It’s that time of year again and Game Blast is upon us. Game Blast is a special weekend of gaming that helps raise money for a very worthy charity called Special Effect and Jagex is once again taking the lead. Special Effect is a charity that helps people with disabilities play video games by first assessing their needs, and then by lending them specially adapted equipment. Last year’s Game Blast was very successful and raised a significant amount of money for the charity. Jagex has been a leader in the industry for its charitable giving and I am very proud of the work they have done with the help of the RuneScape community. So, what is Jagex doing this year and how can you participate you may ask?
First and foremost there is another double XP weekend during the Game Blast on the weekend of February 20th. Jagex will also be doing another 24-hour live stream on Friday the 20th. The Well of Good Will is to be open again for players to donate their in-game items, GP, or bonds, and there will be a special outfit in the Solomon store for you to purchase and the proceeds of that purchase will go to Special Effect. As RuneScape players, there are many things that we can do to support this amazing charity. Here are just a few suggestions.
Of course you can donate GP and bonds by throwing them in the Well of Good Will and you can buy the outfit in Solomon’s store but if you want to be more creative than that, here are some options. You could go on a boss hunt and donate all the drops you get. You can take all of your left over skilling supplies and instead of dumping it on the GE for a bottom rate price, you could just throw them in the Well of Good Will. You could organize an event at a mini-game or a skilling competition, and ask players donate a small amount of GP to play and then donate that using the Well of Good Will. You can also go to Special Effect’s website and register for the Game Blast weekend and encourage people to sponsor you. You could even do a live stream yourself where all the donations would go to Special Effect. Those are just a few ideas, however there is so much more you can come up with on your own.
Last year I wrote about my own personal experience gaming with a disability. This year I want to highlight some of the case studies that Special Effect has on their website. Callum was an active teen before his BMX accident. He suffered injuries that left him paralyzed from the shoulders down. This left him without being able to use a PlayStation controller. Special Effect was able to try a few different setups and found one where he can use his chin to control his game. Ben has spinal muscular atrophy and was never able to play computer games before Special Effect. They were able to Bluetooth the joystick on his wheelchair to his laptop letting him play games for the first time. Lloyd suffered a grievous injury in Afghanistan where he lost both legs and most of his fingers on his right hand. He was an avid gamer before going to war but after his injury he wasn’t able to play anymore. Special Effect was able to find a one-handed controller that got him back into the game. Finally there is Charlotte; she contracted an aggressive form of meningitis when she was two years old that left her without four limbs. She’s now four and full of life, and as anyone with small children knows, they have an insatiable appetite for learning and playing. Special Effect was able to try out some of their cutting edge eye tracking technology and she is now able to play games and do other activities on the computer like coloring and matching games. The work that this organization does is truly remarkable and I encourage all of you to go to their website and watch some of their success story videos. Although I must warn you, some of them are hard to watch because it’s hard to not think about, what if that was my child, but at the same time you are filled with hope and joy for the kindness that the people at Special Effect exhibit.
Life is hard enough as it is without having a disability. When you do have a disability some things can be much more challenging. Socializing is one of the hardest things due to the fact that you can’t participate in the same kinds of things everyone else can. That is why gaming is so important and beneficial. It helps people have a social life and be a part of a group and interact with each other in a way that is normally much more difficult. I can’t imagine how hard it must be for some of the younger kids who just want to belong. My personal experience is that your disability is a part of you but it does not have to define you.
If you can’t help monetarily or with your in-game wealth, that’s okay – there is something you can do. Just be kind and patient if you meet someone in game with a disability. In a community as large as RuneScape there are many of us out there. Sometimes we may be a little slower and sometimes we may make mistakes, but just keep in mind we love the game as much as you do. The best way I can describe what we deal with on a daily basis in game terms is it’s like having an ever present debuff that for which there is no toggle off switch. I hope everyone enjoys the double XP weekend and you have much success with the events you’re planning and Jagex raises a lot of money for Special Effect. Until next time happy RuneScaping!