Hey all! Sorry I’ve been absent for a while. I had some rather important personal things to take care of and then I was waiting to think up an important article to return with. I think I’ve got a good one. It’s personal and a bit rambling, but I think it’s worth writing.
Here we go.
A couple of weeks ago I was hanging out with Eric Lappe (from Let’s Get!) at his house. I had just picked up a Retron 5 and we were trying out some games on his unit, seeing what worked and streaming the whole process. After some oddly difficult attempts to get some Sega Genesis games going, we switched to a pile of Famicom games Eric had picked up. As we figured out what some of the games were and how playable they are with only a basic understanding (well, no understanding on my part,) of Japanese, thoughts of our friend Justin Carmical, more commonly known as JewWario, Flooded into my mind. I wasn’t surprised; I’m a pretty sentimental person and Justin hasn’t been gone from us for too long. Eric and I were enjoying some import games we knew he liked from one of his favorite systems. It just felt right to mentally give a nod to the man.
Over the next few days, thoughts of Justin popped in and out of my head and I felt conflicted. The thoughts and memories that came to me were often happy and nostalgic but sometimes there were more wistful and melancholic. I wasn’t upset to remember things, but I just couldn’t figure out why I kept fixating on him. I was going through the loose carts in my collection when it hit me: I can never play a physical Famicom cart again without Justin coming back to me. He is just too closely aligned to the plucky Japanese machine in my brain. The floaty thought bubbles labeled FAMICOM and JUSTIN are superglued together.
At first I wasn’t sure how to process this, but instead of getting all heated or overly emotional, I sat down on the couch and just zoned out for bit, shutting my brain off. When I switched it back on and snapped back just one word came to mind: Bittersweet.
I wasn’t confused anymore. I was thankful. Thankful that someone who I really liked and admired could always come back to me in a sense whenever I am enjoying my favorite hobby. I worry about remembering people in detail sometimes because my memory isn’t always the greatest, but now I know I’ll never have to worry about that with Justin. As long as games like Boku Dracula Kun and Wai Wai World exist, I can think of my friend.
This whole experience got me thinking of the greater gaming community, how this mixed up cauldron of geekery imprints on our lives. I know the different factions don’t always mix well, like dialects within a common language, but I think we all need to take a step back sometimes and observe how wonderfully fortunate we are to be able to follow and connect with each other so easily. So many of us leave strong impressions on each other that change the way we think, feel, and act in ways we don’t even realize. The gaming community may not always feel solid. Yes we bicker and argue all the time, but that doesn’t outweigh the potential for growth, friendship, and comradery. When we band together for a common goal, we can do amazing things. Just look at the Childs Play charity. That’s impressive.
I know some people are hesitant to try to build significant friendships through the internet and that there is a still a little bit of a social stigma separating online relationships from real world ones, but I’ve always thought this was bogus. A connection is a connection and if you think it has value it should be pursued. The stupid thing is that friendships from a distance have been around for ages. No one sneers at pen pals, so why should you care if you communicate with a keyboard and mouse? The two really aren’t that different. Besides, if you are comfortable enough, you can eventually meet up with someone in real life. A great place for this is a convnetion where both parties can introduce each other to a larger group of people. That’s how I know most of the Retroware crew.
As I finish typing this up with a pile of Hi-Chews and Pocky at my side I just want to stress, don’t be afraid to try and connect with people in your nerdy communities, whether it’s Twitter, Facebook, Tumbler, and… alright, I guess maybe 4-chan is ok in some context or another. You never know whom you could befriend or how your little comments can enlighten someone else. I wouldn’t be a regular here if I hadn’t sent in some old writing samples to the boys at the top, and I would never have had the chance to make some good friends over ramen if I hadn’t offered to lend an import Saturn game to a man in a yellow hat a couple months before that.
Peace out guys. Be beautiful.