Train2Game News GameBlast18

There’s just one week to go before gamers across the UK join forces to raise money for SpecialEffect in GameBlast18, the UK’s biggest charity gaming weekend.

Hundreds of gamers, including eSports teams, streamers, and community groups, will take to their PCs and consoles throughout the weekend of 23-25 February to host sponsored marathon livestreams, gaming tournaments and many other challenges in support of the charity, which enables anyone, whatever their physical disability, to enjoy video games and leisure technology.

Now in its fifth year, the event aims to raise £100,000 for SpecialEffect.

Many major names in the games industry are also backing the event, including Jagex, GAME, Multiplay, Twitch, Insert Coin, SEGA, Nomad, Lockwood Publishing and Ukie. So far, almost 300 Justgiving fundraising pages have been created, meaning this year’s GameBlast is set to have the highest number of participants in its five-year history.

Jagex will be hosting the GameBlast Games – a 24-hour marathon of gaming, chaos and gruelling challenges. Broadcast live from their Cambridge headquarters and beginning 12pm GMT on Friday 23 February, the event will be streamed via the official RuneScape twitch.tv channel. The stream will feature regular faces from Jagex, the RuneScape and Old School dev teams, along with Twitch content creators and friends from the industry – including Codemasters and Frontier Developments – who will all go head to head in the ultimate games battle.

As Jagex clock-off at 12pm GMT on Saturday 24, staff from GAME and Multiplay Events will take up the baton with their own marathon broadcast, promising another 24 hours of gaming challenges and stretch-goal forfeits. GAME stores and BELONG arenas across the country will be hosting their own GameBlast activities, with raffles, tournaments and eSports tournaments on offer to gamers throughout the weekend. Meanwhile, GAME’s charity trade-in offer will continue until the end of the month, with customers being given the opportunity to donate £1 or more from every trade-in to SpecialEffect.

In addition, both Jagex and GAME will be running eBay auctions of gaming swag, merchandise and experiences.

“We can’t wait for GameBlast18” said Tom Donegan, the charity’s Events Coordinator.

“I love seeing the variety of challenges on offer – the creativity and generosity of our supporters is just so inspiring! The funds raised will enable us to help more like Will (http://bit.ly/willspecialeffect), who suffered a spinal injury but who’s gaming again using shoulder and chin movements.”

“GameBlast18 is an opportunity to bring the gaming community together to do what they love and level the playing field for people with disabilities at the same time.”

More details about GameBlast18 can be found at https://www.gameblast18.org.uk or on Twitter @GameBlast18

Train2Game News One Special Day 2017 huge success

SpecialEffect, the UK charity that specialises in helping people with disabilities enjoy the fun and inclusion of video games, has announced the total amount raised from its One Special Day 2017 fundraising event on 29 September 2017 is £446,000.

The charity’s largest fundraiser of the year, where partners from the games industry gave either 100% of UK or worldwide sales on 29 September, will help its team of occupational therapists and technology specialists to meet the increasing demand for their experience and expertise over the coming months.

Dr Mick Donegan, Founder and CEO of SpecialEffect said, “The money raised from One Special Day is a huge financial boost to SpecialEffect. It will enable us to take on the extra staff we need to help even more severely disabled people all over the world to play the games they love.

Being supported by so many games industry partners like Supercell, SEGA, Seriously, Unity Technologies, Codemasters, Playdemic and Rovio is not only a tremendous funding boost but also a terrific morale boost to our passionate and dedicated team here at SpecialEffect.”

“The money raised from One Special Day 2017 will go towards employing two additional clinical staff to join our growing team of occupational therapists and technology specialists.

It will also help pay for vital modifications to SpecialEffect’s national accessible games room where people with disabilities can visit to try out a huge range of hardware and software modifications.”

The One Special Day event, which attracted worldwide attention and very positive publicity including a tweet out from reality mega-star Kim Kardashian, is set to take place again on 28 September 2018 with a significant number of the One Special Day 2017 partners already committed again this year.

If you’d like to find out more about how your company can take part in One Special Day 2018, contact Nick Streeter at nick@specialeffect.org.uk or catch up with the charity at PGC London and Games Forum London.

