GameBlast21 has officially been completed. Last weekend, hundreds of dedicated gamers all over the UK streamed themselves playing video games for 24-hours and managed to raise over £200,000 for the amazing SpecialEffect.
I’ve participated in the GameBlast events since they started back in 2014 and every marathon has taught me something new: tips about streaming in general, ideas for creating content and understanding how supportive our friends within the community are. I like to share a round-up of the lessons learnt each time so we can keep track of our experiences and benefit from them every year so, in normal Later Levels’ style, here’s an overview of what happened during GameBlast21.
Lesson one: accept that something will always go wrong
One of the lessons we’ve discovered in previous years is that something will always go wrong during a marathon stream. But it’s not so much being prepared to fix it that matters; what’s more important is that you accept it’s going to happen and are able to roll with it when it does. The regular streams we’ve been doing over the past year have given us a lot of experience with our streaming software and hardware so for the first time during GameBlast history, there was no stress in the Later Levels’ household.
Lesson two: an awesome mod makes your life easier
This year was the first time we decided to get ourselves a mod for the marathon stream and we can’t be more grateful to Ellen from Ace Asunder for stepping up to the challenge. She kept her eyes out for bots (thanks to Darkshoxx for giving us a giggle by creating a fake one so she’d have something to ban), posted links in chat when they were needed and welcomed new people to the channel. It meant that some of the ‘admin’ work was taken off our shoulders so we could focus more on the stream itself. Thanks so much, genniz0rz!
Lesson three: FMV comedy games work at 02:00
The section of the stream we’ve always struggled with is from 02:00 to 05:00. It’s incredibly difficult to pick a game to play during this period: you want something which is going to be exciting enough to keep you awake when you’re starting to flag, but not one which requires a great deal of coordination or concentration. It was General Horse and the Package of Doom which stepped up to the challenge. The easy gameplay and crazy humour kept us laughing during the early hours and pushing on through.
Lesson four: Pete doesn’t like Pikachu
At some point before the GameBlast21 event, GD from Gaming Diaries managed to talk Pete into wearing a Pikachu onesie for the whole 24-hours. I think there was a part of him which believed he wasn’t going to have to do it but there was no way our stream-friends were going to let him get out of it. He said afterwards that it was horrible having to wear it for so long because it was far too hot under our key lights – but in my mind it was worth the discomfort, after Fed from Fed’s Life persuaded him to do a Pikachu impression.
Lesson five: stream-friends can work together to break a record
We set up a pun-counter after last year’s marathon and this is something which has featured in our streams since. Mr. Wapojif from Professional Moron bravely said he was going to break the record of 76 puns in one session – and he managed to smash that by reaching 184 with a little help from some stream-friends. We’d like to say a big thank you to the following people for their pun-efforts, staying up for all or most of the 24-hours, helping us when we got stuck during games and just being generally awesome:
|Mr. Wapojif||Professional Moron||47 puns||The pun champion|
|the_Ghost_Owl||37 puns||The best detective ever|
|Darkshoxx||Darkblox||22 puns||General Horse expert|
|Phil||22 puns||Impressive Viking skills|
|Nathan and Worried Cat||Gaming Omnivore||14 puns||Kept us awake|
|Vox_AB||12 puns||Provided plenty of jokes|
|Ellen||Ace Asunder||7 puns||The most marvellous mod|
|Gao Li||Occasionally Reviews||4 puns||Creator of our GameBlast GIFs|
|Luke||Hundstrasse||4 puns||Donator of Pop-Tarts|
|GD||Gaming Diaries||3 puns||Taker of all the best clips|
|KiaraHime||1 pun||Stayed up for all 24-hours|
With your support, we’ve managed to raise an amazing £4,515 for SpecialEffect so far. They’re a wonderful charity which aims to put fun and inclusion back into the lives of people with physical disabilities by helping them to play video games, using technology ranging from modified joypads to eye-control software to find a way for everyone to play to the best of their abilities. Head over to their website or YouTube channel for more information and to see examples of their work.
The fun isn’t stopping just yet though. Your donations unlocked a series of rewards, part of which now involves us streaming to the Later Levels’ Twitch channel every day for at least an hour right up until Saturday, 29 May 2021. Our JustGiving page will remain open until that date in case anyone would like to make a contribution to SpecialEffect and we’ll reveal the games we’re streaming every Monday on social media.