I will never forget Star Fox 64. It is a special game to me, but not necessarily because of its spectacular levels or well-tuned on-the-rails shooting mechanics. For me, Starfox 64 was the game that I received for Christmas, and it helped me remember how much my father loved me.
It was 1997 and I was 3 years removed from losing my father to heart disease. As a 12 year old kid, my innocence was placed firmly in the past and how I viewed the world around me contrasted quite a bit with my friends. I played video games because it wasn’t necessarily an excuse to avoid mourning my dad but an opportunity to be a kid again. But when I received Star Fox 64, I didn’t have a clue that it would bring such warmth and comfort to me during that 1997 Christmas break.
The premise behind Starfox 64 is that you - Fox McCloud - have to fight against the evil Andross - the jerk that killed Fox’s dad. Along the galactic journey, you even come across Andross’ minions who relish in throwing that truth in Fox’s face.
For the first time in my life I was able to indentify and sympathize with a video game character. At the time, it wasn’t, by any means, a grand revelation for me in terms of the kind of storytelling video games can have, but as I look back, I clearly recognize that it was.
The moment that brought it all together for me was when I finally faced Andross. After defeating him, the entire facility begins to explode and it seems that Fox’s end has finally come. Except I heard a voice.
“Don’t ever give up, my son.”
It was Fox’s dad! He was still there, and he was there to save his son. From there, he leads Fox through some winding tunnels, helping him escape from certain death, but not before saying:
” You’ve grown so strong, Fox.”
Then it hit me. The revelation, the reminder, the tears. My own father loved me, and I knew he’d be proud of me for how I had dealt with his passing. I loved him so much, but the reminder that he loved me (simply because I was his son), as well, was indescribably touching.
Fox’s dad dissapates into the darkness of space, and Fox is left perplexed and at peace. I totally understood when he said: “Nothing’s wrong.” Yes, I was sad that I missed my dad, but I was still here. Life went on and I was growing as a person. I was moving forward, with the reality of my dad’s love always with me.
In reality, losing a parent is immeasurably difficult, but knowing that they loved you is the greatest reminder. And in 1997, I needed that reminder. In 2015 and beyond, I will still cherish that reminder.
Have you played a game that brought this kind of comfort to you? Please, tell us in the comments below!
credit to Carls493 for the captured gameplay of Star Fox 64.