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 GameSessions supporting charities

GameSessions, the company behind many game giveaways and trials, today announces a new programme to support charities. 

Over the next few months, they will be giving away games to raise awareness and donations for some selected charitable causes that have touched the lives of their staff.

The unique reach and engagement that the GameSessions Giveaways generates, with millions of minutes played, is a great opportunity to support the charities concerned. The team have picked Kidney Research, Cancer Research, Child’s Play and ME Research as these have each impacted their lives significantly.

GameSessions will offer Slack Games’ Mechanic Escape to download and play for free from today in support of the ME (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis also known as CFS) Association. The company is donating 100% of their share of any (optional) Steam key sales to the ME Association and users will also have the option to donate directly to the charity within the game.

Mechanic Escape combines its rhythm and fast pace into a fun but challenging platformer. In order to find his lost friends, the hero, Mech, doesn’t hesitate to risk life and circuits to pass throughout high-voltage areas or dodge the most deadly machines. A hardcore game with over 80 levels, Mechanic Escape can challenge even the most veteran player but is an accessible universe to all gamers.

Ed French, CEO commented:

    “Last month, we launched our new free games service; GameSessions Giveaways with one of our first brand partners, AMD. It was an overwhelming success and succeeded in its goal of helping spread the word of one of our partners. GameSessions Giveaways offers us a platform to speak directly to gamers and we’ve decided to also use that exposure to highlight and support the work of charities that work on issues close to our hearts. Over the next few months we’re planning to give away a number of games to raise awareness and money for these charities.

    We’re going to provide games in support of: Kidney Research, Cancer Research, Children’s Hospitals and ME Research.

    The games will cost end users nothing, but we do ask that they watch a very short video (less than 2 minutes) about the charity before they play.

    We will donate our share of the revenue from any (optional) sales of Steam keys for each game to the charity concerned, and we will provide a link in game to donate directly if you can.

    The first giveaway we’re doing for charity is a game called Mechanic Escape, so it seems appropriate to use it to raise awareness of Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (so ME4ME!). We picked this cause as the daughter of one of our staff currently suffers from the condition, and so many people are unaware of how difficult life is for sufferers. Despite all the detailed research into the immune, nervous and digestive abnormalities, many people still label it “yuppy flu” and suggest patients with long-term painful and debilitating conditions are not really unwell.

    We know that most gamers will be willing to spend 90 seconds learning about the condition to get a free game to add to their collection. Every extra person who has some understanding of this condition is a benefit to the sufferers.”

Helen Hyland, Fundraising Manager for the ME Association, said:

    “We’re delighted to work with Gamesessions on something which breaks new ground for us as a charity.

    “Many of the gamers who download Mechanic Escape make a choice to stay in and play it. For those with ME, staying in isn’t a choice – it’s the reality of their daily lives.

    “For us, this is a fresh way of reaching people, often the under 25s. We hope they have fun – dodge the deadly machines and the devious bosses – and learn a little about this devastating illness at the same time.”

Sign up for Mechanic Escape now at http://r.gamesessions.com/MEGiveaway

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 Keystone Kids Charity

Keystone Games are proud to announce that stars of stage, screen and some of the world’s top selling video game authors have come together in the “Keystone Kids” campaign! 
Keystone has been formed with massive industry support to raise money for children with life limiting illnesses. A whole host of companies including Unity3D and Microsoft and major websites such as Pulse Entertainment are helping us with the effort! The Keystone Kids Campaign is set to become one of the largest fundraising efforts ever seen in the games industry!

That money will be raised through Keystone’s unique development and publishing operation. Keystone are developing a range of internal titles, led by 5 times Programmer of The Year award winner Jane Whittaker and a whole raft of award winning industry programmers and artists. All Keystone titles directly benefit the charity with sales.

Actors of stage and screen, such as Warwick Davis and his daughter Annabelle Davis, along with a soon to be announced group of major celebrities have also joined Keystone in a long term relationship to help the kids! Funds raised are donated to Over The Wall (the subsidiary of the Serious Fun charity founded by Paul Newman and supported by the Hollywood A list)

How do you help Keystone help the kids?

