If you follow anyone from AMD’s Red Team Plus community, you may have seen phrases like “Pay It Forward” or “Build It Forward” tossed around, replete with images of beautiful custom-built gaming PCs. I first caught wind of this movement (calling it anything less would be selling it short) two years ago when I was still writing at Forbes. I was so captivated by it that I immediately started participating and spreading the word. Unfortunately, I never found the right opportunity to shine a spotlight on the people handing out this year-round PC gaming goodness, so that changes today. But what exactly is this all about? Who’s behind it all? And what they heck do they do?
To define it simply, “Building it forward” is a movement adopted by AMD Radeon advocates that finds the community joining forces to bring the thrill of PC gaming to people who otherwise may not be able to experience it. Red Team Plus co-founder Ian Johansen has a better description, though. Here’s how he framed it during a recent conversation: “For me it’s about continuing to help those less fortunate or stuck in a crappy situation. Those with great hearts and awesome intentions, who never have the chance or the means to get ahead and own a modern gaming system.”
In 2016 alone, Ian has built 5 complete systems for people, and has contributed enough components like SSDs, AMD FX CPUs, and Radeon graphics cards forward to the 20 Red Team Plus members to assist in creating several more. Not only does he donate insane amounts of time, but the money to buy the parts frequently comes out of his own pocket.
One of the most memorable Build It Forwards Ian orchestrated was for a fellow named Cody (@dr4d1s on Twitter). When DICE’s Battlefield 4 first launched, Cody was struggling to continue playing it with the community due to a seriously outdated PC. “The longer we played, the more apparent it became just how difficult his system was to use,” Ian says. “I remember him saying that he had a new AMD build planned – down to the penny – and was waiting for his next tax return because it was the only spare money he would have all year.”
Sadly, Murphy’s Law struck and did what Murphy’s Law does best. A few days before his tax return arrived “all hell broke loose at his house,” Ian recalls. “Now he had to divert money he didn’t even have yet (and then some) to house repairs, and the poor guy’s car broke down the very next day. His dream of that new AMD build vanished.”
Ian bought a motherboard and hard drive, then rallied the AMD Radeon community and the great folks at XFX. Everyone dug deep and shipped a box of brand-new components for Cody to build his own fantastic gaming PC (Ian would have built it, but Cody had mentioned being excited about the building process itself).
Between the entire Red Team Plus team and our amazing community, there are stories like this that would fill dozens of blogs and hundreds of pages. Stories of redemption and selflessness. Stories of giving just to add another person to the Radeon ranks who wouldn’t have the financial means to do so on their own. Stories where hope has replaced hopelessness.
“I’m really proud to be part of a movement that is helping people get out there and game, and to help them become involved in a community that is full of positivity and generosity,” Ian told me.
Indeed, the attitude is contagious. This holiday I decided to build at least 3 systems for some unsuspecting recipients. I purchased a few Gigabyte motherboards and hard drives and promised to donate some of my spare Radeon GPUs and FX CPUs to the cause. Within literally minutes of asking the community for help to round out the builds, I had hundreds of dollars of cases, CPU coolers, and power supplies donated. Not hand-me-downs, either. People were buying parts on Amazon or Newegg. Without even being approached, Fractal Design chipped in three Core 2300 cases.
So when you hear me talk about my love for this community of gamers and PC builders, this is where that love comes from. In fact, it’s one of the reasons I was so enthusiastic about joining Radeon Technologies Group. When you see hashtags like #PayItForward and #PositivityThroughGaming, now you understand the movement behind the message.
If you want to join the cause or even donate a single part to someone in need, all you need to do is contact a Red Team Plus member like Ian Johansen (he’s @Torn_TV on Twitter), or leave a comment here. We’ll put you on the right path.
Stay tuned for more Build It Forward stories! Happy holidays, and happy gaming from all of us here at Radeon Technologies Group.
Jason Evangelho is Sr. Technical Marketing Specialist for the Radeon Technology Group at AMD. His postings are his own opinions and may not represent AMD’s positions, strategies, or opinions. Links to third party sites, and references to third party trademarks, are provided for convenience and illustrative purposes only. Unless explicitly stated, AMD is not responsible for the contents of such links, and no third party endorsement of AMD or any of its products is implied.