A few days ago I read a touching article about fellow gamer, Mats ‘Ibelin’ Steen.
Mats was a Norwegian born gamer who had Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), a rare disorder that causes muscle degeneration. Instead of allowing this disorder to define who he was and confine him to his wheelchair, he took to gaming and defined himself in his World of Warcraft character Ibelin, where for years he would have a positive impact on his fellow gamers.
Mats eventually died from DMD in 2014, however, as a testament to his good character and Ibelin, many within Azeroth (the name of the world in which World of Warcraft is set) mourned his death and even attended his funeral, in person.
If you have access to the BBC UK website you can read about Mats here, but be warned, it’s a touching read.
Years ago, during towards the end of the World of Warcraft expansion, the Burning Crusade, a highly liked member of the guild I was in died and I must confess it affected me more than I thought it would. Unlike Mats I do not have DMD but I use gaming to escape the world in which we live and re-invent myself in the games that I play. It was hard for me to accept that death still needed to be a part of my escapism and I suppose this is one reason why I usually game alone.
I recently joined a guild called Midlife Crisis within World of Warcraft and I have always held them in high esteem. It has been great, for a change, to get to know people who have a passion for the same game as me and perhaps gaming in general. While at this present time the game does not interest me as much, I really hope my fellow guild members of Midlife Crisis know that I think they’re amazing and I hope in future they’re still around when I have my next stint of World of Warcraft. After reading about Mats I will post on the Midlife Crisis blog, just to let them know my intentions and give them ways to reach out to me. While I am currently bored of World of Warcraft, I am by no means bored of them.
Reading about Mats’ story, I am reminded of just how powerful gaming can be. What shall I tell my colleagues about my weekend when I go back to work tomorrow? Shall I tell them, as usual, that I did not get up to much and just had a chilled weekend? Or shall I tell them I saved the earth from Diablo and his hordes of minions?
When I die, I would have not climbed Everest, I would not have won an Olympic gold medal or scored the goal which won the world cup. I would have however slain dragons, saved he world from alien invasions, commanded space faring civilisations and lived though the greatest stories ever told, that’s enough for me.