Playing With Others: Cancer, relief and brotherly bonding


[Editor's note: eternalplayer2345 shares with us a very touching story about gaming with his brother for his Monthly Musing piece. -- CTZ]

To start off, I’m not entirely sure what inspired me to blog about this. I think it has something to do with the atmosphere of Dtoid. Sure we are sarcastic and love to party, but we also have a subtle pang of seriousness that I feel all other communities tend to lack. I guess the thing that made me start actually writing this was Sterling’s list of spectator games. I also notice that this month’s theme fit it perfectly. It had always been my intention to tell this story somehow and now I finally have the opportunity.

I have been playing videogames my entire life. I’m even told stories of me trying to play the Genesis when I was just a toddler so apparently it started before I can remember. My gaming childhood was nothing special, started on the SNES and I loved every minute of it. However, It was most exciting when I was eight-years-old and I got a baby brother. I could not wait to introduce him to everything there was to know about gaming the “Big Brother” way.

Unfortunately, while still a toddler my brother developed a terminal disease. This changed things greatly for me. I will spare all the emotional stuff but suffice to say, I eventually discovered something in those first few months. I don’t know how it happened, but I started to play games for him. I would just play and he would watch, I could tell it helped to take his mind off of things. I keep playing and I pretty much spent my days doing nothing but playing games in front of him. He was bedridden most of the time so it gave me the perfect opportunity. I was even home schooled then so I could devote all my time to him.

I spent up to six hours or more a day playing games all because I was spurred on by him. I played every game imaginable or at least that I could get my hands on. From 8-bit to PS2, I played it all to make him happy. He did play games by himself sometimes but he never got far or was forced to play those easy kiddy games that even he didn’t really enjoy playing. Every chance I got I would be in front him playing games and he would just watch contently or start to comment. He would try to tell me what to do and get mad when I would lose. I hated to see him get mad at something and it forced me to try and conquer any game.

The game console I played the most for him was the GameCube. Our family wasn’t wealthy or anything but we spared no expense in buying games that he could play or watch me play. I think last count we had like seventy GameCube titles alone! Besides obvious first party games, we bought a ton of licensed games that he loved. Scooby-Doo was one of the licensed game of played the most for him.

I played so much that we broke three GameCubes because of constant use. I still have those three broken systems as a keepsake.

I was not always playing, sometimes he would take the helm. One game that will always stick out in the front of my mind was a little-known PS2 game by the name of Dinosaur Hunting. Like most small boys, he loved dinosaurs and this game was the holy grail for him. The game was a first person light gun game. Hours on end he would play that game, it was short and took about three hours to beat so I alone probably saw him beat it twenty or more times.

Another perpetual favorite of his was the little-known Sonic spin-off arcade game Flicky. Included in Mega Collection, this game put you in the place of the little birdies you saved many times before in the Sonic games. It was basically consisted of running through a looping maze and getting all five smaller birdies into the door (think Sonic 3D Blast but 2D!). He would play that game for hours on end and since like most arcade games, it never really ended. I still can to this day hear the tune that plays during every stage run through my head whenever I think of it.

Mario, Sonic, Scooby-Doo, and the list goes on and on of games that I played. I have to say though, out of all the games I played for him my favorite were ones we could agree on.  loved most games, but you know the feeling when you get a new game and you want to do nothing but play it? I would sometimes be able to get him addicted to watching me play a game that I loved and those were the absolute best times.

One example of those games that clicked was none other than the legendary Zelda: Ocarina of Time. OoT was an absolute treat. It was one of those games I started off playing while he would be asleep because at first he hated watching me play it. At some point, he could not get enough of it! There I was in 2005; finally experiencing what was hailed as one of the best games of all time.

Not only was it my first time playing it was my first time getting really far in a Zelda game. The absolute best part of playing this masterpiece was just having to play it. Even when I wanted a break or got frustratingly stuck he got so enthralled by watching my journey through Hyrule that I absolutely HAD to keep at it (if I didn’t, he would be irate with me). I was able to eventually beat Ganon and save the day. I never really thought about it but this must have been one of the most satisfying endings for me ever. Getting to go through OOT with him watching my every move was something that transcended gameplay and story.

There are many more times like this but I don’t have the time and I doubt most of you have the attention span. I would say that even though my brother is gone, it will still feel like every time I play he is watching like a little voice behind me saying “you’re doing it wrong” or laughing at a cute creature I encounter. Maybe I game to recall some kind of connection, I’m not entirely sure.

I’m sure my story isn’t unique in fact the evidence of something like Child’s Play proves this. I hope that that amazing charity never slows down. I know personally how much one game can do to an ill child and it can change lives. I do however, consider my story special. I hope that I was able to show you what gaming can be truly capable of, it can be more than just entertainment. It can strengthen a bond, relieve mental and physical pain and even change lives. I am intensely proud that I was able to game for my brother. I can do nothing but balk at gaming's naysayers because I'm sure they would never understand what a deep connection gaming can forge.

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eternalplayer2345   gamer profile



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