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SpecialEffect News

20 Feb 2019

It's GameBlast weekend - and Joe's playing to win

Montage of smiling gameblasters “It's life-changing, and my way of giving something back.”

Joe, a young man with Duchenne muscular dystrophy, is looking forward to powering through a 12-hour video gaming marathon this weekend despite his very limited physical abilities.

Although he can't use a standard games controller or keyboard, he can still enjoy the excitement and inclusion of video games because of a customised tech setup put together by the charity SpecialEffect.

Joe's one of hundreds of video gamers across the UK and beyond who are uniting to play games this weekend - to help people that can’t.

They'll be playing as part of SpecialEffect’s annual GameBlast weekend, a festival of sponsored gaming marathons and events that takes place in a multitude of bedrooms, lounges, village halls, colleges, studios and boardrooms, all with the aim of raising £100,000 to help the charity transform the lives of more gamers like Joe.

It's possibly one of the biggest annual fundraisers you've never heard of, and since 2014 it's raised over £680,000.

Below: Joe playing on his PC using an adapted control setup put together by SpecialEffect.

Joe playing a video game on a PC

“I'm playing because I know what a big difference SpecialEffect make to young disabled people’s lives,” said Joe.

“I was finding it very difficult to use my computer because of my disability so they came to assess what specialised equipment I needed. They managed to get me playing games again.”

“Everyone’s GameBlast19 challenge will help SpecialEffect find new ways for people with disabilities to play – the expertise, assessments, equipment and lifelong support that brings joy, self-confidence and a degree of independence into the lives of hundreds of people. It's life-changing, and my way of giving something back.”

Joe will be gaming on Friday 22 February and you can sponsor him at https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Joe-Kemp2 before, during and after his challenge.

GameBlast19 runs from Friday to Sunday, and Joe will be joined by some big names in the games industry. Teams from GAME and SEGA Europe will be running 24-hour livestreams from their headquarters, and GAME stores across the country will be holding a huge range of fundraising activities. Lockwood Publishing will be running a marathon gaming session, and Big Potato Games will be hosting an evening of tabletop games.

Hundreds of individuals and gaming communities will be pitching in too, including Team Clocked, Zeldathon, Team NGB, Ultimate Pro Gaming and the National Student Esports. A taxi company local to SpecialEffect will be holding a games day, and many individual gamers are promising beard shaves, leg waxing and hair dyeing as stream forfeits. One gamer will even be taking on a marathon on a running machine while playing games.

Below: The team from GAME during their 24-hour livestream in 2018.


“It’s the best excuse to game ever,” said Tom Donegan, the charity’s Events Organiser. “GameBlast is an opportunity for people to do what they love best and level the playing field for people of all ages with a huge range of physical disabilities at the same time.”

More details of GameBlast19 can be found at https://www.gameblast19.org.uk and you can keep up with the action at https://twitter.com/gameblast

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