understanding in this area.

    It takes an extremely cynical mind to believe that 100% of everything Valve do is purely motivated by profit and profit alone. Frankly, if that’s your attitude, I also feel sorry for you… At least we share something in common there, right?

  39. EGTF says:

    Can I start a website asking for donations to pay for a train for John, Kieron, Jim and Alec to come to my pub for a pint?

  40. A Delicate Balance says:

    This kind of thing is definitely cause for me to smile. By “this kind of thing” I mean the article, not the bitching about Valve. Some people just seem to live to bitch. I pity them.

  41. Muzman says:

    Don’t you poor fools get it? You’re all being taken for a ride! This is part of one of the most insidious pieces of brand boosting and profile raising in grassroots marketing history and right here is the spearhead.
    The truly devious part is the warping of positive feeling by the creation of an extreme negative. Yes, Lobotomist I’m on to you, you despicable nihilistic shill. How much did they get you for? What’s 30 pieces of silver adjusted for inflation? You walk in here sowing that extreme killjoy viewpoint; knowing full well that the poor simple folk of RPS will get riled up, cementing an even more positive view of fun-loving Valve as a result.
    Oh I see it. I see it oh so clearly. The genius of it. To twist the human spirit like that, by god it’d be beautiful if it weren’t so horrible.

  42. lumpi says:

    You know, people ask me (for interviews with Vanity Fair and such), “lumpi,…”, they ask me, “why do you still like Valve despite being so negative about L4D2?”.

    Then, I laugh (to get a [laughs] tag into the interview, which makes me look sympathetic) and answer: “Well, look at the whole story of Gabe being flown to Australia to try some random guy’s L4D campaign. Show me another company that does things like that!” And then they nod, knowingly.

  43. Dracko says:

    making money is bad

    you should all be starving right now YOU MONSTERS

  44. Jim Rossignol says:


    Very good.

  45. Andrew says:

    I think we should start a campaign to fly all AIM. not to valve though. to an island in the middle of the ocean. or maybe antartica. though their cynicism might melt the polar ice caps completely so maybe not

  46. Xercies says:


    The thing is I find Valve more dangerous then EA, with EA you know what your egtting but Valve put on this smily face. And yes everything they do is to get profit, if they have happy customers they get profit from them. I’m not saying this is a bad thing but I’m saying is that people should be aware of this, they only care because your footing the bill.

  47. Psychopomp says:



  48. sinister agent says:

    I’ve never been a big fan of Valve’s games. I enjoyed Half-life, and the one with the flags, but otherwise their work has left me a tad unbothered. However, as a bunch of people, they entertain and impress me no end.

  49. DarkNoghri says:

    @Dave Gates
    Was a link to the campaign not posted anywhere? Hmm.
    link to
    It doesn’t look half bad.

  50. Vinraith says:

    Further evidence that there are large swaths of the population I’m just never going to understand. Congrats to Joe, anyway, who seems to have acted genuinely in all this regardless of anyone else. I suspect that’s the final nail for the boycott being taken seriously, which is a shame since it means we’ll not be seeing any new content beyond Crash Course. Ah well, at least it got us that.