SpecialEffect, charity, smile, boy, Arlo, video games, wheelchair, monitor, computer screen

GameBlast18: lessons learnt

That’s it: GameBlast18 is officially done. This weekend just gone saw myself, Pete, Ben and Nathan playing video games continuously for 24-hours with the aim of raising as much money and awareness as possible for the amazing charity that is SpecialEffect. A huge thank you to everyone who gave us their support, donated towards the cause and stopped by to say hello while we were live on Twitch.

It was a challenge despite not being the longest marathon we’ve ever participated in (that was 72-hours in 2017), but we had an absolutely excellent time and have already started thinking about what to do for the next event in 2019. Each GameBlast stream teaches us something new and here’s an overview of what we learnt our latest experience…

You can never test enough

The start of last year’s marathon was a disaster: there were no issues during two weeks’ of testing but on the big day, my capture card stopped pulling game sound into the stream. Although we managed to get it running again, there were problems throughout the 72-hour period and investigation afterwards revealed that it really doesn’t like hot-swaps. We therefore decided to stick to PlayStation titles only this time to avoid any similar complications.

However, our new microphone decided to keep turning itself off after several hours of streaming so we were hit we sound issues again! Our pre-marathon testing hadn’t taken place over a long enough period to discover this. Fortunately we found an easy workaround so we were able to keep the channel up for 24-hours after a shaky 30 minutes, but it goes to show you that no amount of testing will completely prepare you for show-time.

Old friends are good friends

Ben and I met through our individual blogs over five years ago and have been friends ever since, and sadly we don’t get to hang out as often as we used to due to family and work commitments. I’ve known Nathan for a shorter length of time after being introduced through several bloggers, and we haven’t seen each other in person since last year’s GameBlast event as we live in opposite sides of the UK.

But get us together and it’s like we’ve never been apart: as soon as we were all in the same room, everything just clicked into place. These are exactly the kind of friends you need to get through a 24-hour marathon. Streaming for an extended period is a challenge and you have to work together, cheering each other on and picking up your mates when it’s late and sleep is starting to set in. Thanks boys – I couldn’t wish for a better stream-team.

Horror games aren’t great after 15 hours of streaming

Last year I made the mistake of taking the 04:00 to 10:00 slot and playing adventure games during my stream shift. My brain couldn’t function properly due to a broken sleeping pattern for 72-hours meaning I couldn’t figure out any of the puzzles in front of me, and I ended up resorting to a walkthrough after realising I’d been walking around the same few rooms for 30 minutes.

Our error this time was starting Resident Evil 15 hours into the stream. Anyone who’s played the original title will remember all the locked rooms, keys and backtracking; not a good combination when you’re tired and still have eight hours ahead of you. We made the decision to deviate from our schedule and change a title mentioned in the following section, showing that sometimes you need to be prepared to throw the plan out of the window.

PlayLink games are excellent for a marathon

GameBlast, Instagram, Later Levels, cat, Zelda, screen, television, video games

Every member of our stream-team would recommend Hidden Agenda after getting the opportunity to play it during the marathon. It literally kept us on the edge of our seats for almost three hours and the fact that we could all participate via PlayLink using our mobiles made it a great game to choose for the event. The ‘takeover cards’ added a nice competitive touch and at one point, six were played in a row as we tried to best each other.

The title that replaced Resident Evil was That’s You!, one which wasn’t on our schedule and was only installed as a backup after receiving it as a free PlayStation Plus game. What a hidden gem though: there were tears in our eyes from laughing so much and it was the perfect pick-me-up when we were all getting sleepy. Having to take selfies and then look at yourself on-screen is a little unsettling but get past that, and you’re in for a good time.

Diet is important

Later Levels, Instragram, GameBlast, Wotsits, laptop

SpecialEffect recommend certain foods for consumption during a gaming marathon such as fruit, nuts and muesli bars. Despite good intentions and buying all that for last year’s stream, we ended up eating a whole lot of crisps and developing an addiction to Wotsits along with a strange, orange glow. This time around we decided to be a little more sensible about our diet and planned proper meals to keep ourselves fed and awake.

That doesn’t mean we went without crisps though and a lot of coffee was drunk by the boys (you’ve got to allow yourself a few treats along the way). For anyone planning an extended stream, I’d say give a bit of thought to what you’re going to eat and drink because it’s more important than you realise. Keep plenty of water on standby so you can stay hydrated and don’t resort to snacking on anything sugary, as you’ll just end up crashing.

Ben and Nathan can make a song out of anything

Ben and Nathan individually are two of the funniest people I know. Although they’ve known each other for several years now, last weekend was the first time they’d met each other in person and it was everything I’d dreamed of: combining their powers made them unstoppable. It was thanks to them that we were laughing throughout the entire 24-hours and as mentioned above, they’re exactly the kind of people you need on your stream-team.

Something the experience taught me is that they can make a song out of absolutely anything. They came up with a particular beauty while trying to solve a block puzzle in RiME, the lyrics were sung to No Diggity: “I like the way you push it (no diggity), you’ve got to line it up.” Surely it’s only a matter of time before they create their first album and unleash their musical genius on the world.

