One Less Resident

The first time I played Resident Evil I was thirteen years old. The idea of a horror game was completely foreign to me. It was christmas. My brother and I had just received a handful of games for our Playstation. None of the other games mattered; we played Resident Evil almost exclusively. "Almost" because sometimes we had to lighten the mood with something else. It wouldn't last long, most of the others were not very good: Rise of the Robots, anyone? I remember playing it in my father's basement. Lights off, late at night, scared witless, my brother and I were enraptured, completely.

It didn't matter how bad the voice acting was or how (awesomely) bad those live action sequences were. We were straight up terrified by this game. Those hours lost there with my brother are some of the fondest memories I have of him. It was rare that we ever truly got along, especially at that age. That seminal moment when the dogs leaped through the windows in that "L" shaped hallway made us scream so loud my father had to run down to check on us. By the time he got there we were laughing while Chris died on screen.

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There were no fights, in those few short days, over who got to play as we smashed our collective will against the mansion and it's menagerie of horrors. We were happy to pass it off for a break from the relentless tide of bleeding red "You Died" messages.

We didn't finish it before we went back home to my mothers but the experience stuck with us for years. It was always one of the few static points in our past that we could grab onto when we wanted to relate with each other. So, you could say, I hold that original game in fairly high regard.

I never played the Game Cube remaster when it came out. I didn't have the required console until much later, and by then I was more excited about Resident Evil 4. I have played a few hours of the PS4 version and I am just as enraptured now as I was then. Only now I'm older and more adept at playing survival games and I'm missing my erstwhile partner in monster slaying. It's a strange mix of nostalgia, comfort, fear and melancholy.

My brother died in 2013.

A lot of these nearly forgotten memories came flooding back to me as I played and the remixed format works strange emotions out of me. It makes that game more personally creepy. Things don't feel right. The changes, mixed with the fog of memory, coalesce into something strange. I had no idea, when booting the game up for the first time, that it would illicit such a strong response.

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As these emotions and circumstances hang over me things gain different meaning, they hold weight. Burning the bodies of felled zombies so they don't come back as something worse. Exploring the mansion again with this new coat of paint without my brother's help. It's cathartic, scary, and, most of all, lonely. I often find myself wanting to talk to him about it. I half reached for my phone a few times to talk about the new doors, hidden paths and death traps; I want to tell him how odd it is.

We never finished the original game together. The games my father bought for us were always kept at his house. My brother would move back and forth between households so he had more time to play it on his own. Eventually I would finish it too, but on a much later timeline. I whole heartedly intend to finish the remake, but it's difficult to wrestle with my emotions. It will be slow, but it will get done.

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