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 GameBlast16

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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.

Train2Game News GameBlast 16

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Gamer’s charity SpecialEffect today announced GameBlast16, the UK’s biggest gaming marathon weekend. People of all ages are invited to play video game marathons or hold gaming-related events to help people with disabilities benefit from the fun and inclusion of video games.

The charity is calling for teams of friends, family members or work colleagues to sign up to undertake their own sponsored video game marathons or gaming-related events anytime during the weekend of 26-28 February 2016.

“It’s the best reason to game ever. Gamers can enjoy doing what they love best and level the playing field for people with disabilities at the same time,” said Mick Donegan, the charity’s Founder and CEO.

“People like Ceyda (LINK), who’s always wanted to join in with her friends and family, but her cerebral palsy meant that she couldn’t use a standard controller. The funds raised through GameBlast16 will help us change the lives of many more people like Ceyda through the gift of gaming fun and inclusivity.”

GameBlast is the charity’s biggest annual gaming event. Over £120,000 was raised through GameBlast15 last February, and SpecialEffect are aiming to reach a target of £150,000 in 2016.

Teams and individuals can sign up for Gameblast16 at
http://www.specialeffect.org.uk/gameblast

Train2Game News GameBlastLIVE Stream

SpecialEffectGameBlastLIVE, a Children in Need style 24 livestream, will be anchoring SpecialEffect’s GameBlast gaming marathon event this weekend.

Streamed from the London headquarters of industry trade body UKIE, the show will feature interviews with top gaming figures, playthroughs of new game content, gaming merchandise giveaways and regular updates from the hundreds of teams across the world taking part in the charity fundraiser.

The livestream starts at 10am on Saturday and can be seen at http://www.twitch.tv/gameblastlive

Highlights of the stream include:

  • The Oliver brothers from SkySaga, who will be reflecting on 20 years in the industry before a gameplay session.
  • Kate Russell will be battling through hyperspace with some top Elite antics.
  • PocketGamer will be on the sofa talking and showing the best of mobile entertainment.
  • Team17 will be live from their headquarters, scrambling their way out of The Escapists.
  • The team from Bossa will be slicing through I Am Bread, before things get messy with Surgeon Simulator.
  • Go8Bit will be creating mayhem in the studio with gameshow and forfeit challenges.

GameBlast, the UK’s largest charity gaming marathon, swings into action on Friday with the aim of raising over £100,000 for gamer’s charity SpecialEffect.

The challenge event, which will run from 20-22 February, has attracted over 250 individuals and gaming teams from across the world. They’ll be running their own gaming marathons at times over the weekend – some up to 24 hours in length – and asking for online sponsorship to hit their fundraising targets.

Big names in the gaming industry are involved, including retail giant GAME, online games developer Jagex and global video streamers Twitch. In total over 50 companies from the industry are involved in various ways, from hosting their own 24 hour staff marathons to contributing to the prize giveaways.

The aim is to raise money for the work of SpecialEffect, who help people with physical disabilities to benefit from the fun, friendship and inclusion of video games.

For more details about GameBlast, see http://www.specialeffect.org.uk/gameblast

Train2Game News Jagex to host SpecialEffect for Gameblast

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Jagex Games Studio, creators and custodians of the fantasy MMORPG, RuneScape and the upcoming online multiplayer action game, Block N Load, is to lead the way in SpecialEffect’s upcoming GameBlast15 games marathon weekend.

The event, which takes place between 20th and 22nd February, launches a 24-hour gamer challenge to raise money and help enable individuals with physical disabilities play games.

During the inaugural GameBlast in 2014, the RuneScape and Ace of Spades: Battle Builder communities raised more than £48,000 for SpecialEffect, and more than 90,000 viewers watched Jagex’s livestream of gameplay, interviews, and real-world challenges. In addition to holding another marathon livestream from Jagex’s Cambridge headquarters, RuneScape players will also benefit from a double XP weekend.

