As I sat in my father’s recliner, digesting my buffalo turkey sandwich, I could not help but reflect on the past year and all that has happened, both good and bad. I wanted to use some of these thoughts to write my next blog, but I just could not get a thought out of my head. During this pondering my thoughts became drawn towards a gaming buddy of ours who had passed away this year. No matter how hard I tried, I could not focus on any other topic.

Over time we all lose friends, it is just one of those parts of life we cannot avoid. I lost my friend while I was taking a break from gaming to study for and complete a series of examinations for my job. When I finally returned back online, my friends gently broke the news to me and I was devastated. Devastated that he was gone and devastated I never really got to say goodbye.

His friends at home knew him as Salvatore, Sal for short. We knew him as Killer Elite. I got to know Sal through a friend of a friend online while playing Black Ops and we soon became friends. He was the kind of person who could make you laugh no matter how difficult the day was or how badly you were getting beaten in a game. On occasion, you would laugh so hard playing well would not be possible and you would leave a match with a forever harmed KDR.

His old-school Brooklyn attitude and jesting nature made for the perfect mix of insult and comedy when it came to talking trash. His quick wit made it easy to be his friend and infuriating to be his verbal enemy. With him in the lobby, no game would ever be boring.

Sal wasn’t the best player on the planet, but he was the best you could ask for on your team. Together we destroyed hordes of locusts, dominated objectives, massacred zombies, pwned noobs, and searched for vault treasure on a distant planet.

He never got to know the story of Battlefield 3, never tested his gun skills in Modern Warfare 3, or killed a dragon in Skyrim. But he enriched our lives and made them better. And somehow the world is not as funny without him in it.

I am a better man for knowing you, Sal. To you, and any other gamers out there we lost, we hang our heads and silence our headsets. We raise our controllers and keyboards and give you a digital 21 gun salute, bidding you safe passage to whatever it is that lays beyond.

You were a good father, husband, gamer, and friend. Goodbye Sal.