CHILDREN In Need has hosted a number of different fundraising events over the years, but this year is something a little different.
Game On will feature a number of different gaming YouTubers and streamers playing games for charity in a two-hour show.
We had the chance to sit down with one of the hosts, Steffan Powell, to talk about the show and how gaming can help others.
GLHF: I just wanted you to introduce yourself and introduce Game On
Steffan Powell: I'm Stefan Powell, and until very recently I was the BBC's gaming correspondent. Before that I looked after gaming on Radio 1.
A lovely woman called Lisa from Children In Need got in touch with me a while ago and said, ‘Look, games speak to such a brilliant and big and diverse audience across the UK, and we've got these amazing charities Children In Need supports that use gaming to make their lives better.
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They help them access their friends or to help them deal with mental health issues or whatever problems that could go on in their lives, and they can find solutions through gaming.
We help fund them and we're not talking enough about it. I think we should do something where we talk about the power of gaming.’
I don't think this happens very often, games culture in the UK is obviously super important to loads of people but very rarely do we bring all of the different bits of gaming culture together.
While at the same time recognising how brilliant they can be to help people who are struggling and then also in keep helping them raise some cash. So that's where the idea came from.
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I think it's not only a very unique thing, but also it's a brilliant thing to say, ‘Look how cool games are, look at the good they can do, let's raise some more cash to make sure they can keep doing it.’
And that in a nutshell is what Game On is.
GLHF: You spoke a lot about how you think gaming has a broad reach and it can do a lot of good.
So aside from the fundraising aspect of Children In Need, what else do you think people will get out of it?
SP: I think there's a couple of things. It can bring gamers together because we're talking about not just the games we are featuring on the night, but it's a real love letter to games.
We're going to be talking about all different types of games, all different types of genres and getting into the nitty gritty about people's favourite games and why it's their favourite games.
By being on prime real estate, Friday night television, seven o'clock, you can't get many bigger TV slots than that.
It does two things. One, it says to the wider culture [that] gaming is absolutely a valid part and an important part of modern British culture, just like movies, just like TV, just like music.
It’s just as important, and we are reflecting that by putting this show not just online, but by saying ‘Bang, look at this. This is on telly, this is so important.”
I think that will give people who play games and spend their time in games, space for relatives to think that this is something that is just as important, a part of day to day life, just as with any of the cultural media that you go and do and enjoy.
But if your cousin or your mate or your mam and your dad or your grandparents are a bit unsure as to why you play Fortnite, then hopefully they'll see the show, see the energy, see the passion, see the fun, see the good that games can do as well as how exciting and interesting they are to play.
Not only is it cool, but my goodness does it help some people, loads of people who are sometimes in dark places, and games can be their way out.
To help raise money for those places I think is a cool opportunity for us to do and have a real laugh as we go.
GLHF: There's going to be a number of guests on the show.
I was wondering if you could talk a bit about some of those guests and why you pick those specific people.
SP: There are tens of people throughout the show.
Not only, people coming in to play specific games, we've got streamers who are going to be in the studio, streaming away as we're on as well, which is great. TikTok is coming down and bringing some of their content creators, loads of content creators.
But I will focus on three [guests] for you because these three and especially what they are doing is making me laugh, just thinking about it.
So we've got Harry Pinero, Yung Filly and Elz the witch racing F1 together.
I've worked with Elz before, she's been a guest on my podcast Press X a few times and she's brilliant, but she would be the first to tell you that Final Fantasy 7 is her favourite game. It ain't Formula One.
So goodness knows what's going to happen. And when you get those three racing against each other, that's going to be really real fun.
And then football fans will know of the strongest man in FIFA.
Bayo Akinfenwa who used to be [the best] when FIFA was still called FIFA. He has been a big lover of gaming for years and he's coming down as well.
So there's loads of people, too many to name, but I will say I pick those four out to say we'll have some fun with them.
GLHF: Are there any other games that you can tease to us about what's going to show up?
SP: Yeah, of course. Like I said, the whole idea of the show was that it reflects the broad nature of games culture, that it's not just a show about one game.
We're going to be reflecting and discussing all sorts of games from Mario Kart to Call of Duty and everything in between.
But we are focusing on three games in particular. So the first is Formula One, because people love racing games and because even if you're bad at racing games, they're fun.
Also some of the rigs that people can get into and the realism is really fun.
Just Dance we're focusing on as well. And I’ll let you in on a secret. I desperately hope they don't ask me to join in, it's hard work.
Then there's a brilliant mixed reality game called Hado, which not many people have heard about, but it's really fun.
It's sort of like a VR/AR Dodgeball title because it's nice to have a variety of stuff that we're trying.
Those are the three, we're going to be focusing on, on the night. But we will be discussing the whole gamut of games because that's what the night is. It's a love letter to why games are so cool.
GLHF: What games are you playing at the moment?
SP: What a year 2023 has been. I think there have been too many games, there have been too many.
Let's go through it. It's Hogwarts, Zelda, Final Fantasy, Baldur's Gate 3, Cyberpunk, Starfield, that’s my answer, by the way, and Assassin's Creed Mirage. I'm forgetting stuff.
I am very excited for the new Iteration of Warzone because that was the game that got me through lockdown.
So I'm excited for what is to come. I have been enjoying Starfield as a game that I use as a sort of meditative experience.
I log on, and I just drift in space. I'm not following the story too closely at the moment.
I've got a 19-month-old and another baby on the way. So I'm just trying to find a gaming balance that suits me.
And I'm not too sure that a 100-hour epic like Starfield is necessarily it, but I am enjoying it just going and spending time in the galaxy that Todd Howard and Bethesda created.
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Game On will be broadcast live on BBC Three and BBC iPlayer on Friday, November 10, 2023, at 7pm.
Written by Georgina Young on behalf of GLHF.
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