Train2Game News SpecialEffect Represented in Fifa 18


Electronic Arts have chosen SpecialEffect to be the first ever games charity to have an exclusive in-game FIFA 18 kit.

The kit went live in game on Friday 10 November, as a reward for a weekly objective in EA Sports FIFA Ultimate Team. 

SpecialEffect are a UK-based charity that provide custom-designed control setups for people with physical disabilities who want to enjoy video games. FIFA is one of the most popular games requested by people they help.

One young man that the charity supported, Chad, has spinal muscular atrophy that severely limits his movement, but he’s now able to play FIFA again using a custom setup that includes a mouth-controlled joystick. “I thought my gaming days were over,” he said, “but thanks to SpecialEffect I can now play FIFA in a different but novel way.”

The kit was launched at Wembley Stadium on 10 November.

Dr Mick Donegan, SpecialEffect Founder and CEO, said “We’re immensely grateful to EA for this wonderful gesture. For many years they’ve been major supporters of our work in levelling the playing field for people with physical disabilities, and the increase in global awareness of our work that the kit will bring is very much appreciated.”

“When I started the charity ten years ago, I never dreamed that we’d be honoured with our own kit in one of the most popular game series ever.”

Train2Game News One Special Day 2017 results


SpecialEffect announced today that the games industry partners involved in their One Special Day fundraising event have so far raised a total of over £300,000 for the charity.

Revenue from game sales and in-game purchases in the UK – and in some cases worldwide – has helped smash the charity’s £100k target for the event. Over £250k of the total was raised by the mobile games industry partners and their communities.

Many companies also contributed through game-themed events, gaming auction items and livestreams before or during the fundraiser on 29 September.

All the money raised will go towards SpecialEffect’s work in creating ways for people with physical disabilities to experience the fun and inclusion of video games.

“This total is way beyond all expectation. We cannot thank all our games industry partners enough for coming together to support people with disabilities,” said Dr Mick Donegan, founder and CEO of SpecialEffect. “It’s an astonishing, game-changing total for us. It funds not only our lifelong one-to-one work with people who need our help, but also our collaboration with developers in making games more accessible to severely disabled gamers worldwide.”

“We’ve had an amazing time working with our partners during this event. The games industry and their communities have our heartfelt thanks for the tremendous generosity they have shown.”

The industry partners involved in the event were Seriously, Unity, Supercell, SEGA, Double Fine, Codemasters, Rovio, Playdemic,  Yogscast, Space Ape, Nordeus, Twitch, Ripstone, Frontier Developments, First Touch Games, Bossa Studios, EA Mobile, 505 Games, New Star Games, Boombit Games, Bungie Foundation, The Chinese Room, Curve Digital, Playground Games, Ubisoft Reflections, Firefly Studios, GAME, Nomad Games, MAG Interactive, Zeptolab, eRepublik Labs, Everywear Games, Lightneer, Payload Studios, Sumo Digital, Fresh Planet, Cooperative Ventures, Future plc, Gamesindustry.biz, nDreams, London Studio (Sony), PlayRaven, Prettygreat, Dots, Futureplay, Glu, Halfbrick, Digital Legends, SOVR, Rare, Insert Coin, Remedy Entertainment,  NaturalMotion/Zynga, SEGA Hardlight, Plan of Attack, Yakuto, Tactile Entertainment, UKIE, Rebellion, Bandai Namco, Sports Interactive, Creative Assembly, Tundra, Humble Bundle, EA, Escape Technology, Razer, Dingit.tv, Fingersoft, Make Real, Jam City and Disruptor Beam.

More details about the event and a full list of partners can be found at http://www.onespecialday.org.uk

The charity plan to announce a final fundraising total at the end of October, and the date for One Special Day in 2018 has been set for Friday 28 September.

Train2Game News One Special Day 2017


Gamers’ charity SpecialEffect and social video platform Twitch are putting the finishing touches on a truly special eight-hour livestream as part of One Special Day.

