Legendary fighting game competitor Dominique “SonicFox” McLean spent last weekend raising over $US20,000 ($29,618) for charity during a marathon livestream that featured copious amounts of Mortal Kombat and Injustice gameplay, surprise guest appearances, musical performances, and one major change to the young player’s facial hair.
SonicFox has long been open about his identity, which could be summed up in his declaration, “I’m gay, also the best Dragon Ball FighterZ player on this fucking planet, don’t forget it,” which he posted after being crowned Evo 2018 champion.
SonicFox’s openness about his sexuality has has resulted in some pushback from bigots, but this pride in who he is has also made SonicFox an important figure not only in the competitive fighting game community but throughout the gaming world. He recently used this clout for good to put on a 72-hour Twitch broadcast focused on raising money for The Trevor Project, which provides “crisis intervention and suicide prevention” services for LGBTQ+ youth.
Last weekend, SonicFox started streaming marathon by working his way through the story modes in various NetherRealm Studios games, starting with the 2009 Mortal Kombat reboot before eventually moving on to Injustice: Gods Among Us, Mortal Kombat X, Injustice 2, and Mortal Kombat 11. These cinematic moments were interspersed with training, online matches, general silliness. SonicFox provided rewards for single donations, and over the course of the stream, the fundraiser began to reach specific predetermined milestones.
At the $US3,000 ($4,443) mark, for instance, he donned his iconic fursuit and guessed out some Super Mario 64 music on piano. At other points, he enlisted his roommate to write viewer-suggested words and phrases on his body, including “MEMES” and “TRANS RIGHTS.”
SonicFox made sure to take frequent breaks, allowing a team of volunteers to maintain the broadcast while he napped or simply stepped away from the stream. Twitch has an unfortunate history of livestreamers doing damage to their bodies and even dying during marathon broadcasts, so it was nice to see SonicFox ensuring that he didn’t suffer any monumental sleep deprivation even as he worked to support a good cause.
The stream was also punctuated by guest appearances. Musician and online memester Left at London joined SonicFox for an adorable duet of her single “Waiting on a Ghost” when the fundraiser reached $US6,000 ($8,885) on Saturday evening.
Mikey Neumann, a former Gearbox employee who worked extensively on the Borderlands franchise, popped his head into the stream on Sunday to provide his support. During his appearance, he slipped into character as Scooter, the loveable, automobile-obsessed mechanic that Neumann has voiced since the Borderlands series began in 2009. Naturally, this included Scooter shouting, “Trans rights!” as part of a running theme on the broadcast.
SonicFox even got a visit from Ed Boon, co-creator of Mortal Kombat and creative director at NetherRealm Studios. The pair dealt with some communication errors but ultimately managed to discuss SonicFox’s accomplishments in Boon’s competitive projects and briefly flirted with the idea of putting an homage to SonicFox’s fursona in Mortal Kombat 11.
56 hours into the broadcast, SonicFox hit his $US20,000 ($29,618) goal thanks to a $US1,900 ($2,814) donation, one of the biggest single donations of the weekend. This meant that he had to shave his mustache on stream, leaving just an Abraham Lincoln-style chin beard. SonicFox has had some sort of mustache since being able to grow facial hair, but luckily, he doesn’t hate his new look, saying he thought he looked “lowkey cute.”
SonicFox’s fundraiser for The Trevor Project was fun, silly and, most of all, important, raising awareness for a worthy charity while providing an entertaining broadcast over the course of the weekend.
SonicFox has plans to do more of these marathons in the future — perhaps with even more high-profile guest appearances — so expect to see additional fundraisers from him in between the beatdowns he hands out at fighting game tournaments across the country.