Don't try to convince UTA Library employee and former student Britt LaRiviere that spending 72 hours playing a video game isn't productive. His marathon gaming sessions bring in serious money, yet he keeps none of the profits for himself.
"At last check, we've raised more than $720,000," he says. "It's absolutely crazy. One million is within reach. I never thought it would be."
In March 2008, LaRiviere, then a UTA journalism student, was tasked with blogging for a class. He chose to blog about gaming and was intrigued by a technology in its infancy at the time: online video streaming. With his brother and a few buddies, he hosted a 72-hour-long gaming marathon, streaming video while they played The Legend of Zelda.
They didn't want their efforts to be a waste of time, so they organized the gaming marathon like a telethon.
The number of players and viewers has steadily grown in the almost 10 years since their debut, when they raised $1,100 for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. "TheSpeedGamers"—as they are called now—have quite a following and quite a future.
"I'm still having a lot of fun," LaRiviere says. "There's no end in sight."