Chapter 70: “Relapse Into Gaming”
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No, my life was consumed by something far more powerful: the desire to play video games. My gaming habits had diminished since the Gamecube had run its course and I found myself playing fewer video games. But as we all know, Kyle and I played so much Smash Bros. that my Hype Train began a-chuggin’.
Not only did Kyle introduce me to the gaming website IGN during our Fall 2006 semester together (I had used Gamespot previously), but now I was on that site endlessly re-watching coverage of Nintendo’s new gaming console: The Wii. In particular, the E3 announcement trailer of Super Smash Bros. Brawl
Holy Shit that looked amazing. And fucking Solid SNAKE!!! I knew I had to procure the new system later that year.
I thought my gaming days were numbered because my television viewing was down significantly and both mediums had been tainted from the innumerable hours spent wasted while stuck in the hospital. But it was Brawl that piqued my interest and decided my fate.
It was a cold October morning. I got up extra early to get in line for the Wii preorder. I skipped class (how telling) and sped to the Gamestop in the Bangor Mall.
When I arrived, there weren’t any lines at the door. I’m the first?! Just then, an old couple casually opened the door and walked inside. I followed and saw that the mall was apparently a warm and quiet respite for elderly folk that wanted to get exercise. Well, not on this day, because there was already a crowd around the metal gate directly in front of the Gamestop. The worker inside told me that they only had so many preorders and suggested I go check out the other Gamestop half-a-mile away.
I peeled out of the parking lot and followed the worker’s instructions. I arrived at the individual storefront and got in line. I was in eighth place and it was only 7:20. I only had to wait outside for an hour and a half before (hopefully) a preorder was mine. I soon found out that the store opened an hour later and that they only had eight preorders available. Luckily for the ninth person in line aka me, two folks ahead were together and only planned on buying one console. We continued to freeze as temperatures slowly rose from the brisk thirty-eight degrees when I had arrived.
I put the required fifty down for the console and over the course of the remaining six weeks used the preorder process like a layaway system, trading in games and old consoles towards the purchase price. Thankfully, Gamestop would occasionally offer bonus trade-in dollars for bringing 3 or more games at once or if you put it toward the Wii.
When it was all said and done, I had enough store credit to pay for the system and The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. Upon the system’s release, I picked those up along with Elebits and Excite Truck.
But the biggest game-changer in our apartment – and countless others’ – was a little game called Wii Sports, the pack-in game. This game and its system took our lives by storm.
We played every night. It became a staple at all of our parties. We’d chug beers (except me) and play while blasting party music all night. Wii Bowling was the standout in the five-game collection.
Over the next few months, I played a handful of games: the aforementioned Excite Truck (with custom soundtrack), Wario Ware Smooth Moves, Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, and more.
Of course, we still played myriad hours of Smash Melee in preparation for Brawl. The creator of Smash Bros., Masahiro Sakurai even began a series where he would share a new feature, character or photo from the upcoming fighter and would release it at 3-5 PM Tokyo time. So that meant me waking up every morning at 5am Monday to Friday to see the new tidbit of information that Sakurai would release on his website.
It was an amazing time to be alive for me as a gamer. I became the conductor of the “Hype Train” in my friends’ circle and created my dream roster, imagined what stages they would create new for the game and which would make a return from the old games. I hopped on message boards and joined the conversation. I ripped out the character profiles from every month of Nintendo Power and plastered them on my wall like a Playboy pin-up of the month. It was exhausting.
This reinvigorated gaming obsession quickly ate into my already limited income and my credit card could only take so much before it reached its limit and I was already buying games that I wasn’t playing. I needed to either get a better paying job or stop buying games…
This is an ongoing story of my personal battle with Cancer. My hope is that it helps others who are currently experiencing their own battles (whether it be for themselves or a loved one) or to help with early detection.
The way I’m doing it is terrifying for a writer. I’m writing a publically available first-draft outline for an eventual book, chapter by chapter in weekly form. The only reason I’m doing it this way is to get the story out as soon as possible for someone out there who needs a survivor to visit them during their own treatment. If you’re reading this and need someone to talk to, tweet at me and I’ll give you a call. No questions asked. This story is for you and I’ll help any way that I can.
Stay tuned, as I will be posting a new chapter every Monday until the story is complete.
And remember if you experience any Anemic symptoms– get checked for Leukemia as well.