It's not often I get to write about video games, much less in a space ostensibly dedicated to discussing Muskogee businesses, but this is one of those rare occasions: a major Belarusian game developer has partnered with the Muskogee War Memorial Park to help Save the Batfish.

Wargaming.net has released a Save the Batfish bundle for their popular free-to-play title World of Warships, distributing the pack of cosmetic items for $10 a pop. All of the proceeds are going toward moving the beleaguered World War II submarine to a safer position after late May flooding deposited the boat on the bank of its basin. 

"Working to preserve these ships and their history is part of our mission to ensure future generations can fully understand and remember those who served,” said Ray Hazlip, Regional Publishing producer at Wargaming. “Our community has shown us how passionate they are about preserving naval history as two years ago they raised approximately $300,000 to restore the USS Texas.”

Prior to writing the story about the partnership, I hadn't spent much time with World of Warships, not being of the nautical nor military persuasions — but now that I have several hours into the game, I have to say, Wargaming's affection for preserving history is apparent.

More than that, however, it should emphasize the treasure that Muskogee has in the USS Batfish. The plight of the submarine has drawn attention and assistance from multiple national — and now multi-national — sources, as well as significant local donations.

Take the Trivia Night hosted by Lt. Gov. Matt Pinnell, for example, or the Muskogee Brewing Company's release of a Batfish-themed beer. Consider also the Muskogee-Davis Regional Airport's cooperation with the Commemorative Air Force to donate $1,074 following the CAF's August visit.

“To those who do not see it, the Batfish represents a weird roadside attraction dedicated to crazy sailors who wanted to honor their lost friends. To the inquisitive mind with an eye for history, a visitor can learn about the value of service, the impact that the United States Submarine Force had on the war in the Pacific,” said Brent Trout, executive director of the Muskogee War Memorial Park. “...Protecting the USS Batfish means saving history and protecting the sacrifice of every sailor who called a submarine home.”

In steps both large and small, dollar by dollar and inch by inch, we're preserving one of the most important pieces of history in Muskogee, and it's encouraging to see communities step up to the plate this way. 

The USS Batfish has inspired partnerships of all sizes that have since accomplished incredible things. This cooperation, ranging from national to state to local partnerships, proves how much we value the Batfish, and by extension Muskogee. Above all else, this city cares about two things: its veterans and its history, and these local efforts in particular are a way to honor both.

Besides, it gave me an excuse to sit down and play some video games, and I'm never going to turn that down. 

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