This has been a rough year for me, and for gaming journalism too, I guess. October is always especially difficult on a personal level, because my mom has been struggling with breast cancer every October since 2008. It’s like God is taunting our family, cursing my poor mother with cancer at the beginning of breast cancer awareness month, and having it recede after our annual Halloween “Mom, Please Don’t Die From Breast Cancer” themed party.
The parties seem to help; that’s kind of why we do them. Myself along with friends and family all place our hands on my mother’s infected breast and say “Mom, this breast is testing your chest.” After the ceremony, we usually like to play some sort of video game together; I don’t really play games anymore though, so this year we watched all of the Rocky movies in a row to completion.
Something weird happened during this year’s breast cancer fight, though. Usually the cancerous lumps begin to slide out of my mother’s breast at around October 18th, but when I checked her that night, they were still in full swing. The tears in my eyes flowed out like plague rats running out of European sewers in the early 1300s. Blades became an obsession. All I could think about were knives and how they would feel slicing my skin and easing my pain.
On October 23rd, I brought a butter knife to my neck; it was about to be all over. I heard a voice from outside my window.
“Josh, don’t do it! Play Undertale!”
“Sans. Papyrus. Determination.”
A small smirk tore itself across my lips.
“Like the Eminem joke?” I asked.
“Yes. Of course. Almost exactly. And like the joke about the socially awkward people.”
Laughter filled the midnight air. A grown man laughed inside a house, and a stranger laughed outside it, unifying them in Undertale glory.
I put the butter knife down, into a peanut butter jar and made myself and the stranger a sandwich. He asked for jelly; I told him my mom had cancer and invited him into my home.
“Is the game free?”
“No, it is ten dollars.”
“I will pay for this.”
Steam downloaded the game in record time, as if it were encouraging me for putting money into such a pure product. I recently bought some Xbox One games for the same price, but those took longer to download because they were bigger and had more content. Kind of annoying. I don’t like waiting.
The game loads up. I name my character “Earthbound.”
The opening sequence with the sexy milk cow made me cry, but these tears were tears of joy. I wanted to kill her. She needed to die so my mother could live.
I beat the game in one sitting. I felt my mother’s breast the next day, and the cancer was beginning to die out. It was a Breast Cancer Awareness Month Miracle. There’s no other explanation:
Undertale cures cancer with the power of laughter and heart. You don’t have to kill your enemies in that game, just as breast cancer did not have to kill my mother. My kindness towards my foes in the game resonated with God, The Father. I believe he spared my little mommy for another year because I didn’t murder all the furries and skeletons.
Game of the Year? No, that wouldn’t do it justice. Leave that award with Halo 5: Guardians. Toby Fox deserves more. I say go all the way and give him a Nobel Peace Prize, to join the ranks of Barack Obama and whoever else won that stupid trophy.
It’s November now, and my mom is safe. This time I’m really quitting video games though, so I can focus more on preparing for next year’s “Mom, Please Don’t Die From Breast Cancer” party. Thinking of bringing in a local band or something. Let me know who I should hire. We have a year, so there’s plenty of time to book. Just gotta make sure it’s affordable, because paying for chemotherapy without insurance is really a pain in the ass.
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