187: An Over-the-Shoulder Perspective on Gaming

An Over-the-Shoulder Perspective on Gaming

Videogames can bring people together, but for Tetsuhiko Endo, games were always a reminder of what set his brother and him apart.

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A very nice read. Makes me think back to my childhood. I used to try to sneak games past my bedtime; "One more level! I'm almost to the save point!" even though the game I was playing had no levels or save points. The time I was able to play after bedtime was magical. It felt very sacred and forbidden. I always used to lose focus on the game because of how much I would look over my shoulder to make sure my parents weren't watching me. I miss that time... Being in college with no restrictions is nice, but there is nothing special about playing games till three or four in the morning, and certainly not ten O'Clock.

Would your brother happen to be the same Tom Endo who contributes to this site?
Either way, an interesting read that takes a more personal look at Gaming.

...Kind of cute.

But I know I annoyed my big brother way too much when I was younger...I kind of regret constantly being around him and looking for some pointless approval, but...

It doesn't matter now really. Nice article, but...I'm one of those people who "live" the game.

Must look strange to an outsider.

Every brother has a genre. Your job: find that genre, avoid it like the plague, and find a different kind of game you can kick his ass in. Then you can lose as much as you want on his turf, as long as you can hold your own.

I recommend something you can't possibly lose at... like Super Pony Dress-up Adventure.

I just wanted to say that this article might be my favorite I've read on The Escapist. Being the second born of three sons, I had a similar relationship with my older brother. He was very much like the one describe in the article growing up. He was the first in our family to get into video games, and I followed. I'd watch him play for hours and wait for my turn. It was some sort of unspoken bond between us.

I guess this article reminded me of myself and my relationship with my brothers, especially my older one. It provided a great context for reflection. This is probably the only article that's actually made me misty-eyed. It elicited some emotional response from me.

To the author: Well done and thank you.

Very nostalgic and pleasant. It sounds like you like him, which is good. I was the older brother in that story (No I am not the literal older brother). Although I've never heard him say so, I think my younger brother sought my approval of his life...I don't think I ever gave it to him...which is poor of me...Now, at 35 years old, I'm not sure how to. He's become a doctor, has a wife and a child, and I have my career, a gf, and play a lot of video games :P. But there lies a tension between us, a misunderstanding...one where he misunderstands me and I him, and going back to the unspeakable crap we did to one another is somehow off limits, and likely the source of the misunderstanding...Neither of us can talk about it, the things we did to one another has made us both bitter. But I'm glad for you to have settlement with...at least a portion of the childhood squabble you had with him.

He was the one who desperately wanted the NES way back when. I hated video games for a long time, It wasn't until about 5 years ago that I got interested in them. He was always better than me at them, finishing Super Mario 2, Zelda, and Castlevania before I did. I didn't care, and he thought I did, or even if I didn't, he took the shot that I did care so that he could get me, or beat me, or whatever it is.

Now he has a son, and as a doctor has one of those schedules that makes a man cringe, and cannot play any of his games, and has stopped playing. I think maybe because I play now in part...A few years ago I started getting into games, and my enthusiasm and his unbearable schedule made it impossible to keep up...now that I'm interested he isn't :P. Life is odd, possibly sad.

I'm Scottish as well. GG

Great read. My brother and I opted for the "Fight Like Murder Over Everything" approach to childhood, with me refusing to give in to anything he wanted. I had a problem with authority and he likes authority quite a bit. Being a bit bigger than me until we reached our late teens meant taking a heavy beating until my folks broke us up.

But in games, he couldn't beat me. He'd come home ready to tear me apart in Street Fighter II and found out he couldn't touch me. Doom, Tecmo Bowl...even the single player stuff was a victory ground for me. Whereas he gave up screaming on Wing Commander, I managed to plow through it. He finally got to the point that he quit playing them entirely.

We've mellowed out a lot since then and get along great, but growing up games were the place I remained defiant to the end.

@ The_Carrot: I'm not sure how much consolation it is (if any) but you are the reason for your brother's success. He worked so hard for your approval, probably in everything he did, that it even rubbed off on his school work, and so he was able to join one of the toughest, most brutal, unforgiving professions in the world.

One day I hope you manage to make your peace with each other (and I hope it's not too far in the future) but if you ever do, you can never tell your brother what I've said here, ever. Because while you are the reason your brother tried so damn hard to succeed, he rightfully earned his success all on his own.

A very nice read. Ending had really nice closure =].

The article was great, but it made me quite depressed. Growing up as only child and having my parents' undivided attention (or un-attention for that matter) at all times is a thing, that I'm forever grateful and bitter about at the same time. I liked being by myself, not needing to share everything with a sibling, but somewhere deep inside I know I wanted a brother, and I think I will never forgive my parents for that.

The lack of a brother was most conspicuous in gaming. Although I liked playing the single player games and I did have fun when some friends happened to be over at our place, but every time I looked at competitive games like Street Fighter, FIFA, or the "multiplayer" option in some other game's menu, I felt a weird emptiness. My parents never cared about video games, only saw my love for them as a puberty thing, a nonsense that didn't seem to pass when I turned 20, so I never had anyone to share my gaming experiences with, no one to beat me to a pulp in Tekken 3 or play co-op with in any game. For that, I'm forever sad...

Heh, good read, almost brought a tear to my eye.

