You Can Have a Special Effect

Where to begin? It started as something personal, sad and private. Rather than wallow and be engulfed, I wanted to focus on something positive. As with all “good” ideas, alcohol was involved and a challenge was thrown down by a friend, which I sensibly but drunkenly declined. Upon sobering up I accepted but I think I got that the wrong way round. I was going to do the Three Peak Challenge.

But strangely this comes later on (August 2014).

So you are planning to do something gruelling, that needs planning and support from you friends. It is the sort of thing you would do for charity. Which one?

Cancer has played a big part in my life, so has mental health and a number of other things you come across with enough age/life/bad luck. There are so many worthwhile charities and it is simply not possible to calculate whom is more worthy. Whilst pondering this problem Will Luton was fund raising for Special Effect, by doing a run. I looked at the site and the penny dropped.

I have loved playing games in so many capacities throughout my life that I simply could not count the amount of time I have put into them. I have never, and hope to never, grow out of them. Indeed I believe we are witnessing the evolution of the industry at this point in time.

Games are transcendent. They take you away from the real and place you in a hyper-reality. Imagine never having that. Never being able to have that simple pleasure of success of completing a level in Mario. Now multiply that experience because you have never had the ability to interact with the real world on an equal footing, perceived or otherwise. Special Effect can make that pure joy a reality.

Here is a statement from the site saying what they are about;

“We’re putting fun and inclusion back into the lives of people with disabilities by helping them to play video games.

By using technology ranging from modified joypads to eye-control, we’re finding a way for people to play to the very best of their abilities.

But we’re not just doing it for fun. By levelling the playing field, we’re bringing families and friends together and having a profoundly positive impact on therapy, confidence and rehabilitation.”

Sounds great but here is the result;

“For years my daughter has had to watch her brothers play on countless PlayStation games, but now she can join in. It’s fantastic that at last someone is thinking about people who can’t use these games because of a disability. — Pip, mother of Minty, who has cerebral palsy”


The how is, by providing the following (these are only brief descriptions, have a look at the site);

  • Roadshows – A van full of adapted gaming equipment and gaming specialists, and drive all over the UK to enable people with disabilities to discover that they can level the gaming playing field.

  • Loan Libraries – The aim of the Loan Library is simple — to help everyone with a disability to find a way to play the games they love.

  • Gamebase – a unique website for gamers with disabilities. It’s packed with recommendations of games that we know are accessible using a wide range of controllers — adapted or otherwise.

  • Eyegaze – a system that enables eye controlled internet usage as well as controlling games

  • Stargaze – This project provides the loan and support of eye-controlled technology that can help these people when they need it most — immediately following their personal tragedy.

The reality is that all of this great work takes money, so how to go about it. Especially as there are very few of us that are rolling in cash to be able to give as much as we would all like.(at least that is me).


I have a plan; Special Effect are giving Mature Gamer Podcast one of their t-shirts and I (RobbieRoo) am going to document its journey from an unassuming (albeit bright orange) garment, to being a record of the UK Indie scene.

This is going to be achieved by getting everyone to sign it from developers, to industry representatives, to games PR, publishers, journalists and the occasional hanger-on. We are then going to raffle this one-off item.

The signing is going to be done mostly at Eurogamer 2013 on Saturday 28th September. I will be roaming the halls and stalking Indies to sign (a lot have already promised to sign). I will be wearing a bright orange Mature Gamer Podcast t-shirt with RobbieRoo written on the back. Please feel free to say hello.

I also hope to leave the t-shirt at other locations, such as UKIE in London, if you get the chance to sign there! Please keep track of the t-shirts current location via twitter @MGPNightShift!

How can you help? It is very easy;

  1. “Industry” people please sign the t-shirt! Not sure if you are “industry enough”? Ask. Mucking around with Unity today could make you the biggest Indie Dev of tomorrow. Podcasters are wanted as well!

  1. Everyone, please spread the word. Tell as many people as you can to help us get more signatures but also money tickets sold. This will hopefully become a community event that everyone can be proud of.

  1. Buy a ticket! Each ticket is only £1 so please buy one and Gift Aid. Please. Just go to

If you want to get more involved and you are feeling really generous, we/I will be happy to accept more raffle prizes. As things develop we go farther in pushing this idea until it breaks or stops.

So why Special Effect? Because sometimes a smile is enough.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>