I’ve supported SpecialEffect since 2013 and try to volunteer for the charity at events across London several times a year. Unfortunately though, family birthdays and work projects had caused date clashes in 2018 so I hadn’t done anything before September. But I’ve made up for it during the past couple of months by helping out at the ESI Super Forum and Comic Con, and then again at the Twitch LDN community meetup at the Bloomsbury Big Top on 17 November 2018.
It was the first Twitch event I’d ever been to so I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect, and it was indeed different from the other occasions I’ve volunteered. Usually the focus is on the adapted controls at the SpecialEffect stand and the games they’re being used to play; but this time around, the volunteers’ presence was spread throughout the venue and we were also involved in set-up and entry. It was great to see a few people I’ve met before including the gorgeous Kat who’d joined me previously at the ESI Super Forum.
I ended up looking after the raffle for the evening – and it wasn’t hard to persuade attendees to part with a couple of quid for the chance to win a 500 Million Limited Edition PlayStation 4 Pro. We must have got through around 200 tickets so that meant £400 raised for the charity which was simply awesome! I had the pleasure of meeting a lot of lovely streamers who either wanted to find out more about SpecialEffect or already supported them: props to the guy who gave me a cat sticker, and the girl who showed me her GameBlast logo tattoo.
The event itself was basically one big party. Rooms around the outside held bars and free candy-floss (I spent most of the night on a sugar-high), and in the centre hall was a dancefloor and DJ for those who wanted to get their groove on. Sea of Thieves was one of the major sponsors so it wasn’t a surprise to find several consoles dotted around where the title could be played, and a pirate-y photo-booth for anyone looking for the perfect selfie. There were a lot of hyped-up attendees wearing eye-patches by the time I left.
I spoke to more people than ever before who had already heard of SpecialEffect’s amazing work and each of them had a story to tell about the ways in which they’ve shown their support. Most were planning to participate in GameBlast19 next year and Later Levels is no exception: my other-half and I will be joining forces with Tim and Jake from GeekOut South-West to stay live on Twitch for 24-hours from 08:00 on Saturday, 23 February 2019.
We’re asking everyone to help us decide on the games to play during our stream, and you can get in on the action by voting for your favourite titles in these polls. There’ll be another update on our progress towards the event later in December and in the meantime, why not check out our photographs from Twitch LDN below?
Twitch LDN 2018 photo gallery
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Video game lover, Later Levels blogger and SpecialEffect volunteer. Big fan of wannabe pirates and fine leather jackets.