Winter is here! That means you can expect a few things: candy canes (yum), white walkers (yikes), mulled cider (yum), presents (hopefully) and of course, the PSN Community Spotlight (yum?). For the unfamiliar, this is where PlayStation gamers tell their unique stories/experiences/thoughts, as submitted to this section in the PlayStation Community Forums. Those that make it all the way to the PlayStation Blog will receive a $50 PlayStation Store voucher.
Last week we asked for your PlayStation stories, and gamer MysticMur wrote in to tell us about how gaming helped him through his physical struggles.
Finding My Way Home
I have been a gamer most of my life. An interest shared by my younger brother, thanks to me buying him a PONG when he was 12. We played on numerous console platforms and competed in an endless round of RPGs to see who could finish first and slay the most dungeon beasts. Years went by and work took me away from the world of gaming. I was deployed with the military, on the road for weeks at a time, married, or climbing the corporate ladder.
Nothing prepared me for a stroke, I experienced in 2006. This sidelined me with multiple disabilities to include loss of use of my left side, tremor, and balance issues. I struggled through multiple physical therapy sessions, surgeries, and medical treatments. Nothing worked. Then in December 2008, they found a brain aneurysm which they said was inoperable. I was told if it ruptured, it was cause permanent damage or death. Years went by, as I visited numerous neurosurgeons, looking for one that would operate and fix this time bomb in my head.
In the meantime, fall 2011 rolled around. I was looking for something special to buy my brother for his birthday and Christmas present. He had expressed an interest in a new game console. Having nothing but time, I spent an inordinate amount of time researching different consoles. Finally, I had it down to two consoles, the PS3 and another brand. We own several Sony products to include a massive Bravia TV, so was leaning towards the PS3. The tipping point for me was the Blu-ray player in the PS3. I decided, even if he didn’t use the console for gaming; he would have a state of art Blu-ray player.
My research for the best gaming console left me with an itch of my own. Unsure if I would be able to game again due to disabilities, I put it off. One day perusing my credit card statement, I realized that we had an inordinate amount of points. Much to my delight, there was a PS3 available and I had just enough points. I eagerly awaited the arrival of my PS3 console and even started thinking of games I might want to play. My brother was already immersed in the world of Skyrim, but I was doubtful that my disabilities would allow me to play games with multiple controller function commands.
The day my PS3 arrived I hooked it up immediately. I tried several games that my brother had bought me, but struggled with the controller functions. My left hand failed me in keeping up with the game demands and my memory failed me as well, in learning game patterns. I had all but given up on gaming again, so I explored the other functions offered by my PS3. I added the Netflix app, the Amazon App, and watched Blu-ray movies.
Bored one day, I happened upon the PSN Home icon. Wondering what it was, I installed it. At first not understanding this virtual world of social gaming, I simply wandered around exploring the different core public spaces. Then one day visiting my first PSN Home public space, I found nDream’s Aurora Island and Orb Running. Running Orbs in Aurora started a daily passion, which helped me learn my controller functions and even start to regain use of my left hand. My goal was to reach level 100 and win the Aurora Champion personal space reward; before my upcoming surgery. Unfortunately I did not make my goal.
Still shy and awaiting upcoming brain surgery, I played PS Home games solo. Because of my disabilities, I did not think other gamers would have the patience to deal with my ineptness. My greatest fear was that after my surgery I would have more disabilities and not be able to take care of myself; much less enjoy the world of gaming again. On May 16 2012, a skillful neurosurgeon performed a craniotomy and clipped my brain aneurysm. After waking up from surgery and recovering from the initial impact, I realized there were no further deficits. Some of my first thoughts were, yes I will be able to play games on my PS3 again.
Now months after my surgery, I have found friends on Play Station Home and they challenge me daily. My physical abilities have improved, which in turn have allowed me to expand my gaming world. Besides completing a course in Orb Running taught by Digitman3, I also have reached the coveted level 100. I have also completed several games, such as Journey and earned all of the PS3 trophies. My PSN friend list is long and for the most part, I keep up with them in the gaming world. PSN Home is a way for me to socialize and game, while staying at home. Thank you Sony for making my life better.