Actually no, let’s call him 'Mr X'
Mr X was the coolest of them all. He's the one who got me into most of the things I do now. It was he who bought all the consoles, the Megadrive, the Saturn, the Dreamcast, Xbox and Gamecube. Everyone looked up to Mr X. Not just because he was the 2nd oldest out of all of us, but also because he made cool of the things that would typically be referred to as nerdy.
I admired him so much, that I preferred watching him play games as opposed to playing with him. The moments I spent observing him play as a kid are shockingly some of the best experiences I’ve had as a gamer. I remember watching him play Street Fighter games on the hardest difficulty setting, struggling to beat the last bosses and emitting a shout of satisfaction when he won. He used to stand up while playing harder opponents. He said it helped him concentrate. No doubt I started doing that when I started playing fighters myself. I watched him play through games like Guardian Heroes, Resident Evil, Final Fantasy 6, StarCraft and Shenmue. I even willingly witnessed him grind through Diablo 2, sometimes helping him by pointing out missed treasure chests or gold.
During these joyful times, I was indeed playing games myself when Mr. X was at work, but upon his return home every evening, I always got excited and ran to his room to see what he would do. If he went on his computer it either meant he was going to load an emulator, play StarCraft, or load Macromedia Flash or Photoshop and do work, in which cases I would get upset and go back to my room, maybe to do some drawings and then show him so he could praise my improvements or give constructive criticism. People say that school days are the best days of your life. I agree with this fully since they were for me, but not so much because of school itself, but because of the awesome times I had when I would get home. Nobody in school knew as much about games as I did. And if they did, all they would know is Crash Bandicoot and GTA. I went to a school where if you mentioned Sonic or played Final Fantasy or spoke about games for more than 5 minutes at a time, you were considered a Neek. (pretty much an old slang equivalent to: Nerd but feels a lot like being called a loser at the same time) Getting into fights, being excluded or being the kid who smokes and brings the knife to school is what was considered praiseworthy. You can imagine how good it felt to be with a bunch of brothers who blew that narrow-minded way of thinking out of the water with the dolphins.
So, I carried on watching my brother play games, picking up more gaming mannerisms from him such as exploring every corner and edge of the map in an RPG and observing his use of shortcuts and micromanagement while playing Warcraft 3.
As time eased on, naturally, things changed. Mr. X graduated from University with flying colors and swiftly decided to pursue an M.A in Digital Games.
Now’s a good time to mention that I live in London and Liverpool isn’t a bus ride away.
I was gutted. Not only him, but slowly all my brothers had begun to migrate from the nest, for studies, change of environment, needing the space, etc. One of them went to prison around that time and another was kicked out of home. (Im going into debatably necessary detail to paint a picture.) All of a sudden, it was just me, my mother, and my younger brother who was still at crawling age living at home.
Life took a U-turn. Like one of those hairpin turns in Sega Rally, except in this instance the game commentator didn’t warn the driver as he usually did.
Thankfully, Mr. X left the Dreamcast and his computer for me to jive around with. I'd never compare the slight depression I went through with the likes of Chaotical's Monthly musing for example, but it was hard getting used to a house that was once full of fun and life to be stripped down to its bones. I no longer had brothers nearby to ask for advice and I had nobody to observe and learn from anymore. My younger brother was too young and my mother was an old school, old generation african woman, who typically didn't show the same kind of affection to her children as other parents may do. There was also a culture and understanding gap between us, so I never got along with her. There are those who are single children, with no siblings at all, and I understand being alone is something they have always faced. But it's kinda like the beef between Naruto & Sasuke. Naruto was alone from birth but Sasuke had his family taken from him, so that makes it much worse.
In this period of feeling alone, I became the gamer I am now. I played every single game I had watched my brother play and then some. Slowly, my love for storytelling blossomed as I played RPGs. My strategic cherry was popped through playing StarCraft. Tougher I became, venturing into beat 'em up games. Aiming and shooting was burned into muscle memory thanks to the FPSs. I couldn't wait till I next met Mr. X to show him how much smarter and better at games I had become.
People are different and thus handle things differently. I was slightly more emotional back then when compared to now so it was a very hurt filled time period, but the games is what kept that connection between me and my brother. He might not have been there physically to play 40 matches of Soul Calibur with me anymore (and win 39 of them) yet I still felt like I was playing with him --maybe because it was his console.
For certain though, the games gave me a serum that helped me cope with learning how to rely on myself and not to get used to having people around me.
If the games were not there, there are many other routes I could have walked down.