SpecialEffect is a UK-based charity organisation which develops custom solutions—software and hardware—to allow people with disabilities to enjoy videogames. I’ve mentioned SpecialEffect in the past, particularly when at an EGX or Rezzed event as they always have a booth present, and I’ve mentioned some of these solutions and how amazing I’ve found them, be it the chin-based controls for Rocket League or the Eye-tracking controls for Minecraft.
SpecialEffect, much like other non-profit organisations with ties to the gaming community, has its annual game-centric fundraising event. It’s called Gameblast and in the past couple of years I’ve had the opportunity and pleasure to do my little bit as part of the Gamely Giving team, comprised of writers from fellow websites, such as GeekOut South-West, Later Levels and the now defunct 1001Up.
Gameblast 2017 took place on the last weekend of February but for several reasons, we couldn’t take part in it, so we’ve decided to hold our own belated Gameblast next week and upping the ante compared to the traditional single-day event. We’ll be broadcasting our charity stream for 72 hours, from Friday 28th to Sunday 30th of April 2017.
Is that a gasp of horror I hear? 72 hours? Isn’t that dangerous? Don’t worry, we’re well aware of the health dangers of such long marathons, which is why we’re breaking ours into shifts for the members, to give the others a chance to rest.
But to make things interesting for everyone watching and donating, we’ve decided to go with a theme for the marathon: Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed. Yes, the Something Blue is missing for the perfect marriage tradition combo, but you’ll get enough blue—in language that is—from the late-night shifts, so don’t worry.
Each of us picked a genre and an old game, one released more than 5 years ago, a new game, one released in the past couple of years, and lastly the other members of the team chose and gave us another, the borrowed game. In my case, as much as I am a fan of the adventure and action-adventure genres, I decided to go for something much faster than you’re used to see from me: platformers. My games will be as follows:
- Something Old: Super Mario Galaxy 2
- Something New: Mekazoo
- Something Borrowed: Little Big Planet 3.
For everyone else’s games, you can check our full schedule here.
But that’s not all. We also have prizes, bundles of games given out every £100 donated. We’re sitting at 25% of our donation goal, about £250/£1000, so two of the bundles will go out. To participate you just need to follow us on social media and on Twitch, and if you donate, which I would encourage you to do, you get some extra chances to win.
There are amazing games in those bundles, including the fantastic Sherlock Holmes series from Frogwares and the latest Hitman from Square-Enix.
Finally, to give you another incentive to donate and another chance to see us making fools of ourselves, we’ve created a Wheel of Forfeits. Again, for every £100 donated, we’ll spin the wheel and perform whatever humiliating task set before us by the wheel. From dressing up in cosplay while playing certain games, talking like a pirate for the duration of the marathon to playing blindfolded for an hour, there are many challenges and you can always send us more ideas. We’ll add them to the wheel.
This marathon is the biggest such event we’ve done as Gamely Giving, but we feel SpecialEffect is worth our time, our lack of sleep and our meagre gaming skills. We also believe it’s worth giving as much as we can to it. If it weren’t this important to us, we wouldn’t be asking you to donate on our JustGiving page, or share the details of the event with everyone you know.
But perhaps our big boss, she-who-recruited-us, Kim can better explain what SpecialEffect means to us and what we hope to accomplish with your help:
SpecialEffect finds ways for people to play to the very best of their abilities using a range of technology, from modified gaming controllers to eye-control systems. But it’s not just for fun. By levelling the playing field, the organisation is bringing families and friends together and having a profoundly positive impact on therapy, confidence and rehabilitation – and they do all of this amazing work free of charge.
We can’t deny that donations via our JustGiving page would be fantastically awesome, but there are other ways in which you can get involved too. Join us on our Twitch channel during our marathon stream and say hello; spread the world online by joining us on our social media channels; and spread the word in the real world by telling people about SpecialEffect. However you choose to do it, we’re extremely grateful for your support!
We’re excited to do this event, and we hope we can reach our donation goal while entertaining you and having a blast together with some good games, some fun music, zany quotes and the ever present and looming Wheel of Forfeits!
Gamely Giving’s Gameblast kicks off Friday 28th of April at 16:00 GMT, we hope to see you there!