Great article, John. I had only brief glimpses of cancer in my family. Thankfully, they were treatable for my father and mother. It's great that you had your wife and friends there to help.
That was a great article, I don't think there is a much stronger case for 'games as therapy'. I admire your courage in writing about something so incredibly personal.
I'm sorry for your loss, I know how it feels to lose a loved one to a fatal disease (in my case, my grandfather died of heart disease). As for the gaming as a method of coping, I feel that its a great statement of to each his own. My coping mechanism for example is reading childhood favorite books or writing movie reviews for my school newspaper (though I have never had to cope with such things as you).
Really, thank you for writing such a piece on the escapist, Mr Carr. I know that, if I were ever in a situation like that with just one of my parents, I would have had no way of dealing with it. You have some truly remarkable strength, and everyone on the Escapist gives their condolences.
Also, someone should have a word with Michael Atkinson.
I never though of the zombie metaphor, although I've seen someone suffer from cancer first hand. It is like being a zombie now that I think of it.
Great article, but really fucking sad.
My mother was involved in a car accident when i was around six. A man ran a red light and hit her and my sister whilst they were on their way to swimming training. My sister walked away from the crash. My mother wound up in a hospice with a tube in her throat to help her breath, unable to speak, unable to move. I can think of no greater horror then being stuck in my own body, day and night, unable to speak my mind or even drink a glass of water.
When my father told me, i was too young to understand. As he tried to cope with his daughter and wife in hosptial, i was sent to a lot of friend's places to stay, to give him time to deal with what had occured. It was at this time that the teenage son of my dad's friend showed me Commander Keen on his PC.
I was hooked. Day in and out i played that game. Then i finally had to go home, when my dad managed to sort himself out. Somehow someone got me a Nintendo. Again, day in and day out, i played and played, games like Super Mario Brothers and Legend of Zelda.
When i managed to get my first Playstation was when i started to help my dad out more around the house. He taught me to cook simple meals for him, myself and my sister when i was eleven, as well as wash his clothes and keep the house reletively clean. All the while, my Playstation was there, with Lara Croft and Crash Bandicoot keeping me company when he was working late, which was more often then not.
As soon as someone thrust a controller into my hand, i was away from the world. My endless chores melted into nothing, video-games lending me worlds of fantasy and wonder where i could decide fate. Where i could decide who lived or died. Where i could escape from the un-ignorable truth - that my mother was never coming home.
I still remember one day, when i innocently asked when mum was coming home. My father yelled that she was never coming home, and that i will have to get used to it. I believe that was when Duke Nukem 3D first came out. I used to play on my dad's PC for hours. It used to drive him nuts.
Eventually he got me my own PC, some shitty hand-me-down - and then i could play whenever i wanted. I even began to write stories on it. Soon my escapism evolved into two categories - writing and gaming.
Was gaming cathartic? Perhaps. Did it help me deal with my problems? Not really. Did it help me forget my troubles, even if they were subconscious, even if it was only for an hour or two?
The Rogue Wolf:
I don't think there can be a much stronger argument for the "games as therapy" case than this, right here. Thanks, John. I can't imagine it was easy for you to write this, but I hope it helped.
This. Totally agreed. The article you wrote was beautiful John. You did a damn good job describing "games as therapy."
Good Luck man.
Horror movies may give us monsters as a way to help us confront our worst fears, but horror games go a step further: They let us put our monsters in the crosshairs and pull the trigger. John Carr recounts his experience playing Left 4 Dead to cope with his parents' cancer.
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My condolences this is one of the few things in the last couple years that has brought me to tears. I wish you the best, Mr Carr.
That was really touching. Thanks for that John. This article will be on my mind for a couple of days methinks. Kudos to you.
Writing about personal loss for sympathy is kinda shoddy journalism...which is why I'm glad that's not what this is at all. =)
There was this whole talk at TED about how games can save the world; how this entire civilization before the Greeks managed to survive through this ludicrous famine by distracting themselves with a dice game made from small bones. How even today, we play games to show we can solve problems no matter how big. Sure, I think we can all agree it's escapism in a way, but if people feel better about it, who's to argue?
And yeah, it seems obvious you've been through a lot more than most of us have. I know I'd be really reluctant to write about something so personal.
For people interested: http://www.ted.com/talks/jane_mcgonigal_gaming_can_make_a_better_world.html
This is highly interesting talk and like Mr. Katana said deeply related to this here article in a way. Watch it, it's worth it.
OT: Have to agree with everone here. Johns article isn't only very touching but also very relevant. Despite not everyone here having suffered from such great loss as him i am sure many of us can relate to the act of playing some game (or playing games in general) to get through some kind of hardship. I sure as hell can.
Really brave article man, thank you for writing! No matter what people say, escapism is always necessary at some point.
I'd like to thank everyone for the kind words; they are truly appreciated. To all of you who have suffered your own losses, you have my sympathy as well.
Writing about personal loss for sympathy is kinda shoddy journalism ... which is why I'm glad that's not what this is at all.
I couldn't agree more, and I'm very happy to hear that you didn't think it came off this way. One of my biggest fears while I was writing this was that it would come off as a sob story with nothing relevant or interesting to say.
Powerful, meaningful and enlightening.
Hey come on, John! Now you're making me look heartless by only taking part of the quote...
It's ok. I really am heartless. (Continues reading A Modest Proposal)
hell of a read. touching, meaningful, and something that was genuinely unique among video game journalism. i love the escapist.
Thank you for sharing your story, John. So very touching.
Very good piece, John. I pray that writing this was some good therapy. Best of luck to you =)
Wow, that was very moving and very, very well written.
Hey man, well done. I'm truly sorry, that is awful. Cancer is cruel.
You have my condolences. Touching story.
My grandfather has been suffering from parkinsons for the past several years, so, unfortunately, I know what its like to see someone you knew slowly fade away, made worse by the fact that, in his case, he is still "there", just nearly unable to express it.
that was unexpected for a zombie infection article. never did think about the emotional implacations like that
Brilliant. That was personal, but not overly emotional or sentimental. What a piece.