SpecialEffect, the charity dedicated to helping all young people with disabilities to enjoy computer games, has appointed two new Vice Presidents from within the games industry – Johnny Minkley and Kirsty Payne.
SpecialEffect enables young people with disabilities to play games and use leisure technology by adapting, developing and modifying cutting-edge technology, which includes the eye control technology project Stargaze. SpecialEffect support hospitals, hospices and special schools in finding the right leisure technology for those young people who need it most, when they need it most. They also provide an online service at http://www.gamebase.info which enables children and parents to research which games would be suitable for each individualâ€™s particular disabilities, share technical knowledge and experience, ask questions and communicate via the forum.
For these children, the majority of computer games are simply too quick or too difficult to play, and SpecialEffect can help them and their parents to find out which games they CAN play, and how to adapt those they can’t. SpecialEffect also loans specialist leisure technology to young people who have a sudden or serious injury or illness.
The charityâ€™s team of specialist professionals has many years of experience in designing and adapting technology to help young people with physical and learning difficulties. Success from using this technology can lead to huge gains in self-confidence and motivation, and can provide a way for young people with disabilities to compete with others on a level playing field.
Johnny Minkley is an award-winning journalist who has been writing and speaking about videogames for a decade, and playing them for over a quarter of a century. A veteran consumer and business journalist, he has worked on numerous leading magazines and websites, and is a regular pundit across radio and TV and in the national press. Johnny is currently a games expert for BBC Radio 1, with regular appearances on the Jo Whiley Show, and Editor of Eurogamer TV, producing and presenting video content for Europe’s leading independent gaming website, Eurogamer.net.
Kirsty Payne has been working within the games industry for twenty years, enjoying stints at publishers including Codemasters, Mindscape and Activision before setting up the highly regarded specialist games agency Rocket Media who serviced clients such as Konami, Capcom, Sony Computer Entertainment and the GAME Group. Kirsty currently consults for the Mastertronic Group and is the Director of the London Games Festival, she has built up enviable games industry experience and extensive business relationships with key industry figures over the years.
Kirsty Payne commented – â€œI am absolutely delighted and honoured to become Vice President of SpecialEffect, itâ€™s the most amazing charity and really makes a difference to young people with disabilities. The work that is being done to enable young people of all abilities to play games is fantastic and the more the games industry can do to get involved in this great cause, the better.â€
â€œWeâ€™ll shortly be launching the National Accessible Games Centre that will help children and young people with disabilities to play games and provide a great meeting point and leisure facility combined with the technology to assist in gameplay for everyone, regardless of their physical abilities. We would welcome publishers and developers to come along and visit to see the great work that goes on and hopefully make suggestions as to providing fully accessible games for all.â€
Johnny Minkley commented – “The work SpecialEffect does to improve lives is inspiring and vitally important, so it’s a huge honour for me to take on the role of Vice President. The charity’s projects are a striking example of the literally life-changing potential of technology and gaming, and the difference it can make in boosting self-esteem, promoting engagement and simply helping to make fun possible is amazing to witness. There’s so much the games industry can do to help this brilliant team achieve its goals, so I’m delighted to be involved.”
Dr Mick Donegan, Director of SpecialEffect commented â€“ â€œAs many as one person in every ten misses out on the joys and therapeutic benefits of gaming because of their disability. Kirsty has been involved in the charity since its launch and, in turn, kindly introduced us to Johnny soon after. Both of them have already been an immense help and support to us and share our goal of achieving â€˜GameOn for Everyoneâ€™, no matter HOW disabled they are. We are absolutely delighted and honoured that they have accepted our invitation to become Vice-Presidents of our games-related charity.â€