Occasionally, when priorities and what's important gets lost, stories emerge that put a great deal into context. An account of a fan's lifelong health struggles and the hope he found in excitement for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is a sobering one, and also a reminder of the important joys that gaming - and the kindness of strangers - can bring.
The gamer this relates to was Gabe Marcelo, a lifelong fan of The Legend of Zelda franchise who had suffered with a congenital heart condition since birth, one that became increasingly complicated and difficult to treat as he reached adulthood. It had a significant impact on his energy levels and mobility, and at different points in his life he connected with the franchise and its adventures. In 2016 he'd been desperate to play Breath of the Wild following its reveal, but it wasn't on show when he made his way to PAX Prime. As he followed the progress of the game's development he simply wanted to play it; sadly, his health continued to deteriorate.
His family, eager to get him a chance to play the game, contacted Nintendo of America but struggled to get their case noticed, possibly due to the sheer volume of correspondence the company receives. Gabe's older brother posted on Reddit, however, and the post took off; it was here that Nintendo of America learnt of his wish to play the game. The company got in touch and arranged for Gabe to visit the Nintendo of America offices, play the game and tour the building.
It's an incredibly touching story that speaks to generosity and of course Gabe's own determination. Sadly he passed away in mid-January, but that was after he was able to make his visit to Nintendo. It's a tough read, but you should read this post on Vice in which these events are covered in detail.
Gabe's mother and brother talk about his love for the series, his passion for Breath of the Wild and what its gameplay meant to him - the story highlights the importance of generosity of strangers online, staff at Nintendo and, of course, Gabe himself.