How Aya Brea from Parasite Eve Inspired me to Keep Going
Okay, so we all know video games are apparently to blame every time some kid does something stupid, right? They're the current political scapegoat so parents don't have to take responsibility for being irresponsible.
I figure it's about time somebody said 'hey... you know what video games are actually a good thing.'
I'm trying to spread the idea that games can in fact help people by sharing my sad little tale... (Well, I'm still alive so I guess it's a happy little tale, but you get the point.)
Let's start with some back story
My father died when I was eight--crashed his airplane, took an uncle and aunt while he was at it. So in 2003 when my grandfather developed cancer, you can imagine life was really rough.
I clearly remember finding Parasite Eve on the shelf in the "Old Games" area at my video rental store (anyone else remember those?). PS2 was all the rage at the time, but regardless I picked it up and decided to give it a go 'round. Not being a fan of horror games, I only played it for about an hour.
Me and Horror games don't usually mix, but somehow Parasite Eve was the exception
Until 2004... When I entered my own horror story
I was about midway though my college year; just as the new year came about, I found myself doubled over in my living room, writhing in pain. One trip the hospital and a few blood transfusions later, I was diagnosed with Idiophatic Hemolytic Anemia.
In short: no one knew what was wrong with me.
My red blood cells were breaking down at a fairly rapid pace, and there was no rhyme or reason to it - other than sleep deprivation, stress, and (of course) hunger.
I was going to college full time, working full time, and pulling double shifts on the weekend, leaving me with enough time for about one meal a day and about three or four hours sleep.
"The worst foe lies within the self"
Creepy blood? Yeah, I get that.
While on two weeks bedrest, the tagline "The worst foe lies within the self" came to my mind and my new-found fascination with Aya Brea and Parasite Eve became my salvation. With a cancer ridden grandfather, my family was already in shambles, so I kept it all to myself. I felt isolated.
It would take me eight years from that day before I told anyone in my family about my condition. I went for blood tests and transfusions when I was 'going to a friend's house to play Halo' (thanks for the cover Master Chief); thanks to client privacy and being over 18, my doctor wasn't allowed to spill the beans.
I played Parasite Eve over and over again.
I related to Aya; we were in fact going through some pretty weird internal body struggles... although just, you know, she got super powers while I coughed up blood on a regular basis (I kind of feel like I got the short end of the stick on that one).
However, Aya always pushed forward and this small horror story protagonist struck a chord with me, and inspired me to do the same.
And so, my way of saying thanks is this
Aya Brea may have well saved my life, without the inspiration she gave me I may have very well thrown in the towel
I did a half wrap in reflective vinyl on my Ford Edge, sporting the tagline that randomly popped into my head while laying in bed feeling like crap.
I will always be thankful to several game characters for giving me inspiration, or comfort when I couldn't turn to family or friends for help.
Aya Brea may have well saved my life; without the inspiration she gave me, I may have thrown in the towel. Instead, I graduated in graphic design, got sick of web design, and somehow wound up very respected in my area for doing vehicle graphics, signs, apparel, ect.
For those of you wondering what ever became of my crazy blood disorder, well, you'll have to ask the doctor. I started a gym routine, eating better, quitting more jobs than I'm willing to admit when they got just stupid. In short, I put me first and it's paid off. I haven't needed a transfusion in over two years and overall I'm in the best shape of my life. FFXIII's Lightning helped me deal with my grandfathers passing, but that's another story for another time, and another vehicle wrap.