My older sister doesn't care for games, but every time she played the wii when her friends came over I always felt a twinge of pride when she asked me if there were any more games to play.

Usually though, they get bored with it, but that's fine.

sometimes I wonder what it would be like to be the older brother...

I loved this article and it really hit home for me. I'm like the younger brother in this article almost down to the letter. Even down to my older brother and I renting an N64 from Blockbuster and waiting anxiously as he hooked it up. Hoping that this time, in these particular two weeks, that I would finally beat him for the first time at Super Smash Bros. I always looked for his approval and would actually wait to play games until he was there to watch me. And when he wasn't there I would always tell him about what boss I beat, or how I killed this one guy. Now he's in college and I don't have to compete for approval or recognition anymore. I think that having my bro as someone to try to emulate really was a good thing, and I'm really thankful for him.

I'd have a completely different story to tell where the youngest brother finally beats his older brothers in games.

I just beat my big bro in DOW today. Mm-mmm...sweet tears of defeat. How I love their taste.

This was great. I'm older than my brother but it's nice to hear from a younger bros perspective. The only thing is that my bro and I are about as good as each other on the games we play against each other.

Great, engaging article. I am the youngest of three brothers and now really the only one who plays video games anymore, and certainly was the only one who ever took them particularly seriously. Thus, it was...interesting to relate to both the writer (as the younger brother) and his older brother (as the more serious gamer). Again, great read.

This is a really great article. It reminded me of my own family story -- I'm the oldest of three, but the only girl, and on top of that, I've always been kind of more interested in the typical "boy's pastimes" than "girl's activities." So I was always the one feeling like a tagalong when my brothers got Star Wars lightsabers for Christmas, and I got another stupid Barbie.

I'm also not really one for hand-eye coordination, so as kids, they routinely kicked my ass at every action oriented video game that passed through our household. Because video games were a toy for boys, I didn't have a lot of say in what games were chosen. It resulted in our having a very select group of games that consisted mostly of intricate sports sims (chosen by the brother 2 years younger than me) and pc RTS games (chosen by the brother 6 years younger than me). It wasn't until much later that I discovered that even though I'm not twitchy, I'm still good at games. When we got our hands on Ocarina of Time, I was the only one of the three of us who had the patience to sort through the game's puzzles. Turn based strategy, RPGs and puzzle based games are all areas where I routinely beat them...

Turns out, I wasn't just butting into their "guy time", I was the most avid gamer of the three, just waiting to discover it.

my sister held with gaming up to the fishing minigame in Fable. I decided to keep more to myself about Fable 2 for obvious reasons :(

Wow, great article. Easily the best I've read so far.

As some have said before, the situtation that i had was incredibly similar.
I always fought for approval, but with my intensly competitive nature, i mostly beat my brother in games(with lots of effort). This article really expresses the bond nicely, and i think only younger brothers can really understand it.

Video Games can be a strong bond for siblings, and even to this day me and him still have our rituals of playing a few games side to side
(recently played some SF Alpha 3 on PS1 again :D)

spectacular article... one of my favorite pieces on the Escapist yet...

A ton of people have already said it, but it's deserved: great article.

Being a younger brother myself, I know what it's like to be designated player 2. As I read about the victory you felt when you beat Rampage, it reminded me of the first time I challenged my older brother to a game of Primal Rage and, as he recalled the epic pounding I had unleashed upon him previously, he refused.

For me, gaming was the one place I could humble my brother after he beat me at a race or back yard sporting event. Maybe that's why I'm such a huge gamer now.

I am an older brother, and I have grown up playing Coop with my brother, playing against him in multiplayer, and watching each other play singleplayer games, so this article was one I could really relate to.

This is me and my brother, We done everything you done, Except when my sister tried to play he unplugged her controller and said "Well done, You broke it!" or took out the power supply.
But I'm only 16 and I still look up to my brother, still looking for acceptance but it seems like it will never happen.
I play games with my brother all the time, Just the other day we was play halo 3 with two other friends and Lasered all 3 of them when they was trying to gank me, I was hoping for " Nice shot you bastard." or something but I all I got was silence.
I always try and convince myself that I will not look up to him, but every time my brother says " Hey, wanna play some games?" I just can't say no.
No matter how many times I beat my brother at something, he's never impressed and just like you I guess I will always be that Shoulder viewing gamer watching plow his way through games.

Great article.
It did make me reflect on how I treated my little brother growing up. I was probably a bit selfish haha.
Me and my brother have grown up together playing games, and they are now a fairly large part of our lives.
I love playing games with my brother and without him I don't know how would have finished Halo and Gears on the Hardest difficulties.
Games have really brought us together, inspiring our creative talents and our bonds of kinship. He's one of the only people in the world who I would trust with my life.
Once again a great article. Its good to see another person who feels the same way.

As an older brother.. I have always tried to give my little bro the satisfaction of beating me now and then.

I realized it is very important for him.

Everything in this article feels EXACTLY like what my little bro would write in 10 years.

This reminds me of similar experiences with my older Sister. We both shared a NES together and eventually got our own Sega Master Systems (I had a MSII however, so I won that one). I did a lot of watching my sister play, thinking she was the best gamer ever. A few years later however and my sisters interest in gaming started to wane, while I started growing into a fairly decent player. These days, theres no doubt I could beat my sister at anything, but she has much more responsibility than me since she has kids to look after. Still, shes always up for a quick go on the Wii when the kids have gone to school.


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