That’s it: the GameBlast17 event is now over. During the weekend just passed, I participated in a 72-hour gaming marathon with the aim of raising as much awareness and money as possible for the amazing charity that is SpecialEffect. A huge thank you to those lovely people who joined us while we were live on Twitch!
This is the longest marathon we’ve ever done and it was certainly an eye-opener: not everything went according to plan and we definitely learnt a few new, tough lessons. That’s not to say we didn’t enjoy ourselves however; we had an absolutely excellent time and have already started talking about what we’re going to do for GameBlast18. Here’s what the experience of this year’s event taught me…
However much you test, you haven’t tested enough
After two weeks’ worth of testing during which there were no big issues, my capture card decided to throw some major problems our way during the first 90 minutes of the marathon. We’re still not entirely sure of the cause: it decided to stop pulling game sound into the stream. Eventually we got the damn thing running again, although it was up-and-down throughout the entire 72-hours.
Apologies to anybody watching at those times and thank you for bearing with us. It goes to show you that however much you test, it can never be enough – there’ll always be a situation you haven’t tested for.
Point-and-clicks aren’t great to play at 04:00 in the morning
Each member of the Gamely Giving team team chose a genre for the marathon and I took on adventure games. They’re something I’m comfortable with and I don’t find them ‘stressful’ to play, so I thought they’d be a good choice for the 04:00 to 10:00 shift after dragging myself our of bed.
Oh god, was I wrong. My brain couldn’t function properly after such a broken sleeping pattern and I couldn’t figure out the puzzles put in front of me; I ended up resorting to a walkthrough after realising I’d been walking around the same few rooms for thirty minutes. Next year I’ll be choosing role-playing games with a little more action, something to keep me focused and awake.
Eventually, you forget the camera and make a fool of yourself
My cats, Link and Zelda, made frequent appearances on the stream after taking a shine to Nathan and choosing to sit on the sofa with us rather than hide away upstairs. The only problem with that was we eventually we forgot about the webcam being in the room… and started ‘baby-talking’ to them while live on air. Yes, I tell my cats they’re pretty; and no, I don’t have any street-cred left. Don’t judge me.
There’s no such thing as too much sleep
Adrenaline on the first night of the stream kept us all awake until the early hours – even myself, who went to bed around 23:00 to get some sleep before a 04:00 start and just couldn’t drop off. Every single member of the team ended up falling asleep live on air at least once during another person’s shift because our sleep-patterns were so broken… there may be a video-montage coming at some point.
One of the upsides though was that by the end of the marathon, we were all so delirious we ended up having some really bizarre conversations. Nathan proposed a number of ‘unique’ ideas for new video games – I suggest any developers reading get in touch with him as soon as possible.
Wotsits are the food of gods
Despite buying in the food recommended by SpecialEffect for consumption during a gaming marathon – apples, bananas, fruit loaf, muesli bars and the like – we ended up eating crisps. A whole lot of crisps. So much so that we’ve all now developed an addiction to Wotsits, are starting to look slightly orange and seem to be leaving a strange, synthetic cheesy smell in our wake. God I need a salad and a gallon of water, as soon as possible.
When men get together, there’s at least one South Park joke
It’s one of those unexplained mysteries of the universe: why is it that whenever a group of men get together, there’s always at least one South Park reference? Pete and Nathan seemed to develop a bit of a bromance over the weekend and bonded over their shared love of the animation; unfortunately that meant lots of crude jokes and one-liners, the frequency of which only increased with lack of sleep.
Kevin is really good at playing Octodad one-handed
One of the forfeits submitted by our supporters for our marathon was to play the first level of Octodad using only one hand. As Kevin was the only member of the group who already had the game, he took one for the team and stepped up to take on the challenge when it came up on our Wheel of Forfeit.
This man was just too good. He blitzed through the first level in no time at all and took on as much of the rest of the title as he could with the time left on his shift. The rest of us were left amazed – and slightly jealous that he was able to complete it far better than we can using both hands.
Nathan is one of the funniest people I’ve ever met
I was introduced to Nathan just over a year ago by a friend-of-a-friend after he started popping up during a weekly stream we had going at the time. We’d never actually met in person until the marathon stream, when he came to stay with us in Essex in order to get himself a tattoo after the event.
There were two things I found out about him. Firstly, he has no sense of geography whatsoever; the tattoo parlour he was booked in at was based in Oxford and he thought this was in London, so there was a lot of frantic train-ticket-buying during the weekend. Secondly, he’s one of the funniest people I’ve ever met; I haven’t laughed so much in ages and he had me in stitches. This man is an absolute legend.
Pete puts up with a lot from me
Pete is the sort of person doesn’t like a lot of attention. He doesn’t want to be the centre of a crowd, doesn’t particularly like being photographed or in front of a camera, and will always come up with an excuse to get out of wearing a costume if at all possible.
But the marathon saw him cosplaying as the main character from Dad Quest by Sundae Month while playing the game on air after we received a forfeit from the lovely team at Excalibur Games (that’s us us in all of our moustachioed-glory in the photograph opposite). Pete puts up with a hell of a lot from me and I couldn’t have done any of this without his support – he’s simply awesome.
The WordPress community is one of the best out there
I can’t thank you gorgeous people enough for all of your support. There were bloggers who posted announcements about the stream (Luna from GamersUnitedGG Blog, NekoJonez and The Gabby Gamer); individuals who turned up to watch every day (Rob from I Played The Game! and Luke from Hundstrasse) and kind people who promoted us on Twitter throughout the event (Ian from Adventure Rules). A number of you also donated – it means so much to me and the rest of the team!
It’s likely I’ve missed a number of people out of the mentions above and if that’s the case, I’m truly sorry. The weekend went by in a bit of a blur and although I tried to consciously remember as much of it as I could, I’m sure there were parts I’ve forgotten!
At the time of writing, we’ve raised £712.90 for SpecialEffect so we’re a little way off of our £1,000 target. It’s all positive though: we’ve already raised over £120 more than we did during our GameBlast event last year and have several upcoming events to help push us even closer towards our goal. The Gamely Giving JustGiving page will remain open until the end of the year if anyone would like to sponsor us and support the charity.
Once again, and from the bottom of my heart – thank you. ❤
Video game lover, Later Levels blogger and SpecialEffect volunteer. Big fan of wannabe pirates and fine leather jackets.