24-hours is just as challenging as 72-hours

Considering we’d completed a 72-hour marathon last year (albeit in a shift pattern), we went into this year’s stream feeling certain we’d get through it easily. We didn’t realise just how difficult it would actually be and were under-prepared in terms of how much sleep we’d all gotten during the previous week, making the last six hours from 02:00 onwards incredibly challenging. We were overconfident.

The experience has taught us that participating in a stream of any extended length is going to be a test both mentally and physically, and as a result we’re going to put more thought into the format for GameBlast19. You need to give yourself time to get in as much sleep as possible before the event as well as recover fully afterwards, and work as a team to enable each other to take breaks.

The WordPress community remains the best

We really can’t thank everyone enough for all the support they’ve shown us both during the build up to GameBlast18 and throughout the stream. So many bloggers visited us on Twitch to give words of encouragement, promoted the event on Twitter throughout the marathon and even made a kind donation. Thank you also to SpecialEffect who hosted us on their own Twitch channel for the day!

We’ve given you guys a mention on our high scores page to show our appreciation; I think I’ve listed everyone here but if I’ve missed you out, I sincerely apologise! Give me a shout so I can put that right as soon as possible. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: the WordPress community is one of the best and most supportive out there, and I’m proud to be a small part of it.

We’ve managed to raise £532.35 for SpecialEffect during GameBlast18, 33% over our original £400 target, and this achievement is all thanks to you lot. A few lovely people have gotten in touch to say they’d like to be involved in the next GameBlast stream so expect to hear more about that later this year. We can’t wait to do it all over again in 2019 and have you join us!

Once again, and from the bottom of our hearts – thank you.   ❤

34 thoughts on “GameBlast18: lessons learnt

  1. Well done! That’s a fantastic result 😀 I haven’t been able to do a 24 hour charity stream since my baby was born but I loved them. Give yourselves a pat on the back 🙂

    Like

    1. Fortunately my stepson wasn’t with us this weekend, as that would have made the whole thing a lot more difficult! Perhaps we might be able to tempt you into joining in next year…? 😉

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Schedules are a weird thing: they seem like such a good idea at the time and make planning a whole lot easier, but then they don’t work out as intended! I’m not sure any game is suitable after 15 hours straight… 😂

      Liked by 1 person

            1. I don’t really do coffee or energy drinks but can see how they’d definitely help next year. Maybe mixing green and red drinks might cancel out the colour… either that or make you seriously ill. 🤔

              Liked by 1 person

  2. Congratulations everyone! You did so well. I had hoped to watch a bit more than I managed but glad I got to see some of it. It goes to show it is good to have a back up plan and that schedules are helpful but just in case have some options. Though after 15 hours of streaming and gaming I don’t know if anything could hold my attention! Well done all, it looked like you all had fun 🙂

    Like

    1. It doesn’t seem like fun at the time, but you realise it was when you look back on it afterwards ha ha ha! The 15-hour mark was definitely when it started getting hard,so we might need to think more about the games we play from that point onward for the next stream… 🤔

      Thank you so much for watching!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Haha yeah I can understand that. Maybe that is the point you need to really consider what to play. I say that having never streamed though slightly curious about trying it. You’re welcome, I had wanted to watch more but it didn’t work out for me this time.

        Like

        1. Give it a go! I’m not a good streamer – I forget to talk and when I do, it’s just all Essex-twang – but there’s something about it which is pretty enjoyable. You’d be more than welcome to join us for GameBlast next year if you’re interested… 😉

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Now that would be good fun, part of why I want to try streaming is to do something like Game Blast so maybe I will have to get involved somehow. I may ask for some advice on what I need to stream at some point when I have the time to look into it. Haha I worry that either I would go completely silent or just blabber anything that came to mind and in such a way no one could understand what I said.

            Like

            1. Ooh we might have a recruit! Give me a shout if you need a hand with anything, and I’ll get some information together about potential plans for next year’s event once we’ve all fully recovered!!

              Liked by 1 person

  3. Well done… Again! Sorry I couldn’t tune in for more of it, but it was great to see you all rising to the challenge 😁. “That’s you” was an excellent substitute choice

    Like

    1. That’s You! was hilarious – I love the fact we all chose Nathan to stay in the woods and said he’d come out of the experience looking similar to Swamp Thing. 😂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m not sure how I managed to miss your entire stream, but I did. I’m so sorry! I would’ve loved to drop in had I remembered it was going on.

    These are some great tips, especially the part about water. I always make sure to have some sort of tea on hand as well for a 3-4 hour stream because my throat gets pretty finicky pretty quickly after only a short time. I will definitely be checking out your video archive!

    Like

    1. No need to apologise at all, there’s always next time! 😀

      I need to put some time aside to go through the Twitch video and make a highlights reel. At the start of an extended stream, I always think it would be a good idea to make a note of the time when something funny happens – and then I completely forget to actually do it!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Only advice I can give is choosing games with clear progress or objectives. Games where the players meander or stay in the same place for long periods of time can become tiresome for the audience. Games like GTA can drive viewers away in my experience.

    And it could’ve been worse. Instead of Resident Evil you could have done Silent Hill, which is even more labyrinthine and complex.

    I’ve always found RPGs, old school ones in particular, to be great for marathons along with party games.

    Like

Join the discussion

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s