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.

Train2Game News Green Man Gaming One Special Day 

Green Man Gaming, a global e-commerce technology company in the video games industry, has announced that the company are supporting  Special Effect by donating towards their One Special Day initiative today. 
The company will be partnering with developers taking part in the event by donating all the profit that they would earn from the sale of selected games to UK-based charity SpecialEffect.

Companies from across the video games industry will be donating 100% of today’s sales or profits of one or more games, advertising revenue, in-app purchases, DLC or income from a dedicated activity or promotion. All the proceeds will be channeled into the work that SpecialEffect do to help gamers with disabilities putting fun and inclusion into their lives by helping them play video games. The industry hopes to raise £25,000 for the charity.

The PC games that will be sold for the charity today include Stick it to The Man, Stealth Inc 2: A Game of Clones, Pure Pool, Stikbold! A Dodgeball Adventure and many more.    

The full list of  ‘One Special Day’ games sold at Green Man Gaming is available at www.greenmangaming.com/onespecialday

Train2Game News Several companies join OneSpecialDay


Bossa Studios, Curve Digital, Game Swing and Magic Notion have joined the growing number of games industry companies supporting SpecialEffect’s One Special Day fundraising initiative on Friday 15 July.

SpecialEffect say the event will become an annual flagship day for the games industry to be loud and proud about supporting gamers with disabilities, and are encouraging other companies to join the One Special Day team.

So far over 20 companies have signed up, with many donating an entire day’s revenue of one or more of their games to the work of the charity.

One Special Day kicks off with a celebration party on Thursday 14 July at the Develop Conference in Brighton. Other activities will include an online auction of rare and collectable gaming merchandise, due to commence on 8 July, and a showcase at the Ukie Westminster reception on 6 July to celebrate the inclusion and creativity of the UK games industry.

Bossa’s early One Special Day on 8 July will see the revenue from the Steam sales of I Am Bread, Surgeon Simulator and Deep Dungeons of Doom from that day being donated. “Bossa are really excited to be part of One Special Day and help SpecialEffect change the lives of more gamers with disabilities,” said Ricardo Rego, Product Manager at Bossa. “We know the sales of our titles on our SpecialEffect One Special Day will make a big difference to their amazing work.”

Curve Digital will be donating Steam revenues from Stikbold, Stealth Inc 2 and Stealth Bastard Deluxe. Simon Byron of Curve said “Curve and Game Swing are delighted to be part of the One Special Day Initiative. For us, games are an intrinsic part of life and so easy to take for granted, so it’s a perfect fit to be able to support SpecialEffect in putting smiles back on the faces of people who would otherwise miss out because of a disability.”

Rich Franke of Magic Notion commented, “Magic Notion are delighted to be a part of One Special Day and donate the steam sales of Kitty Powers Matchmaker on July 15th. The work of SpecialEffect to help people with disabilities to experience the magic of gaming is amazing and we are happy to help them make a difference.”

All the proceeds will be channelled into the work that SpecialEffect do to help gamers with disabilities. Gamers like Tom, a 26 year-old who has spinal muscular atrophy and very little movement in his fingers. 

“With SpecialEffect’s help I was able to play for the first time in years,” he said, “And nothing can describe the feeling that gave me. So many things in life are limited because of my condition, but when I play a video game I’m in a world where the only limits are the ones I allow to be there.”

SpecialEffect CEO Dr Mick Donegan said, “We’re honoured that the games industry are being loud and proud about supporting our work in helping people with all kinds of physical disabilities to play video games. Games are an amazing medium through which people make friends, socialise and come together for a common cause. To be able to extend that medium to people that would otherwise not be involved is both an honour and a privilege.”

“There is a warm welcome awaiting all companies who would like to join this exciting initiative.”

One Special Day is open to all companies working in the games industry. To find out more, visit www.onespecialday.org.uk

Train2Game News Twin Town SpecialEffect Challenge Success

SpecialEffectOne hundred cars costing less than £500, laps around Silverstone and Abbeville circuits, a street party in Le Touquet plus lots of fun and games over the May bank holiday weekend, helped the Twin Town Challenge 2016 to raise over £250,000 for SpecialEffect.

The cars left Blenheim Palace on Friday 27th May and headed for Silverstone before crossing to France and on to Le Touquet, Witney’s twin town. During the weekend they undertook a series of fun challenges like blind driving, car boxing and car booty as well as a treasure hunt. There were also bonus points for the best-dressed car and team, which provided some amazing decorations and outfits from pink suited men, Christmas trees, Mexican bandits, golfers and shell fish.

On the Sunday night, French and English gathered together for a street party in Le Touquet with a live 10-piece band called The Village Idiots who had travelled from Stonesfield in Oxfordshire to play for Twin Town 16.

The welcome home party on Monday 31st May was hosted at Abbott Diabetes who provided a British bake off style tea with cakes made by the staff. Over half the cars were donated for auction at West Oxfordshire Motor Auctions in aid of the charity.

