Video games are more than just pixels. Many of us have relied on them during the lockdown not only as a form of entertainment, but as a way of staying connected with friends and managing our mental wellbeing too. So doesn’t everybody deserve to be able to benefit from them?
SpecialEffect is a UK-based charity which believes this. Since 2007, the team have aimed to put fun and inclusion back into the lives of people with physical disabilities by helping them to get involved, and use a range of technology including modified controllers and eye-control software to find a way for individuals to play to the very best of their abilities. This not only brings families and friends together but has a profoundly positive impact on confidence and quality of life too.
Along with hundreds of other enthusiastic gamers all over the country, my other-half and I join in with their annual GameBlast gaming marathon in February every year to help raise money and awareness for their amazing work. It’s such a worthwhile thing to participate in because we get to share our love of video games while helping level the playing-field for people with disabilities at the same time. Check out this post to find out more about SpecialEffect and how I became involved.
Completing a 24-hour marathon is always a huge achievement and one we enjoy taking part in immensely, but we’ve aimed to push ourselves further for each event so now we need a new test. How on earth are we going to do that after everything that happened for GameBlast20 this year? Well, now that the registration for the marathon has finally opened and the Later Levels’ team has officially signed up, we’re delighted to be able to announce…
You’d think that spending every evening with Pete and I on Twitch for almost two months would have been more than enough for anybody. But no: several friends wanted us to continue the daily streams after our GameBlast20 50-day challenge. That’s why we’re doing #DaysforDonations for GameBlast21 – and dragging friend-of-the-blog Phil along for the ride – giving you guys the chance to determine how long we’ll go on for this time around, along with some other surprises.
|No additional days||GameBlast21 stream from 08:00 GMT on Saturday, 27 February 2021|
|Daily streams for 10 days after the official event||Signed Zelda postcards sent to everyone who donates to show our appreciation|
|Daily streams for 20 days after the official event||The official GameBlast21 stream above completed with Pete wearing a Pikachu costume|
|Daily streams for 30 days after the official event||A giveaway to win the signed copy of Project Zero that made Pete rage-quit on stream|
|Daily streams for 40 days after the official event||Special stream completed with Pete, Kim, Phil and Ethan in Pokémon costumes|
|Daily streams for 50 days after the official event||Digital copy of the official #KaraokePete album sent to every person who donates|
|Daily streams for 60 days after the official event||Special extended tabletop-RPG stream featuring Kevin from TheLawfulGeek|
|Daily streams for 70 days after the official event||Special 80s-themed karaoke-and-cocktails stream completed by Kim and Phil|
|Daily streams for 80 days after the official event||A pixelated-Zelda tattoo, complete with GameBlast logo, for Ellen from Ace Asunder|
|Daily streams for 90 days after the official event||A 26.2-mile treadmill marathon completed by Kim and streamed on Twitch|
|Daily streams for 100 days after the official event||#DaysForDonations finished off with another 24-hour stream|
All money donated via our JustGiving page goes directly to SpecialEffect to enable them to help many more physically-disabled gamers across the UK. As well as matching, modifying or creating equipment tailored to each individual, funding also goes into research and the information is shared with other organisations globally so everyone can benefit. The charity can continue their work, more people get to experience the joy of video games, and you get plenty of streaming action; could it get any better than that?
Pete, Phil and myself are now going to start thinking about which games to schedule for our 24-hour stream and we’d love to hear your ideas: give us your suggestions in the comments below and keep your eyes peeled for another update in December. If GameBlast21 sounds like something you’d be interested in participating in yourself, check out the official website for more details and give the team a follow on Twitter to see the latest announcements.
It’s time to get everybody back in the game.
Video game lover, Later Levels blogger and SpecialEffect volunteer. Big fan of wannabe pirates and fine leather jackets.