One Special Day is a fundraising day organised by SpecialEffect to benefit gamers with disabilities. Set for broadcast from Twitch’s London headquarters and streamed live on Twitch (twitch.tv/specialeffectteam) from 2-10pm on Friday 29 September, the event features popular Twitch creators, games, and new technology tailored for disabled gamers.

Amongst the growing list of Twitch Partners already confirmed are Cyborgangel, xLindsayJane, Meganyyy, LeahLovesChief, KellyJean, Fremily, AOAATube, B0aty, Jay1fifaking, and PhantomSFX. They will be playing a wide range of popular titles, including Overwatch, Destiny 2, PUBG, Runescape, and new release FIFA 18, as part of the charity’s One Special Day campaign. 

In addition, the stream will feature exclusive content from The Yogscast (including SpecialEffect Vice President Mark Turpin) and Hat Films, who have created a series of ‘stretch goal’ videos to encourage donations. 

Other activities planned for the broadcast include live demonstrations of some of the technology used by SpecialEffect in their work with severely disabled gamers. The featured Partners will have opportunity to play their favourite games using adapted controllers, to give them and their viewers a better appreciation of how the charity makes gaming more accessible for hundreds of people with disabilities across the country. 

This will include an ‘eye-gaze’ lap-time competition running on Forza Motorsport 6: Apex, where guests will compete to set the fastest time using only their eyes to control the car on screen! The stream will also include a host of highly desirable giveaways, including a full-size replica of the Tex Mechanica foundry’s “The Last Word” hand cannon, a concept 3D model created for the Destiny game by the talented Eric Newgard at Impact Props (courtesy of the Bungie Foundation).

Tom Donegan, Events Coordinator at SpecialEffect said: 

“It’s been a real honour to work with Twitch in planning this incredible broadcast. We’re so delighted by the line-up of partners involved and can’t wait to show them some of the tech we use in helping people with disabilities to game, who would otherwise have no opportunity to do so. This is yet another fantastic example of the games industry coming together to support our work, in celebration of One Special Day. I can’t wait to see what the livestream has in store – whatever happens, it’s going to be an exciting 8 hours!”

Last year, One Special Day raised almost £100k towards SpecialEffect’s work.

Train2Game News Schafer supporting One Special Day


​Tim Schafer, critically acclaimed games designer and Founder of Double Fine Productions, has backed SpecialEffect’s tenth anniversary One Special Day fundraiser with a video call-to-action to the games industry.
Schafer, a Vice-President of the charity that helps some of the world’s most severely disabled people enjoy the fun and inclusion of video games, has urged other CEOs and decision makers in the video games industry to follow his lead and get behind the One Special Day initiative.

Leading names from the industry such as EA, SEGA, Twitch, Seriously and Humble Bundle are amongst the companies that have already backed SpecialEffect and One Special Day. Many more are expected to follow suit in the run up to the event on Friday 29th September.

SpecialEffect, widely known as the gamers’ charity, is supported by gamers and gaming communities all over the world. One Special Day is an opportunity for the industry to stand with those who play their games and build on the £100,000 raised in February by gamers in the SpecialEffect ‘GameBlast’ event.

Dr Mick Donegan, Founder and CEO of SpecialEffect said, “It is just brilliant to have the backing of Tim for One Special Day with this video message. We are hugely grateful for all the support he gives to SpecialEffect and very much hope other companies will join Tim and Double Fine in backing this crucial fundraising event.”

SpecialEffect is asking for games companies to give their revenue on specific games or in-game purchases on 29th September, provide rare/collectible items or experiences for a special eBay auction or stage a fundraising event of their own to support the charity.

Nick Streeter, SpecialEffect fundraiser leading the One Special Day initiative said, “This is an opportunity for the games industry to back their players in making games a force for good. We’ve made it easy for companies to get involved at whatever level they wish. We already have some huge companies commit to One Special Day and we warmly welcome those who follow suit and provide us with the means to reach more disabled gamers in the year to come.”

