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One of the most magical things about video games is the way in which they help us make lifelong connections with complete strangers.
Playing online multiplayer with your real-life friends is all well and good, but having that squad made up of people you’ve never met is something else. Slowly getting to know them, forging a bond in the fiery crucible of digital battle - it’s a heck of a feeling. I don’t know about you, but there are things I felt empowered to tell my “gaming” friends that I never really spoke about with my “real” friends.
Unfortunately, it’s also far too easy to slip away from the online strangers you’ve made connections with. Assuming you never shared your real name or contact details, the day inevitably comes when you log off from a game with the squad for the last time. People move on, pick up new games, or even stop playing altogether.
Lee Fabela spent years searching for an old friend who he used to play Halo 2 with back in the day. In a touching account shared over on Facebook, he revealed that Xbox finally added a feature that allowed him to look up the gamertag of his former ally and reconnect.
“I looked him up and sent him a message thinking I would get a reply back,” Fabela wrote. “Maybe play Halo again like the good old days.”
While Fabela received a reply, it was not the news he was hoping to hear. It turns out that the original owner of the Xbox, and the guy Fabela used to smash through Halo 2 with, was called Shaun. Tragically, Shaun passed away from Leukemia a little over a year ago. He had passed on his Xbox to his nephew because they used to play together on weekends. It was Shaun’s nephew who replied to Fabela’s message with the sad news.
“I was like 11 when I started playing with him,” Fabela recalled. “He was in his 40s. Everyone ignored me because I was a squeaker, but he would play with me. When someone older would take sh*t to me, he would jump in. He was the coolest person ever. Dude was a beast with a sniper. When we ran together, we never lost a game. I consider this man the best online friend I ever had, and a true Halo 2 legend.”
“It sucks I didn’t get to talk with him one last time, but I think he would want me to play with his nephew now. F*ck Leukemia.”
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