As a few of you will have no doubt noticed, three weeks ago my Granddad passed away. He’d been ill for a long time, and we knew we didn’t have long left, but as anyone who has lost someone will attest, that hardly makes it easier.
I’ve spent the last week or so trying to work out how best to write this post, but the words just won’t come. No matter how much time I spent planning; thinking, it’s never going to be worthy of the grandfather we’ve lost. So instead of spending hours; weeks drafting and editing, I’m just going to type.
Over the last two weeks I’ve spent some time thinking about the good times. Times when my only concern was what type of ice lolly to have when Granddad took us to watch the trains, or how close I’d let the Gee-Gee (Horses) get before I asked (sobbed until) my Granddad to get me the heck out of there.
One memory that persists to this day, almost 25 years later is the time he pulled out his old plug-in-and-play games machine. It was a ‘Binatone Colour TV Game MK 6’; (because branding), and it was the first electronic video game I’d played. Before my time with Nintendo or even Sega, there was Binatone.
The system itself was fairly rudimentary, it was black and white and only seemed to be able to play variations of white-bars-hitting-ball type games. It was a Pong machine.
I didn’t much mind that the console was limited to ‘just pong’ however, because for the hour or two we’d play together each weekend I was learning skills that I keep with me today. Granddad didn’t know it, but he was introducing me to something that would fill my life with joy and happiness. He was gifting me something that would allow me to escape in my darkest times, to learn and experience differing things and to improve as a person.
My Granddad wasn’t a gamer, but he is the reason I became one. He’s the reason I spend so much of my time playing and enjoying video games. He’s the reason I think games as a medium can be so powerful. And he’s the reason I’m writing this right now.
So to my Granddad I’d like to say thank you. Thanks for being a truly incredible Grandfather. Thanks for looking after me, telling me stories of your youth and making me the best pies I’ve ever (to this day) eaten. But mostly, thanks for introducing me to a hobby that’ll last a lifetime. A hobby that I hope one day to pass down to my own grandchildren.
We love you. And you’ll be in our hearts forever. Goodnight Granddad.