For more details on how your company can get involved in One Special Day, please contact Nick Streeter on +44 (0)1608 810055 or at nick@specialeffect.org.uk or look for the #OneSpecialDay hashtag across social media (www.onespecialday.org.uk )

https://youtu.be/TJi6FTLHACs

Train2Game News GameBlast 17 raises £100k

Gamers’ charity SpecialEffect announced that GameBlast17 has raised over £100,000 in support their life-changing work for gamers with disabilities.
The event, held primarily over the weekend of 24-26 February, saw over 300 individuals, teams and studios undertake a wide variety of personal gaming challenges, including marathon live streams, fundraising forfeits and a successful bid to beat the Guinness World Record for continuous Overwatch play.

The headline streaming event was hosted by GAME at their Multiplay Studio, with a 24-hour live broadcast culminating in an auction of gaming merchandise and one-off collectables. As well as support from the head office teams at GAME and Multiplay, over 250 stores across the UK contributed to the fundraising campaign throughout February, pushing the grand total from the group to £28,000 and rising.

Tom Donegan, SpecialEffect Events Coordinator, said: “We are so thrilled with how GameBlast continues to go from strength to strength. This event is all about the wider gaming community coming together to support their fellow gamers, whether that’s individuals who have a serious physical disability or an acquired injury or illness that has affected their ability to play. This money will provide a massive boost as we strive to help more people across the country to get back in the game!”

Gamers with disabilities also took part in the event, including those at the William Merritt Disability Living Centre in Leeds who staged their own 24-hour GameBlast event and raised over £1000. Many of the young people there were using accessible controllers created by SpecialEffect to play games like Minecraft and FIFA17. 

The other partners whose invaluable support added to the success of GameBlast17 were ukie, Insert Coin, Twitch and FaceIt.

The dates for GameBlast18 have been announced as 23-25 February 2018. 

Train2Game News GameBlast17 

Gamers’ charity SpecialEffect have set the countdown clock running for GameBlast17, the UK’s biggest charity gaming weekend.
The event, held over the weekend of 24-26 February, aims to raise £100,000 to support the work of the charity in helping people with disabilities to access and benefit from video games.

Over 100 individuals and teams of gamers from around the world have already signed up to fundraise through their own gaming marathons and gaming events during the three days.

Many major names in the video games industry are backing the event, including GAME, Multiplay, Twitch, FACEIT, Insert Coin and ukie, alongside a host of eSports teams, streamers and studios.

GAME are planning a 24-hour livestream event from their headquarters and will also be running a number of fundraising initiatives via their UK stores. Other planned activities include charity streams from Ripstone Games, Wired Productions and even a 72 hour Zeldathon.

“We can’t wait for GameBlast17” said Tom Donegan, the charity’s Events Coordinator.

“It’s incredible to see how the event has grown over the past four years. The funds raised will enable us to help more like John (http://bit.ly/2gDZxF4), who never thought he’d be able to play video games again because his condition stopped him using a standard controller.”

“GameBlast17 is an opportunity to bring people together to do what they love and level the playing field for people with disabilities at the same time.”

“This is the ideal time to sign-up and start planning your event, and we’re inviting everyone from the global gaming community and industry to join us.”

More details about GameBlast17 can be found at https://www.gameblast17.com or on Twitter @gameblast2017

Train2Game News GAME supporting SpecialEffect 

GAME Digital Plc has today announced that SpecialEffect, the gamers’ charity, is its nominated charity for its UK subsidiaries for 2016/17. 
The announcement follows a UK company-wide survey, inviting staff to choose which charity they would most like to support which also had the best association with GAME. SpecialEffect’s work using technology and videos games to enhance the quality of life of people with physical disabilities struck a chord with employees across the business and all staff will now have the opportunity to get involved in raising money for the charity.

GAME aim to help raise awareness and funding for the charity through their unique multichannel offering across the gaming community including its stores, the GAME app, events, esports initiatives and social networks. GAME will be the lead retail partner in two national fundraising events: 

GameBlast17 (February 24-26) and One Special Day, which next year will fall on the exact date of the charity’s 10th anniversary (29th September 2017). 

Multiplay events, including the UK’s biggest gaming festival Insomnia, will host dedicated spaces and build more fundraising into events such as its popular Insomnia pub quiz. Staff will also have the opportunity to take part in races and team-building events such as the Spring Monster Race, British 10K and the Wembley Fives games industry football tournament, whilst raising vital funds.

