GameBlast: over £60,000 raised!!!

Over £60K! Just brilliant!! All the team here at SpecialEffect want to shout out a massive THANK YOU! Every hour you've spent gaming is going to make a huge difference for people with disabilities. It's going to take a few days to reach a final total, and once we've recovered we'll shout out more details about what an amazing weekend it's been, but until then, THANK YOU to everyone who played donated or supported. You are truly fantastic! Already looking forward to next year!

GAMEBLAST 2015 will take place 20-22 February 2015

Who benefits?

Thousands of people want to share your passion for video games, but their disabilities stop them playing any of the titles you're fanatical about. People like Callum, whose BMX accident left him virtually paralysed from the neck down. He's now back playing his favourite racing games again through an adapted chin joystick and special switches. The sponsorship you raised through your marathon will help us change the lives of many more people like Callum by bringing the fun and inclusivity of gaming back into their lives.

How do I get involved?

In short, we’re inviting anyone from the UK and beyond to play the games they love - and get sponsored to do it!

  • Register your team (or yourself, if you're gaming solo) using the form on the right. There’s no age limit - we're helping disabled people of all ages to enjoy the benefits of gaming, so the the event is equally as inclusive. If you're under 16 though, we're asking that you let your parents or guardians know about your participation, and encourage them to support you.
  • Set yourself a challenging time target - Your marathon is all about setting yourself a personal or team target that's going to attract sponsorship. 24 hours is great to aim for, but if you think, for example, you could only manage 12 hours, that's just fine.
  • Set yourself a realistic fundraising target. There’s no minimum, and although we're suggesting a a start point of £100, in the end it's up to you as an individual or a team. Set your target well before you start, as some donors are happy to give well in advance.
  • Create a page for your fundraising at www.justgiving.com, and link it up to our GameBlast JustGiving team page by clicking 'join the team' at www.justgiving.com/teams/gameblast/
  • Encourage your sponsors to donate - take a look at the fundraising tips section below.
  • You can stream your marathon via Twitch, but it’s entirely optional. If you’re new to live streaming, Twitch have a helpful page at http://help.twitch.tv/customer/portal/topics/301257-getting-started/articles The PS4 and Xbox One have twitch.tv capabilities built-in.
  • Choose the games you want to play, and have a blast raising money to help people with disabilities! If you’re already busy that weekend, you can game anytime during February (or even anytime in 2014!). It's a challenge at your own convenience.

Don't forget - by registering with us and linking to our JustGiving team page, you'll be included in our complimentary draw to win some great giveaways!

Fundraising tips

We're always more than happy to help with fundraising pointers where we can. Shout out to nick@specialeffect.org.uk or hannah@specialeffect.org.uk or call them on 01608 810055. In the meantime, here's some starters:

Make the most of your Justgiving page

Give as much detail as possible on your Justgiving page - what you're planning to do, when you're going to do it, why you're doing it and your fundraising target. You might want to include a link to our introductory video and add a brief description of what we do, something like "SpecialEffect are the gamer’s charity – they put fun, inclusion and confidence back into the lives of people with disabilities by helping them to play video games."

Getting ‘the ask’ right is useful. Saying “Please help me reach my target of £250 so that people with disabilities can enjoy the games we take for granted” is more persuasive than “I’m raising as much as I can for charity.”

If and when the fundraising target gets beaten, have a plan to encourage donors to extend it, eg, 'Now we need you to raise that total to at least £500 before we'll play Dark Souls through to the finish.' There's more details in the Liven up your marathon section below.

Poster downloads

Here’s a couple of A4 posters that may be of use. The first promotes the event, and the second is an ask for sponsorship (with a space for your details on the bottom). And yep, the pdf has the correct spelling of 'through'. Click to download the respective pdf file. They're about 1Mb each.

Twitter and Facebook backgrounds

Smarten up your social media - backgrounds for Twitter (1600x1200px) and Facebook (850x315px):

Press Release Template

A Word document to edit and ping to your local media. Throw in a picture of yourselves as well.

Spice up your stream

Definitely more of an art than a science, and here's some ideas. First up, a list of forfeits that #GamelyGiving are promising in their twitch stream as their fundraising total increases:

  • At £25: Phil will give a live rendition of a Rocksmith 2014 song (requests taken)
  • At £50: we’ll publish our best screams from our horror gameplay videos
  • At £75: we’ll all take on the cream cracker challenge (and fail miserably)
  • At £100: we’ll reveal a secret video of Craig talking to his cat!
  • At £150: want to see us spend the rest of the marathon in animal onesies?
  • At £200: we’ll reveal what happened when we caused trouble in Trafalgar Square
  • At £250: the entire team will wear lipstick for the remainder of the marathon
  • At £300: Phil will have to try out his cheesy chat-ups in a nearby bar
  • At £350: we’ll all wear our pants on our heads for the rest of the night
  • At £400: want to see a video of us singing at a karaoke bar?
  • At £450: in a break from gaming, we’ll put on a fitness video and do the routine
  • At £500: Craig and Phil will have to face their greatest fears – crabs and squid
  • £500 plus: if you have any further suggestions, let us know!

You've got to admire the Respawn Point marathon team recently too. Here's Jay Zeach talking about one of their forfeits in a recent marathon:

"We all ate fish fingers and custard as a donation challenge to reach $1000. When we reached $2000 we ate chicken nuggets and custard,and at $3000 it was potato hash browns and custard. The feedback from the team was that the fish fingers was the best tasting…"

You get the idea.

Learn from the experts

There's a pdf with some handy games marathon tips here, covering everything from fundraising to food advice. It's recommended reading. You might also want to take a look at this video from Gaming for Others, who pass on a few pointers about how they kept themselves and their marathon fresh - including dancing on camera!

Safety first

Motherly stuff. But important anyway.

  • Take regular breaks from your gaming; go outside, feed the cat, make a sandwich, that sort of thing. It’ll also reduce the risk of DVT.
  • Try and eat little and often, as a massive meal will make you feel feeling sluggish. Nearly everyone we’ve talked to has advised sticking to fresh, healthy foods and not snacking on junk food; the sugar crash will leave you grumpy and tired.
  • If you're going to use caffeine to get you through, it's best to stick to water for the first half of your marathon at least, and save the coffee for the inevitable slump.
  • Have a spare set of clothes handy. Fresh clothes can make you feel great again.
  • Go to the toilet when you need to. Wouldn’t want another Hold your Wee for a Wii death.
  • Keep as far back from the screen as possible, and look away from the screen regularly.
  • Stop if strange or unusual feelings develop, or you feel ill in any way. You could always resume your marathon the following day or weekend. If you suffer from epilepsy or seizures consult your doctor before taking part. There’s no direct link between video games and epilepsy, but photosensitive sufferers should take precautions when thinking of playing for such long periods.
  • Again, this sounds obvious, but don’t plan to do anything that might endanger yourself and others (like driving) immediately after the event.

Can I fundraise for other charities?

SpecialEffect rely 100% on your support, as we don't charge for any of the help that we give, including equipment loans. We hope you'll understand us asking you to keep GameBlast as a special event for us.

Other 24-hour marathons in the UK

If you can't join in our GameBlast, There's another established marathon in Scotland - SickKidsSavePoint - that raises money every October for the Sick Kids Hospital in Edinburgh, and you might want to think about joining that one as well

Copyright and trademarks acknowledged for the images in the Gameblast graphic: Nintendo, Rockstar Games, Ubisoft, Activision, Blizzard Entertainment and EA Sports.