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MCM Comic Con London 2018: volunteering for SpecialEffect

After volunteering for SpecialEffect at the ESI Super Forum at the end of September, I signed up once again to help out on the charity’s stand at the MCM Comic Con in London last month. It was a totally different environment to the previous event: gone were the serious business-people in suits, and they were replaced by attendees of all ages wearing some of the most creative costumes I’ve ever seen.

I always get nervous before volunteering despite having helped out at numerous expos. It’s because you never know who you’re going to meet at the stand or what questions you’re going to be asked so there’s that trepidation which comes with the unexpected. It’s something I’ve learned to throw myself into over the years however because it has a very positive effect: not only does it take me outside my comfort zone and give me the opportunity to learn how to better deal with group situations, it’s to support an absolutely fantastic cause.

After approaching the entrance to the ExCeL centre on Friday morning, I bumped into Ted with whom I volunteered last year. This time he was joined by his friend Tim and the pair of them came dressed as Walter Sobchak and The Dude from The Big Lebowski – they totally nailed it! A few minutes later we were accompanied by Tugsy, who regularly streams on Twitch and will be joining in with GameBlast in February; and our crew was rounded off by Becky and Nomi who kindly looked after us throughout the day.

The thing Ted and I both noticed was that there seemed to be more stands dedicated to gaming scattered among the halls this year. Although I didn’t have a lot of spare time to visit them, in my brief walks I noticed areas for PlayStation VR, Spiderman and Red Dead Redemption 2 with fairly long queues at each. I found Tony from NFTS Games at a stand in the indie area to promote the work produced by the school’s students for the first time at the event, and promised to next catch up with him when we see each other at Rezzed in April.

Along with more gaming displays came more people who had already heard of SpecialEffect, which was really heartening to see. There were still those however who had never come across the charity before and so it was necessary for the volunteers to get to work. The fact that they took the time to talk to us (most of them in wonderful costume), were up for trying out eye-controlled Minecraft and then totally understood that it’s not just about ‘playing video games’ made my day, and reinforced exactly why it is I support this awesome organisation.

The next event I’m getting involved with is GameBlast19, an annual gaming marathon where gamers from all over the UK come together to raise funds and awareness for SpecialEffect. Now in its fifth year, over £700,000 has been raised from these events so far and this amount has helped to change the lives of hundreds of people with disabilities. Using technology ranging from modified joypads to eye-control software, the charity aims to put fun and inclusion back into the lives of those who could previously only watch others have all the fun.

Can you think of a video game perfect for a stream because it supports cooperative play or encourages plenty of discussion in Twitch chat? Whether it’s an action title that multiple players can join in with or a puzzler where everybody can help figure out the solutions in chat, I’d love to hear your thoughts. Help shape our GameBlast19 stream: this is your chance to see us play your favourite release, work our way through something we’ve never heard of or suffer something difficult after almost an entire day without sleep..

11 thoughts on “MCM Comic Con London 2018: volunteering for SpecialEffect Leave a comment

  1. Not Tetris! I streamed multiplayer Tetris with some friends a few years ago and ended up with a few people coming in chat to yell at me for playing something that no one would want to watch!

    Jackbox though. Jackbox is amazing.

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    • Not the best way to show support for a charity stream… 😕

      A few people have suggested the Jackbox games, and they tend to result in all kinds of insanity when you’re sleep-deprived. Perfect!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Some of them are pretty adult, so it might not be a good option with the youngster around, but I think Pack 4 has some options to limit adult content.

        Well, limit it until the players start inputting answers…

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        • Yeah… been there before… 😂

          We’re still trying to figure out what to do about the stepkid. He’s loved joining the stream during previous years but it’s always been when we’ve had other people taking on shifts. With only the other-half and I available this time, I’m sure making him stay up for 24-hours could possibly amount to child cruelty.

          Liked by 1 person

          • That’s a tricky one. In the past, my wife has taken our kid to her parents for a couple of days, but I know that’s not a solution everyone has available. Honestly, I’d say sit down and talk it through with him, agreeing a schedule together that everyone can be happy with.

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            • I’m sure we’ll be able to come up with something… a couple of friends have recently said they’d be interested in joining us so if we can arrange a shift-pattern, it might all work out.

              Alternatively, I’d better start sweet-talking the parents and in-laws just in case.

              Liked by 1 person

    • If I’d known, I would have bought you a coffee! No doubt I’ll make an appearance at the next Comic Con in May so let me know if you’re going to be there. 🙂

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