To say that I was close to my dad would be an overstatement.  I love him to death as any son would, but we've always had a unique relationship where we're not relly close and we both let each other do our own things.  It's how I happened to grow up though.  Now this isn't saying that we never spent time together.  We would frequently watch sports, go out with family, and he would take me to baseball games (be it mine or the Phillies) so we did see each other a lot, but we never really were close.

However, for at least three hours a day every weekend we were inseperable, the two of us in front of the TV playing Tomb Raider together. 

It's honestly the fondest memory I have of the two of us, because nothing else will ever be quite as special as playing the first two games together.  It's truly something else to look back on, and I will never know why exactly the two of us bonded the way we did when it came to it, but I will truly be forever thankful.

I remember days when I would come down in the morning and he would already be up, playing the game and figuring out the next puzzle.  Sometimes I think he enjoyed the game more than I did, granted I was a hyper-active little kid at the time so playing a game for more than a few hours was unheard of for me, but still for him to be playing it all the time was interesting to me.

We ended up beating the first game together, and over the next christmas break for school I got the second game.  That year we went up to my grandmom's house in the poconos and I was allowed to bring my Playstation.  Back then my brother was still too young to game so it was again my dad and I playing Tomb Raider II on my grandmother's TV while everyone else would watch, or go about their business.  I forget when we ended up beating it, but everything about the game was special, not because of gameplay, graphics, or anything else for that matter, but for the fact that for those three hours the two of us connected on a level that was more real than anything else we had ever connected from.

It's a shame that it couldn't last though, as before we started the third game of the series my mother fell ill with cancer and we unfortunately lost her. 

That one incident unfortunately shattered all the bonds we had made and the two of us became very stoic, never really dealing with each other more than we had to.  Sure we still lived pretty well, but in the end the wedge was too deep to reconcile much of anything between us, and alas our gaming together ended. 

In recent years we've grown closer again, to the point where I would love nothing more than to share another group of memories with him like that, but unfortunately a game like that hasn't ever come along again.  I know there are games that are close, but every game anymore seems to be over the top action and shooting rather than mostly puzzles with some gunplay involved.  I suppose that is why I get frustrated when I see games anymore that feature nothing but teenage gameplay and plots.  Because I want another game for me and my dad.

I suppose it hasn't been all bad though.  I've got a new playing partner in my brother, as he has finally hit the age where he is gaming seriously.  We've always had fun with games like dynasty warriors, but now we're finally getting into shooters together.  In fact the two of us are playing through the Resistance: Fall of Man campaign, and I'm teaching him about how to play and how to act while he does this.  He'll be a good gamer one day (and not one of those brats you hear screaming into the mic) and I hope that he'll be an even better person because of this time.  I know that was the one thing that my dad gave me by gaming with me and looking back at it now I'll cherish the memory.

So this is my silent 'thank you' to him.  I know he'll never read this, but it's the only way I can get it out of my body.  I just hope I can do the same for my kid when I have one.

Who knows, maybe I'll pull out Tomb Raider 3 finally and we can start that together.