We would love you to follow us on twitter at @Keystone_Games and promote our cause for the kids. The more publicity we get in the industry, the better served we are to raise much needed funds for the children who really need it

Please support our special charity hashtag #KeystoneKids to get the message out

If you are a developer looking for a publisher, come and talk to us about publishing your title. We have massive worldwide distribution both on digital platforms and boxed with marketing to match any other publisher in the business! Thanks to the support of a wide range of industry partners. We offer you industry leading royalty rates and AAA quality marketing. You keep your royalties and our share is used to help the kids! We already have a number of major partnerships with studios, with everyone from single man indie studios to major AAA developers, joining us in building Keystone Publishing!

If you see a gaming website that isn’t talking about Keystone Games and this massive charity effort, please encourage them to talk to us and give us coverage!

Please do whatever you can to help us help the kids!

Train2Game News Digital For Good Initiative


​Today, UK games industry charity GamesAid is pleased to announce the launch of a new era of fundraising with the ‘Digital For Good’ initiative.
‘Digital For Good’ offers videogame developers and publishers the opportunity to donate in-game content so it may be monetised and raise funds for the charities GamesAid supports. 

Full games, in-game items or DLC can be donated via Steam either in perpetuity or for a specified period of time to help the good causes.

The new initiative launches today with the Cynical Imp Charity DLC for lighthearted dungeon manager War for the Overworld. This variety pack of skins and themes is available at three different donation tiers, with 100% of the proceeds going to GamesAid. 

As regular supporters of GamesAid, Gamer Network – the world’s leading network of independent video games media – is supporting the launch of of the Cynical Imp Charity DLC. 

For more information and to purchase the Cynical Imp, please visit the War for the Overworld website. The Cynical Imp is also available on Steam.

To date GamesAid has raised over £2.5million and it is hoped that this new initiative will enable the charity to leverage its greatest asset in the industry to benefit those who need it most.

Last year Access Sport, Accuro, Action For Kids, Aidis Trust, Blackpool Carers Centre, The Clock Tower Sanctuary, Lifelites, MAPS, Solving Kids’ Cancer, and Special Effect all received cheques for £95,400 each during a special ceremony held at Warner House, London. It’s hoped that this new initiative will help increase that number for 2017 and beyond.

“The industry is evolving and with it so are the options to raise funds for the charities that GamesAid supports,” commented GamesAid Chair Ian Chambers. “This initiative offers game developers and publishers a straightforward and impactful way through which to raise funds from their content.”

Train2Game News Jagex Charitable Giving

​Jagex, the creators of RuneScape, today announced a partnership with three key charities to support mental health awareness, with a focus on affecting change for young people, as part of a two-year fundraising programme.

Jagex will link up with CPSL Mind, The Prince’s Trust, and YMCA Right Here on a local, national, and international level and has a target of raising £150,000 in 2017 to support their programmes. The games developer and publisher has raised hundreds of thousands of pounds for good causes in recent years, including over £100,000 for SpecialEffect in 2016.
The Prince’s Trust Macquarie Youth Index report, released at the start of the year, revealed that young people’s happiness and confidence are at their lowest levels since the organisation launched its study eight years ago. Over a third – 37 percent – of young people aged 16-25 admitted to feeling stressed about coping with work and school, while NEET young people (those not in employment, education or training) are more likely to feel worried about their circumstances and their future. These burdens impact the mental health of young people and increase their chances of not fulfilling their potential.
Throughout 2017, Jagex will host a series of in-game and real-world events to support the charities and promote mental health awareness. During Mental Health Awareness Week (8th-14th May), RuneScape will run a two-week long charity-specific in-game event – Gielinorian Giving – in which any currency purchased by players will be donated to the causes; in return players will receive exclusive rewards, such as an amour set and in-game pet.
Jagex will also participate in several key initiatives driven by the charities, including The Prince’s Trust career introduction programme, Get Started in Games Design, which will see young people participate in game design workshops hosted by Jagex in addition to a company game jam during Mental Health Awareness Week.
Additionally, the company will become one of the first commercial companies to join the likes of the local police service, some local NHS services, and Cambridgeshire County Council to sign a pledge supporting CPSL Mind’s ‘STOP Suicide’ campaign in Jagex’s home city. Working with YMCA Right Here, Jagex will support the organisation’s ‘Find, Get, Give’ initiative.

