There have been many reports of gamer violence and aggression online. Anonymous folks slinging curse words and kindling flame wars with hateful spite. This is not one of those stories. This is a story of gamer kindness.
A long long time ago, last spring I believe it was, I was writing for a small Nintendo-based site called 3DSBuzz.com. It wasn’t the most popular or high paying writing job in video game journalism (feel free to give me a call Kotaku), but it was a fun little gig and I got to write about Nintendo. I posted a few of my articles here and there in the SpeakUp forum (may it rest in peace) and got some really good feedback from some of the Kotaku regulars such as TruthTella, FortWaba, and Balmung the Apostle Hunter. Balmung wrote for a site called Trendy Gamers, but he was less than excited that he wasn’t getting paid. He wanted that sweet four dollars an article I was pulling in. I told him he should come write for 3DSBuzz and that I would put in a good word for him. After a quick email to my boss he was hired and we began communicating even more. We would shoot the breeze, bounce article ideas off each other and talk about games we were looking forward to.
It’s always nice to meet gamers who have so much love for gaming as a whole. There were many in the SpeakUp forum before the great redesign. When I weaseled my way into E3 last summer I knew Balmung really wanted to go, but didn’t have the chance or the funds. All he really wanted, aside from playing all the unreleased games, was a Persona 4 Arena shirt that was being given away for free at the Atlus booth. I figured I may as well wait in line for one, since he couldn’t make it. I manage to snag one along with some other great E3 swag which I sent his way when I returned home to Indiana. Why not? It’s fun to be nice, even to those you don’t know in person.
I still keep in touch with Balmung (who I call by his actual name) and talk with him often. I've had a pretty hectic couple of weeks this month as my wife and I have moved into our first house and this Tuesday I received a package in the mail. Inside was a letter that said:
Happy kinda late housewarming! [My girlfriend] and I hope you have been enjoying your new house. These aren’t really housewarming gifts, but hopefully you enjoy the game and [your wife] enjoys the gift card!
[Balmung and his girlfriend]
The letter was attached to a copy of Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon and a hefty StarBucks gift card (see above). I was blown away. I mean sending me an extra code for a BETA or something, sure. But sending me a full retail game, that he knew I'd been dying (pun intended) to play? Amazing. Not to mention the fact that he got something for my wife, who he has never met or even talked to in any way, shape or form...
I’m sure I’ll be sending Balmung a nice housewarming gift when he gets to that point in his life, but until then it’s just nice to know that there are gamers out there with such kind hearts and that one of them is my friend.