In 2014, a group of friends asked me to join them for a charity event called GameBlast. At the time I didn’t know anything about it nor about the charity they were backing, SpecialEffect. When they told me about it, I found the organisation’s work inspiring. Now, as I go into a second GameBlast with that team, Gamely Giving, It’s an honour to be part of this effort, to be another Gameblaster.
SpecialEffect does something that has a tremendous effect on gamer’s lives. For most of us, playing a game it’s simply picking up our controller, keyboard or mouse and go at it until the game is done, we fall asleep, starve or have to go into the wild world and face the dreaded “day job.” But there are so many of us out there, so many gamers with the same if not greater passion than we have, who can’t do that. They have disabilities and it’s hard, sometimes impossible, for them to play their favourite games, to enjoy the things we take for granted. But they’re gamers just like all of us, part of this amazing tribe.
That’s where SpecialEffect comes in. They go to great lengths to make sure that our disabled brothers, sisters, uncles, parents and grandparents in the community can play the games they want and enjoy them as any gamer should: with a smile on their face and pure unbridled joy!
I have seen SpecialEffect create modified PlayStation controllers for chin-controls. During Rezzed last year, I had the privilege of seeing these controls in action, with a group of people trying them out with the game Nidhogg. During EGX I had the chance of tackling Minecraft with eye-tracking software. It was strange for me to keep still and my eyes focused on the target, but I could scarcely imagine what it could mean for someone for whom that is reality, their everyday life. The thought that they could now build a virtual monument with just moving their eyes was, as I said, inspiring.
For this year’s GameBlast, we have a bigger target: £1000, something that I know we, as a community, can raise and deliver to SpecialEffect with a sincere ‘thank you’ for their amazing work. We have a bigger team, with not just the 1001Up.com crew, their families and their recurring stream guest star Nathan Wall, but also my buddy Timlah from GeekOut South-West, James Bartholomeou from InitiativeCheck and Jamie The Comic. We’re going to be playing for 48-hours, taking turns to entertain you and hopefully earn some donations from you towards this great cause. We also have some awesome prizes coming, though the details are still secret, but if you keep an eye on the Gamely Giving page and twitter account, you’ll know what our plans are soon enough.
We’ll be live starting on Friday 26th of February and we’ll keep going until Sunday with nonstop action, (accidental) comedy and even family fun!
But that’s not all, we’re also having broadcasts going every few days on the Gamely Giving Twitch channel as well, so head over there and hit that Follow button. That way when we go live on the big day, you’ll know where to find us!
Also make sure to check out SpecialEffect and read, see and listen for yourself just how amazing they are. I know you’ll be as inspired by them as I am.