On Friday I wrote about my time volunteering for SpecialEffect last week, an amazing charity which puts fun and inclusion back into the lives of people with physical disabilities by helping them to play video games. They use technology ranging from modified joypads to eye-control to find a way for individuals to play to the very best of their abilities; and by levelling the playing field in this way, they’re bringing families and friends together and having a positive impact on therapy, confidence and rehabilitation.
GameBlast is their annual gaming marathon where gamers from all over the UK come together to raise funds and awareness for SpecialEffect so they can continue their excellent work. Now in its fifth year, over £700,000 has been raised the events so far and this amount has helped to change the lives of hundreds of people with disabilities who could previously only watch everyone else have all the enjoyment.
I’ve participated in GameBlast four times now and as well as being for a good cause, it’s always a hell of lot of fun. In February this year Pete, Ben, Nathan and myself completed a non-stop 24-hour gaming session live on both the Later Levels and SpecialEffect Twitch channels, playing games such as Hidden Agenda and The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim VR. By the end of it we were going crazy from lack of sleep and caffeine overdoses but managing to raise over £550 – thanks to the help of you awesome lot – made it all worthwhile.
In previous years I’ve participated for 48-hours with a team of four people taking two six-hour shifts each; and 72-hours with a team of 11 working remotely in a four-hour rota. A larger group seems like a good idea as it means you can stream for longer but it does come with some challenges that need to be carefully planned for. There have been a few times when technical difficulties have meant others have had to step in at short notice, including when someone started falling asleep on camera!
Registration for GameBlast19 isn’t yet open but my thoughts are already turning to what we’re going to do for 2019’s event. How long should our marathon last for; how many people should our team consist of; should we stream remotely or from the same location? And perhaps most importantly, what sort of games should we play?! While 22-24 February 2019 seems like a long way away just yet, there’s a lot of coordination to do during the next five months and so it’s time to start getting organised.
I’m looking for inspiration: if you have any ideas or suggestions, please do leave them in the comments below! And if you’d be interested in joining us and being a member of our dream-stream-team for GameBlast next year, get in touch so we can get some plans on the go. Hopefully I’ll have made some progress this time in October so I’ll be able to give you all an update…
Video game lover, Later Levels blogger and SpecialEffect volunteer. Big fan of wannabe pirates and fine leather jackets.