The hand of fate can throw cruel dice. Through accident, birth or illness, severe disability can alter life prospects for individuals and impact friends and family too. Take a car or sporting accident for example: one moment you are a fully mobile individual; the next paralysed from the neck down.
Deep in the Oxfordshire countryside, at the charitable organization SpecialEffect, a team of wizards are at work attempting to mitigate the effects of disability by using games as a platform to connect those affected back into the world of fun and friends.
‘Dr Mick’ Donegan heads-up the SpecialEffect team and what they strive to achieve every day is truly remarkable. For many constrained by severe or even progressive disability, Dr Mick’s use of technology makes any popular game accessible for everyone to play - a level playing field no matter what.
At a recent event attended by government and games industry luminaries, Dr Mick revealed his ambition to reach out worldwide to millions of disabled people through games.
Clearly it’s an ambitious goal and one that will require not only funds, but also widespread support. There are many ways to achieve this and, as a game creator and publisher, it felt right to get involved.
Nomad Games was introduced to SpecialEffect through our friend James Schall at Sega. We were about to go into a Humble Bundle with Sega and the question of which charity to support came up.
James took us, fellow developers, our Licensor and Humble Bundle down to meet SpecialEffect in their HQ in the grounds of the Cornbury Park Estate. Sega had already generated a revenue stream for SpecialEffect by selling custom items in their Sonic games, and we decided to follow suit.
By running a competition last year in conjunction with the charity, we solicited designs for a completely new character for our fantasy adventure board game Talisman. We published the designs and asked the community to vote. The chosen result was ‘The Shaman’ and to this day the character remains on sale with all proceeds going to SpecialEffect. Our player community gave a fantastic response to the action, and the whole process was easy and enjoyable to execute. If more game creators come on board, small and large, then much can be done.
Custom DLC is one way to support the charity, but live streaming of games, sponsored events and donating the proceeds of a day’s sales are other ways to help make a difference.
In their latest campaign, One Special Day which takes place on July 8th, Special Effect will ask developers and publishers to donate 100 per cent of a day’s takings, or 100 per cent of one game, or 100 per cent of a takings in a region, or 100 per cent of the takings from a piece of DLC.
So let’s all help SpecialEffect and make a difference in a day on July 8th.
If you think you could help out, get in touch with Special Effect at www.specialeffect.org.uk.