The programme will help young people aged 13-25 years old to find and receive support, and then give feedback around the mental health services they’ve accessed. Jagex will be assisting YMCA Right Here in the development of a mental health support networking app.
Phil Mansell, COO and Acting CEO of Jagex, said, “Our passionate and generous RuneScape community has helped raise hundreds of thousands of pounds for some incredible causes over the last few years. By focusing on supporting the mental health and wellbeing of young people through partnering with these three charities, we hope they will once again come together and help people receive the backing they need to cope with the turbulence of the world today.”
Ben Marson, Director of Corporate Partnerships at The Prince’s Trust, said: “Here at The Prince’s Trust, we’ve recently seen an increase in the need for mental health support amongst the young people coming to us for help, so the focus of this partnership with Jagex couldn’t be more timely. By hosting Get Started in Games Design with Jagex, we can develop young people’s confidence and skills to improve their wellbeing and help them get a job.”

Cat Dyson, YMCA Right Here Project Manager, said, “We are thrilled to be working in partnership with Jagex as part of their charitable strategy. YMCA DownsLink Group is focused on supporting young people to belong, contribute and thrive. The YMCA Right Here Project champions this approach by working closely with young people; empowering them to influence mental health work, educate others around health and wellbeing and campaign for change.   We are incredibly excited about the opportunities that this partnership presents, both for the YMCA and young people across the country.”

Aly Anderson, Interim CEO of CPSL Mind said: “We are delighted that Jagex has chosen CPSL Mind – and the STOP Suicide Campaign in particular – as one of their three charities to support this year.  Suicide is the biggest killer of men under 50 and the female suicide rate in England is at its highest since 2005.  However, most suicides are preventable and we are very much looking forward to working with Jagex to train more local people in suicide prevention, to raise awareness of potential suicide warning signs and to encourage everyone to talk more openly about this important subject.”

Further information on the three charities and the Jagex Charitable Giving initiative can be found at https://www.jagex.com/charitable-giving .

Train2Game News StandUp for GamesAid 2017

A chuckle worthy line-up of comedians led by Imran Yusuf comes to The Comedy Store London raising the roof and funds for GamesAid.
‘StandUp for GamesAid’, the funniest night in the games industry calendar returns to the legendary Comedy Store in London on May 8th, 2017.

Hosted once again by enigmatic GamesAid patron Imran Yusuf, the rib-tickling night of cracking comedy celebrates its 5th year with another fantastic line-up, including:
Alistair Barrie

Pippa Evans

Jeff Innocent

Angela Barnes

Funmbi Onotayo

Dana Alexander

And more TBC…
Tickets for the consistently sold out show are available right now at £20 (plus £2 booking fee for orders over phone or on website), and all profits will be going straight to GamesAid to help disadvantaged and disabled young people across the UK.  Every year, StandUp for GamesAid raises thousands for the umbrella charity, and is the easiest/funniest way for you to help.

Tickets can be purchased at The Comedy Store box office, or by visiting The Comedy Store Website here: http://thecomedystore.co.uk/london/show/stand-games-aid/

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 Nintendo Switch Charity Stream

To benefit children fighting critical illnesses, the /r/NintendoSwitch community on reddit.com will host a charity livestream from 12:01 a.m. to 11:59 p.m. EST on Friday, March 3.  
The 24-hour event will coincide with the release of the Nintendo Switch console and will benefit Child’s Play, which provides hospitals and therapy facilities with games and hardware, and Extra Life, which fundraises to allow hospitals to better care for sick children.

The livestream will feature gameplay videos, product reviews, and giveaways provided by official stream sponsors PDP, SanDisk, Nyko, and AverMedia. The goal is to raise at least $1,000 for each charity organization.

/r/NintendoSwitch is one of the largest unofficial Nintendo Switch communities in the world. With over 115,000 subscribers and growing, /r/NintendoSwitch is the central hub for news, updates, rumors, speculation, and discussion relating to the Nintendo Switch.

Details of the event follow.

What: /r/NintendoSwitch charity livestream benefitting Child’s Play and Extra Life. Sponsored by PDP, SanDisk, AverMedia, and Nyko.

When: 12:01 a.m. to 11:59 p.m. EST on Friday, March 3

Wherehttps://www.reddit.com/r/NintendoSwitch/ 

For more information on sponsored charities, visit  http://www.childsplaycharity.org and http://www.extra-life.org . 

For more information on /r/NintendoSwitch, visit https://www.reddit.com/r/NintendoSwitch/ .