247: The Infected

John Carr

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Oct 16, 2008
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The Infected

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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The Rogue Wolf

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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.
 

Darth Caelum

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Wow......that is......definitely different than most Articles i have read in my time with The Escapist.
......Nope, can't think of anything else to say.
 

InvisibleSeal

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That must have been difficult to write, and it was more moving than, I think, anything I've ever read on here.

I'm very glad you let us all experience this article, and I hoped it provided you at least a little release from your pain.
 

Tonimata

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Stunning. I have to add, I feel for this guy. My mum has got cancer, though thankfully not terminal. The days until the results came were absolutely dreadful, and I can't imagine how he must've felt when he was told the worst.
 

Remzer

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Thank you for sharing this with us here. Hope it helped you in the process.

I agree with the other posters in general : this was probably the most touching and moving article I've read on the Escapist thus far...
 

ma55ter_fett

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I'm actually tearing up man, I am so increadbly sorry for your loss.

Games really are excellent therapy.
 

Thor Doomhammer

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Let the doubters of the value of videogames as a constructive output read that then try to push their agenda. A wonderfully written piece.
 

RabidusUnus

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I haven't lost any family to diseases, but my grandfather is living on borrowed time, and I know exactly how you feel. One of the main reasons I haven't jsut broken down is because I can spend some time every day not thinking.

Games for therapy is definitely true, and I'm sorry for your loss.
 

paketep

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I feel for your losses, John.

Outstanding article. I hope that putting all that there gave you some comfort and liberation.
 

Wakefield

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How horrible, thank you for sharing. I feel for you and I agree with the games are therapy statements being made in this article and thread.
 

Random Argument Man

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I had a tear jerking me in the eyes at each page.

You just gave me a great example of game therapy. I wonder if I could use that in my futur teaching job.

Thank you John. You've inspired me.
 

yourbeliefs

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Provocative article. My mother fought against breast cancer for nearly a decade and at the final 4 months she really did start losing her facilities. Her liver was failing miserably and when she stopped taking medication her condition went on a nose dive. She would forget things in mid conversation (making numerous conversations feel like really dark renditions of the Swamp King and the Two Guards scene from "Holy Grail") and then she stopped speaking completely.

Eventually she really went into a "zombie" mode. Weird lesions started growing on her body (likely from her body being unable to properly filter things), her skin was pale, she lost most of her hair, she slept constantly, and then would often moan, groan, and cry as opposed to actual speaking. She lost full control of everything and really ceased to be a human being.

She eventually passed on Memorial Day of 2008. I obviously mourn her loss, and especially more now as I have since then gotten married and had a child, and I know she was really looking forward to becoming a grandmother one day.

Going through those dark periods was hard, but I was helped mainly by my future wife, as she lived in her own apartment and going there was a nice escape away from the horrors at home (mom had been put on hospice care there.) Sadly Left 4 Dead wouldn't be released for a few more months and it would take even more months for me to get around to playing it, but had it been around at the time I could definitely see it being a good stress reliever.
 

Rad Party God

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I'm really sorry for your loss, I can't imagine how painful it must have been for you.
Really good article, it gave me a weird chill on my skin when I reached the part of your mom being "zombiefied". Also I look forward to play L4D 1&2 with you =).
 

MmmFiber

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Wow, that's a really heavy article. It hit home for me. Although, I was playing Eternal Ring during my loved one's passing. It still gave me something to "conquer." I can't even remember the game that much, just the fact that in the next room my grandpa was dying.
 

AgentNein

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Alright, now all my coworkers are probably wondering why I'm tearing up.

Thank you John, this was a powerful piece.
 

Monshroud

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My ex-girlfriend had hodgkin's lymphoma a few years ago. I recall plenty of sleepless nights playing various FPS games just destroying everything as a way of venting my feelings.

That was a great article and I'm sorry for your loss....
 

Cosplay Horatio

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My uncle died of cancer near the end of last year and I was as much devastated as my cousins were. When I play games like Left 4 Dead 1&2 or Gears of War 1&2 as a means of therapy its to relieve sadness and anger. As the game begins whether its multiplayer or single rarely do I start remembering who or what I'm angry or sad about but most definitely before the end of a multiplayer round or after beating a level that anger or sadness is replaced with happiness and joy or just being able to calm down after turning the infected or other types of enemies into giant lumps of dead meat. Thanks for posting this article.
 

Mr. Blik

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I am so terribly terribly sorry.
And I know what you mean by loved ones becoming zombies. It was just recently in fact. My grandmother has been in assisted living for a few months now, and her condition, which is a multitude of things gets worse then better then worse and so on. Eventually, it all just culminates with dementia. I went to visit her on Friday of last week, and when I went to hug her, she called me a different name, then asked where my brothers and sisters were. I have one sister. I said my name, and she didn't respond. I sat down, and watched as she attempted to figure out who I was, then give up. All of those memories, lost, except with myself. No one to share it with. She just didn't know who I was. And now I wonder if the person sitting in that bed is my grandmother anymore.