How does playing video games for 24-hours straight sound to you? Sure, it can be tiring and does take loads of stamina to see it through to the finish line, but it’s also a whole lot of fun. And if you add to it the ability to support an amazing cause while you’re doing it then it makes the day even more memorable.

Every February I take part in an annual gaming marathon called GameBlast for SpecialEffect. This UK-based charity puts fun and inclusion back into the lives of those with physical disabilities by helping them to play video games, using technology including modified joypads and eye-control software. Levelling the playing-field in this way isn’t only for entertainment: it has a profoundly positive impact on therapy, confidence and rehabilitation. It means everyone can come together and experience the joy of gaming.

I signed up to become a volunteer in 2013 and in the past six years have had the opportunity to speak to some of the people the organisation has helped. They visit individuals around the country to find out what they want to play and exactly what they need to do so, then match, modify or create equipment to lend to them. If a person’s needs change over time, the charity will keep going back to help them play to the best of their abilities – and what’s even more amazing is that they do all this work free of charge.

GameBlast sees hundreds of gamers across the UK come together in a weekend of gaming marathons to raise funds and awareness for SpecialEffect. I’ve now taken part five times myself and have had so much fun every year. In the past our small team has run streams of all different lengths ranging from 24- to 72-hours, completing a range of silly challenges live on air for your viewing pleasure and making it through to the end of the event on adrenaline and high doses of caffeine.

For our next marathon we want to do something a little different and push ourselves even further for the charity. Can we play video games for at least an hour every day for 50-days straight, finishing the period with a 24-hour stream? We’re going to find out from Sunday, 05 January 2020. Adult responsibilities make this challenge far harder than it initially seems and it’s going to take plenty of organisation and coordination – not to mention a ton of batteries for our controllers.

Today sees the start of our preparation for the event and we’ll bring you monthly updates from now until next year, when GameBlast20 officially happens from 21-23 February 2020. We already know there’s an awful lot of things we need to consider and there’s probably also some we haven’t even thought about yet. If you have any advice or suggestions, or would like to get involved in some way, please leave us a note in the comments below and we’ll include it in our planning.

There’ll be more news coming in early August. In the meantime, you can find out more about SpecialEffect and their work by visiting their website and giving hem a follow on Twitter. There’s a bunch of posts here if you’d like to hear what it’s like to be a volunteer and you can sign-up yourself by getting in touch with Becky Frost.

GameBlast20: the next challenge

13 thoughts on “GameBlast20: the next challenge

  1. 50 days straight? I feel I could do that quite easily, though I must confess I am hardly a representative example of responsible, sociable adulthood 🙂

    I’m interested in participating in the the main GameBlast event next year. I’ve done Extra Life a couple of times and it’s always been fun, but it would be nice to support a charity a bit closer to home. Special Effect are super-cool, too — I came into contact with them several times when I worked in the commercial games press, and it was always a pleasure to talk to them and see what they were up to.


    • Do it, Pete – join in! 😀

      This year the guys from GeekOut South-West played ESO for 24-hours straight. We set up our channel so we could pull in their stream while keeping our own going, and it was fun dropping in on them every once in a while to see what they were up to. It would be great to be able to do this with other bloggers too if a group are interesting in participating next year!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks lovely lady, that’s so kind of you! And thank you for sharing the post on Twitter too.

      I’ve got a few ideas for how we can get some others involved during the 50 days… more news coming next month… 😉


  2. I am curious about helping out with this.

    Is the idea to have a different streamer going one hour each day of the 50 days from their own location and then to have a joint stream on the final 24 hours?


    • We’ve recently been thinking about what we could do during the 50 days, and have had some ideas about how we can get others involved… there’ll be more news about this at the beginning of next month so keep your eyes peeled if you’re interested!

      Also keep an eye on the SpecialEffect website. It’s usually around the end of September when they announce that the new GameBlast website is live, and you can go there to sign up and download all kinds of stream resources. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: Editorial: July – Wait?! What Happened to June? – Hundstrasse

    • Oh I’m sure there will be! We’ve got some ideas about how to rope others into joining in… there’ll be a post about that coming very soon. 😉


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