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New Roblox Metaverse Event Honors Life of Parkland Shooting Victim

Popular gaming platform Roblox has introduced many people to the concept of the metaverse and virtual experiences over the past few years, hosting interactive experiences for major music artists, sports leagues, and brands looking to engage with fans via new mediums.

However, this weekend, Roblox will host a different type of experience: a virtual party celebrating the life of Joaquin Oliver, nicknamed “Guac,” who tragically lost his life in the Parkland, FL school shooting in 2018.

Joaquin’s parents have thrown a party to celebrate his birthday each year since 2020, which they call “Guacathon,” and this year they and Change the Ref, the gun safety and youth empowerment organization they founded, have brought metaverse development studio MELON on board to bring the event to more young people through a Guacathon Roblox experience.

The birthday celebration takes place today, August 4th, but the festivities will continue all weekend. On Friday, August 5th at 3pm PT, rapper Denzel Curry will host a special performance which will be replayed throughout the weekend. Guacathon is described as a virtual urban festival, during which young players will be able to listen to music, interact with art created by contemporary artist Shepard Fairey, and play mini games like a street art race and basketball.

Notably, the Guacathon will include a virtual avatar of Guac, creating an incredibly unique and special experience where attendees will be able to play and enjoy the event alongside him. Players will also be able to unlock exclusive Guac-themed virtual merch, the proceeds of which will go to Change the Ref.

“We’re not having a moment of silence. We’re having a party,” said Joaquin’s mother Patricia. “I’m grateful for the metaverse, for having a place where my son can help people connect and share his life. I want his peers to enjoy a party in his honor and make friends with his metaverse self."

Josh Neuman, co-founder and co-CEO of MELON, added: “It’s an honor to work with the Oliver family and bring Joaquin to the metaverse. Manuel and Patricia’s strength and love for life is an inspiration that has driven this project. We hope that Guacathon moves young people through this celebration, and that they can feel the passion of this special family and the community they have built around them.”