“SpecialEffect is a cause that’s very close to our hearts at Jagex. We had a lot of fun last year with our livestream for GameBlast14, so it’s fantastic to get stuck in once again and get even more involved in GameBlast15,” said Phil Mansell, vice president of RuneScape. “We’re really looking forward to welcoming Mick and the SpecialEffect team to Jagex, as well as holding our own 24-hour marathon and double XP weekend, next month.”

David Solari, vice president of Block N Load, added “The Ace of Spades: Battle Builder community were really supportive during GameBlast14, so we can’t wait to see how the burgeoning Block N Load player base performs this year. We’re currently in the beta phase of development, so the 24-hour GameBlast marathon will really put the game through its paces ahead of its launch!”

“We were simply stunned by the amazing generosity of the Jagex community during last year’s GameBlast, and honoured that they’re gearing up for another 24 hours of activity in February,” said Dr Mick Donegan, founder and director of SpecialEffect. “Having such a major force in the gaming industry backing our work helping people with disabilities is a great boost, and I’m personally really looking forward to being at Jagex HQ during the event to be part of their GameBlast heroics.”

Hosting SpecialEffect and taking part in GameBlast15 is the first of a number of fundraising drives for planned by the Jagex throughout 2015. During 2014, the studio and its passionate RuneScape community raised more than $300,000 for good causes, including Oxfam and SpecialEffect. RuneScape was also the first games partner of United for Wildlife, and helped to raise awareness of the plight facing the world’s rhinos with a series of in-game quizzes and limited edition virtual pets.

Train2Game News Play Games to help SpecialEffect

SpecialEffectSpecialEffect are hosting another Gameblast in February of 2015. This is your chance to play games and help people in need!

The gaming marathon weekend will take place from February 20 – 22 and the idea is that you play games for an extended length of time, whether it be 48 hours or 24 hours is entirely up to you, and get your friends, family and whoever else to sponsor you to do so.

This gaming marathon is entirely down to your self to decide what you can do. Do as much or as little as you want to and try and raise as much money as you possibly can to help SpecialEffect to raise money that will go towards supporting disabled gamers back in to the game.

Last February gamers raised an incredible £70,000 in GameBlast14, and every penny and cent went towards levelling the playing field for gamers with disabilities. This time SpecialEffect are aiming for £100,000, so they’re going to need all the help you can give!

If you want to find out some helpful tips and sign up for this event you can go to http://www.specialeffect.org.uk/gameblast-about

Train2Game News Jagex support GameBlast 15

SpecialEffectJagex Games Studio, makers of the multi-award winning fantasy MMORPG RuneScape and upcoming Transformers Universe, today announced its continuing corporate support of GameBlast, the annual charity games marathon weekend in aid of gamers’ charity SpecialEffect.

Jagex held its own 24-hour games marathon as part of the previous GameBlast weekend in February 2014, which was live-streamed online to 90,000 unique viewers over the course of the event. Both staff and selected members of the RuneScape community played RuneScape and Jagex’s Ace of Spades: Battle Builder throughout the 24 hour period, raising over £48,000 as a result.

Riaan Hodgson, chief operations officer at Jagex, was vocal about the company’s continued support of GameBlast: “It’s great to see our staff get behind such a worthy cause once again, especially one so suited to our core company principles. At Jagex, games are a way of life and if we can have fun while welcoming others into this medium, then that’s definitely a good use of our time and resources.”

GameBlast is the UK’s biggest charity gaming marathon event, and is next scheduled for the weekend of 20-22 February 2015. Hoping to improve on last year’s total of £70,000, SpecialEffect is targeting a figure of £100,000 and is calling upon other games companies to join in and help people with disabilities benefit from the fun, friendship and inclusion of video games. The charity is hoping that other studios recognise the huge internal and external corporate social responsibility benefits from taking part, as well as the ability to directly benefit gamers in the best way possible.