SpecialEffect uses technology such as eye-control and modified joysticks to ensure that people gain access to hours of entertainment, irrespective of physical impairment. Since the charity was founded in 2007, the charity’s staff has built up a unique expertise in this area, as well as an extensive library of consoles, games and accessible controllers which it loans out to disabled gamers while they find the set-up that’s right for them. All of these services are provided free of charge, which is why fundraising partnerships such as this one are so important to the charity, as the numbers of people seeking their help continue to grow.

Fred Prego, GAME’s Group Insight Director said: “SpecialEffect represents a cause close to our hearts here and we’re proud to have been supporter of the charity for several years now along with the team at Multiplay. Employees across all areas of the UK business felt the charity fits perfectly with our position as an inclusive, valuable community of gamers and we will be putting together an extensive programme of activities to raise more money to help give more people the opportunity to experience the joy of gaming. We’re delighted to be working so closely with SpecialEffect, and hope to help make their tenth year next year their most successful yet.”

Mick Donegan, SpecialEffect CEO, added: “We’re absolutely honoured to be the nominated charity of GAME and incredibly grateful for the generosity of their staff and communities. The company, along with the staff at Multiplay, have provided invaluable support in the last few years and we’re looking forward to working even more closely together. The money raised will enable even more people with physical disabilities to enjoy the magic and inclusion of video games.”

Train2Game News OneSpecialDay raises over 90k

Over 30 gaming industry companies raised over £90,000 for SpecialEffect in the charity’s inaugural One Special Day event on 15 July. The total may well rise further over the next few weeks.
The majority of the companies donated sales revenue from some or all of their games on 15 July. Others ran a dedicated activity or promotion. 

The initiative, now to be an annual event, aims to promote the gaming industry as unified and proud in helping to level the playing field for gamers with disabilities.

The charity were hoping the event would raise £25,000. Dr Mick Donegan, Founder and CEO of SpecialEffect, said “The generosity of the companies supporting this initiative has been overwhelming, and to utterly smash our £25k target in the first year is phenomenal. It’s a real boost when the games industry themselves, our natural partners, say ‘Yes, we see the difference you’re making – how can we help?’”

“What’s especially great is that companies of all sizes have been part of an event that’s promoted the industry as a real force for good. We look forward to welcoming them and others again for One Special Day 2017.”

A wide spectrum of companies were involved, including: First Touch Games, The Chinese Room, New Star Games, Ripstone, Nomad Games, Green Man Gaming, Curve Digital, nDreams, Devolver, Game Swing, Payload Studios, Magic Notion, Tammeka Games, Bossa Studios, Barog Game Labs, We Love Dragons, Deconstructeam, Vagabond Dog, Terri Vellmann, Acid Nerve, Free Lives, Roll 7, Tundra Games, Insert Coin, Escape Technology, Revolution Games, Red Kite Games, Edgecase Games, Chillingo, Media Molecule, Ukie and Plethora Project.

Phil Gaskell, Co-Founder and Creative Director at Ripstone, said “Ripstone are very happy to have been part of a historic day for the games industry that will make a life-changing difference to the gamers SpecialEffect help. We know our fundraising livestream on the day, the donation of 100% of our profits across platforms and the auction of our Ironcast jet pack(!) will all help SpecialEffect provide many more magic moments.”

Jessica Curry, Co-Founder of The Chinese Room added, “The Chinese Room were delighted to be part of the first ever One Special Day and it was great for our team to meet Dr Mick on the day itself. We saw the life-changing difference that One Special Day will make to bring the magic of games to people with disabilities, and we would urge more developers to get involved in 2017!”

Dr Jo Twist OBE, CEO of Ukie and VP of SpecialEffect said, “This is a fantastic result for SpecialEffect and their One Special Day initiative. It is a great example of the collective power of games companies and players and what can be achieved together for a cause that Ukie is really proud to support. The money raised will increase SpecialEffect’s important work making the entertainment, inclusion and joy of playing games accessible to everyone. This is a truly special result for a truly special day.”

Next year’s One Special Day will be on Friday 22 September 2017 during the week of the charity’s tenth anniversary.