My Brother and I Live in Different Parts of Australia and Gaming Brings Us Closer
My brother and I did not get along as kids — think Lizzie McGuire and her little pesky brother Matt. We would fight all the time, over nothing and over everything. However, we would wave our white flags and put away the insults (to an extent) when it came to gaming.
Fifteen years later, we still use gaming to catch up — now as friends rather than siblings who were close to murdering each other.
As you get older, it can become much harder to catch up with your siblings and keep the same bond. When you’re younger, you don’t have a choice — especially when you’re the only two kids at a family dinner with your parents’ childless friends from overseas.
My brother and I are not as close as we used to be and it’s most likely exacerbated by the fact we live on different sides of Australia. This means I only see him two to three times a year and even less due to the pandemic. We sometimes FaceTime or have a phone call but the main way we communicate and keep in touch is through gaming.
Growing up, my brother and I were your usual sister and brother siblings: friends one minute, mortal enemies the next. What caused a ceasefire during our usual “get out of my room” battles was gaming.
We would spend hours during school holidays trying to kill each other’s characters in GoldenEye or take turns finishing a level in Super Mario 64. I think one of my fondest memories growing up was me and my friends ganging up on my brother in GoldenEye, during a multiplayer stint in the Facility level with slappers only (IYKYK).
A few years later, we got our own GameBoy Advance handheld consoles — mine was a see-through pink (the elite console) and my brother’s was blue. We would share games, but as any 11-year-old sister would do, I had rules and he had to give my game back to me after an hour because I DID NOT TRUST HIM AND HE DEFINITELY WANTED TO STEAL IT!
Throughout my teens, I didn’t pay attention to my brother and his gaming antics. I was too busy being cool and hip. But when I left high school, my brother began building PCs, and I would hang out in his room and watch him play games like FarCry 4 and Just Cause 3. One day, I asked to play FarCry 4. My brother started a new game for me and I was hooked.
One Christmas in 2017, I was back in Perth from Sydney and Mafia 3 was recently released. We would sit in his room, me playing and him watching me and getting concerned with all the creative ways I knew how to curse.
A few years later, I finally came to my senses and bought my very own Xbox One, pre-owned and for a bargain of $150.
Buying my own Xbox was the catalyst to my brother and me chatting more. We would spend hours playing on our separate consoles in multiplayer battles or just over chat in our own little worlds.
There was a quiet period of six months where I didn’t speak to my brother much and that’s because he sold all of his consoles because he built his own PC. Thankfully, he came to his senses and bought another Xbox.
One of my favourite things about gaming together is how deep and meaningful some of our conversations can get. This is most likely due to the fact we aren’t face-to-face. Now don’t get me wrong, I love speaking with people face-to-face. I’m a proud extrovert. However, there’s something poetic about trying to shoot down hillbillies in FarCry 5 while talking about our grandmother’s progression in her illness.
As the lockdown hit Sydney in June, most of my free time was dedicated to gaming. I tried to spend most of this time with my brother playing Fortnite and I enjoyed chatting to someone who wasn’t my boyfriend (no offence Jack).
Gaming has always been the perfect escape from my troubles but the ability to play with my brother in an online melee makes me feel like we’re 10 again playing Nintendo 64 in our games room. While we may not go to the bar and smash back schooners together, we do smash enemies together in Fortnite, and I think that’s beautiful.