Donations to GameBlast, the UK’s biggest charity gaming marathon weekend, have smashed the £120,000 raised during last year’s event.
More than £170,000 has so far been pledged in online and offline donations, with more still to come. The final total will be announced next week.
Last weekend saw over 400 individuals and teams from across the world undertake hundreds of events and gaming marathons to raise money for Oxfordshire-based charity SpecialEffect, who help people with physical disabilities to be included in the gaming community by creating personalised technological solutions.
Headline streaming events were hosted by GameBlast partners Jagex and GAME, attracting thousands of viewers and raising over £120,000 between them. A further £50,000 was raised by individual streamers and teams, comprised of friends and colleagues.
The madness began at 12.00 on Friday 26th February, with Jagex staff undertaking a series of extreme challenges during a 24 hour livestream at their Cambridge HQ, including plenty of gunge action from ‘Get Your Own Back’ presenter Dave Benson Philips! Real-world auction items, such as signed merchandise and a tour of the Jagex offices, combined with contributions of in-game wealth via the RuneScape Well of Goodwill mechanic, encouraged their generous community to pledge over £100,000 in donations, more than triple what they raised in 2015.
The baton was then passed to GAME, who hosted their own 24 hour livestream at their Basingstoke offices from 10.00 Saturday 27th February. Guests included Wheelchair Basketball European gold-medalist Mark Fosbrook, Microsoft’s Graeme Boyd (aka. Acey Bongos) and comedian John Robertson. GAME stores across the country also joined in with their own events and collections, including auctioning off fifty ‘life size’ Vault Boys for bids upwards of £250 each (the highest price paid being £1,500)! In total, GAME have so far raised over £20,000 and counting, more than double what they achieved last year.
In one of the most heart-warming stories to come out of the event, the William Merritt Disability Living Centre in Leeds staged their own 24 hour GameBlast event, with many of the young people who took part using accessible controllers created by SpecialEffect. Other partners who contributed to the unprecedented success of GameBlast16 include ukie, Multiplay, Insert Coin, Face-It and Twitch, alongside many more companies and industry figures from as far afield as India, Norway and LA.
Summing up their experience of Game Blast, one team commented: “This is the first time we’ve ever been involved in the event. It was fun for all of our community and the staff were brought closer together by taking part too!”
Mick Donegan, CEO of SpecialEffect, said: “Once more, I’ve been completely amazed by the awe-inspiring generosity of the gaming community and the games industry. The money raised will enable us to make an immense and immediate impact on the lives of many more disabled people by enabling them to play mainstream video games. A huge and heartfelt thank you to everyone involved – I can’t help feeling both proud and humbled at the same time.”
The dates for GameBlast17 have just been announced as 24-26 February 2017.