Twin Town is the brainchild of SpecialEffect Vice President Brendon Cross and is organised by a team of volunteers, over 50 of whom acted as marshals, fundraisers, minibus drivers, mechanics, scorers and generally managed the 500 people taking part in the event, both in the UK and in France.

Fundraising also included an online auction of money can’t buy prizes, bucket shakes in Le Touquet and donations from the teams, many of whom also held their own TTC16 events. Brendon said, “When we were planning Twin Town 16, we thought a target of £250,000 was quite ambitious, but with the amazing support of the Twin Town community, the teams and everyone involved with the event, we have not only reached this figure, but are likely to completely smash it.”

The money will be used by Charlbury based SpecialEffect to help more young people with disabilities to play computer games. Dr Mick Donegan, founder and CEO of SpecialEffect, commented, “The success of the amazing Twin Town Challenge 2016 has left the SpecialEffect team both stunned and humbled, not only by the remarkable funds raised but also from the feel-good factor generated by volunteers, sponsors and participants during a weekend that none of us will ever forget. We cannot thank Brendon and every single person involved enough for what they have done to help those who benefit from our life-changing work.”

Event sponsors included Playground Games, King.com, Sumo Digital, SEGA, Ghost Games and Turn 10. Teams from the games industry taking part included GAME, Gamer Network, Sumo Digital, Atomhawk, Green Man Gaming, Insight Studios, Playground Games, Hutch Games and Red Kite Games.

Train2Game News The Chinese Room joins OneSpecialDay

30efa4_ce895465dc7d4c92b604c473ed6354d4.pngThe Chinese Room have joined the growing number of gaming industry companies supporting SpecialEffect’s One Special Day charity initiative in July.

One Special Day, held on 15 July, is an opportunity for companies to donate 100% of revenue in one or all areas of their business; a day’s sales of one or more games, or 100% of advertising revenue, in-app purchases or DLC, for example. The funds raised will be used by gamers’ charity SpecialEffect to level the playing field for people with disabilities.

Dan Pinchbeck, Creative Director at the Chinese Room, said “The Chinese Room are long-term admirers of SpecialEffect and their work to help people with disabilities experience the magic of games and on hearing about One Special Day had no hesitation in pledging our support.”

As part of their support the studio will be donating a vinyl copy of the soundtrack to their award-winning game Everyone’s Gone to the Rapture, signed by Jessica Curry, BAFTA-winning composer and co-founder of the studio. The charity will be auctioning the soundtrack as part of One Special Day.

One Special Day is open to all companies working in the games industry. To find out more, visit www.onespecialday.org.uk

Train2game News Topstone joins One Special Day

30efa4_ce895465dc7d4c92b604c473ed6354d4.pngRipstone are supporting SpecialEffect by donating 100% of their sales towards the One Special Day initiative on 15th July 2016.

Ripstone will donate takings from across their entire catalogue of games including DLC on all platforms they publish on, including Steam, PlayStation®4, Xbox One, and mobile.

SpecialEffect’s mission is to enable anyone, whatever their physical disability, to enjoy video games. They’ve launched the ‘One Special Day’ initiative on 15th July to encourage the games industry to be loud and proud about levelling the playing field for gamers with disabilities.

Michelle Turner, Head of PR & Marketing at Ripstone, said “Ripstone love the work that SpecialEffect does to bring the joy of gaming to young people with disabilities and look forward to being part of an historic day for SpecialEffect and the games industry! We really hope the community will get behind this & help us spread the word & raise money for this worthwhile cause.”

Dr Mick Donegan, CEO and Founder SpecialEffect, said, “I’m genuinely stunned by the news that Ripstone have pledged 100% of takings for their entire catalogue of games and DLC on ‘One Special Day’. This amazing commitment will help SpecialEffect make a life-changing difference for gamers with disabilities.”

One Special Day is open to all companies working in the games industry. To find out more, visit http://www.onespecialday.org.uk

Train2game News Yogscast join SpecialEffect Event

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The Yogscast have joined the growing number of games industry companies who’ve signed up for SpecialEffect’s One Special Day charity initiative.

One Special Day, which will be held on 15 July, is an opportunity for companies to donate 100% of revenue in one or all areas of their business; for example a day’s sales of one or more games, or 100% of advertising revenue, in-app purchases or DLC.

The Yogscast have pledged their support as a promotional partner. Mark Turpin, Yogscast CEO and SpecialEffect Vice President, said “Games allow us to escape our world to visit another, experiencing anything and everything and loving every second of it. SpecialEffect give the gift of gaming to people who thought it was lost from them. The tireless work and passion to help that Mick Donegan and the team display never ceases to amaze me.”

“We think One Special Day is a fantastic idea and are delighted to get behind the day as a promotional partner and I hope to get the chance to play some of the games on the day.”

Payload Studios, Revolution Games and Escape Technology have also joined the event this week as contributory partners. Russ Clarke, Founder of Payload Studios, added “As long-time supporters of SpecialEffect, we’re delighted to be joining the One Special Day line-up, helping to turn sales of TerraTech into magic moments for people with disabilities.”

One Special Day is open to all companies working in the games industry. To find out more, visit www.onespecialday.org.uk