I haven’t been updating here much. I moved to Vegas, settled down, and on January 22, 2008, my Father was diagnosed with Stage IV pancreatic cancer. We thought we had at least a year, but the cancer was too advanced, and he lost his battle of February 26. About a month ago. My mind is still reeling from the loss as he was my best friend.

I wanted to at least keep this related to my blog’s subject, and with my Dad, I can. You see, my Dad was a big gamer. He was playing games on his DS and PS2 well into this year. But he was always a gamer.

When I was little, the family got an Atari 2600 for Christmas. It was not uncommon for my Dad to go out and buy a slew of games, as he enjoyed playing things like Starmaster, Robot Tank, and Adventure. It was not uncommon for the family to have to take turns in a gaming roster. And of course, Dad would always play with me.

We had other systems, but the time came for the 8-Bit era. Having a NES and a Sega Master System, Dad was never good at games like Super Mario Bros., and Legend of Zelda, but he liked watching me play. Asking about characters and the story. He still played games, of course. He became a big RPG player: Dragon Warrior, Final Fantasy, and especially Phantasy Star. He’d keep up with every RPG coming out, and there were so many trips to Babbage’s, where we’d just look together while my Mom and sister shopped.

Gaming actually won him a teaching award. He was a government/political science teacher at our local college, and he decided to implement kid’s interest in video gaming with the policies of state/local government. This came in the form of Sim City for the SNES. The family got sent out to Washington DC so Dad could be the recipient of a “Teacher of the Year” award for his innovative program.

As games got newer, and more complex, he stopped playing as much, until he realized that old games were still around. He bought a Playstation and Game Boy Advance, and would play games there, until he upgraded to the PS2 and DS. Every birthday and Christmas, I’d buy him a new game, and it was a common thing to have to send him a strategy guide or answer questions over e-mail. He was playing Dragon Quest VIII for the longest time.

This last Christmas, I helped him realize something he always wanted to do: Play a Zelda game. He was never good at them, but he loved watching Link run around on his latest adventure. So I got him The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass so that he could, for the first time, embark on and adventure in Hyrule.

He never finished the title. The cancer struck so fast. I had gotten him Lionel Trains: On Track for the DS, as he loved model trains, and was too sick to play with his set anymore. But he told me, that one of his most favorite shared memories with me, was just sitting on my bed, and watching me play games, as we got to spend time together and talk. And we played a lot of games together.

My Dad was my best friend, and a very sweet man whose child-like enthusiasm will be dearly missed. When I still play games (it’s the only thing that I can really focus on these days), there’s a sense of bittersweet fondness in remembering what really made gaming so special to me in the first place: Not graphics, or controls, or music, or stories, it was all of these memories of doing something so enjoyable with my Dad.

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