“Jagex’s support was a major part of the success of GameBlast14,” said Dr Mick Donegan, founder and director of SpecialEffect. “We’re incredibly grateful for the generosity of its staff and communities, and we’re delighted that they’ll be participating again in 2015. The money they raise will enable even more people, whatever their age or physical disability, to enjoy video games and leisure technology.”

Donegan continued: “We know we can achieve so much more if the rest of the UK games industry follows Jagex’s lead and pledges their support for GameBlast15. There’s a warm welcome awaiting any developers, publishers or gaming communities who want to get involved, whether that’s at a small scale stream or at industry partner level.”

More information about next year’s GameBlast can be found at http://www.specialeffect.org.uk/gameblast

Train2Game News: Student taking part in GameBlast

Ritchie DemicolSpecialEffect’s GameBlast charity event launches tomorrow and Train2Game student, Ritchie Demicol is taking part.

Ritchie, who has been a Train2Game student since February last year, will be playing the infamously difficult Dark Souls for 24 hours straight. This will be no easy task with the games frustrating difficulty level.

When asked why Ritchie decided to take part in the event he said “I decided to take part because I know it’s going to a great cause who design games and hardware for young children and adults who struggle to play video games due to certain disabilities. It will be a great help to those who can’t use move their body and have to use their eyes to control the game”

Ritchie begins his 24 hour marathon tomorrow and if you would like to support him and SpecialEffect you can donate by visiting http://www.justgiving.com/Ritchie-Demicol

Good luck Ritchie, you are supporting a fantastic charity!

Train2Game News: Jagex supporting SpecialEffect GameBlast

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Jagex Games Studio, makers of the multi-award winning fantasy MMORPG, RuneScape, is to host a 24-hour long marathon in support of the games charity SpecialEffect’s inaugural GameBlast weekend.

The challenge, to be held at Jagex’s Cambridge headquarters, will take place from 1pm GMT on Friday 21st February and will see staff and selected members of the RuneScape community play RuneScape and Ace of Spades throughout the 24-hour period. The event will also be live-streamed throughout via the official RuneScape and Ace of Spades twitch.tv channels, which will also include interviews with the RuneScape development team.

In addition to holding the marathon, Jagex will be running in-game events within RuneScape. Following a recent player vote, there will be Double XP for players during the GameBlast weekend. The Well of Goodwill, which saw players raise tens of thousands of pounds for a number of charities at the end of 2013, will re-open for a short time only. Players will also be able to purchase a virtual GameBlast tunic for their avatars, with all proceeds donated to SpecialEffect. During the GameBlast weekend, 50 percent of all profits from sales of Ace of Spades will be donated to SpecialEffect.

“Jagex has long supported numerous charities close to our heart, and we are thrilled to be able to continue our strong relationship with SpecialEffect by taking part in the inaugural GameBlast,” said Neil McClarty, Brand Director for RuneScape. “Our community truly are fantastic, and their generosity during our most recent charity campaign saw hundreds of billions of gold pieces and Bonds converted into real-world cash for good causes, including SpecialEffect. The weekend is shaping up to be big with lots planned including live streams and players recently voted to celebrate with double XP available all weekend, this is one not miss.”

“SpecialEffect does fantastic work to level the playing field between abled and disabled gamers, and Jagex is excited to continue supporting the organisation’s efforts by participating in GameBlast,” said Rob Kinder, Brand Director for Ace of Spades. “Getting the Ace of Spades community together for a 24-hour marathon gaming session while raising money for charity at the same time is the perfect way to start the weekend, and we can’t wait for the event to kick off!”

“We’re absolutely delighted that Jagex are going to play a huge part in GameBlast. We’re already indebted to them for the wonderful support they gave us in 2013 through their Well of Goodwill, and to have their involvement in this weekend of gaming is fantastic,” said Dr Mick Donegan, Founder and Director of SpecialEffect. “There are thousands of people in the world that want to share our passion for video games, but their disabilities stop them playing any of the titles we love. The sponsorship that the Jagex players and staff raise through their marathon will help us to bring magic moments and opportunities for inclusion into many, many more lives.”