I've been gaming since it started in the early seventies, (On the first machines like Space Invaders) and have enjoyed the hobby for years at home with all the iterations of the Playstation. I've tried to get people into gaming since I started, but my health started to fail about 12 years ago. I'm in a wheelchair now due to nerve damage in my back, but still try to help others as much as possible where I can.
I've been playing the Rockband games since 2009 when I found they, as well as other games, could help take my mind off of my pain to a degree. There was a goal in the 2nd game that involved playing the entire setlist from start to finish in one go. It was called the Endless Setlist 2 and takes around 6-7 hours of straight play to get through. I had completed it, (and got my Platinum) but found quite a few others that hadn't managed to get through the whole thing due to the difficulty of playing the last few songs on some instruments. So I started volunteering my time to help others complete the goal. I had helped quite a few people get through it already, (14 or 15 of them) when in Oct of 2010, a guy from Australia contacted me needing help. He played drums, and had already tried the setlist three or four times, and never could get through the whole thing. He'd get to the last few songs after playing for six hours straight, and then would fail a couple songs and have to quit. We fired up the PS3s and I asked him to play a few of the songs he had trouble with so I could see if I'd be able to help him. After playing a couple of the songs that gave him the most trouble I thought I could help, and we set up a time to play later that week. Then I started hearing that "I'd never keep a connection that long" from other people. I'd never had issues with disconnects while playing the PS3, and had no idea what they were talking about, and I put the comments out of my mind.
The evening we'd set up arrived, and we both got ready to start the session, he in Australia, and I in Kentucky. Literally on the other side of the world from each other. 6 1/2 hours later we got to the songs that gave him the most trouble, and after playing for that long he started wondering aloud if he could keep playing for much longer. We'd play a song and he'd start to see his health bar dwindle, I'd hit OD and bring him back. We played a few songs like that with multiple OD saves, all the time with him getting weaker from playing the drums for so long. When we finally got close to the end of the last song I could hear him yelling for his wife and kids to come in the room. He was exhausted and giddy at the same time. When he finally got a few seconds from the end of that last song, the noises coming over my Sony headset could easily be mistaken for someone that had won the lottery. He and his family were whooping it up and as excited, or more, than anyone I'd played with till then. The last song ended and he flipped out. After a few minutes he retrieved his headset, which he'd lost while celebrating. He'd finally done it, and after trying for months his relief was almost palpable. We talked for a while longer, said our goodbyes, and then set about recuperating from the marathon session over the next couple days.
It was great to see that two guys in their 40s with wives and kids could still have fun like I did back when I was a kid. Seven hours straight from Kentucky to Australia with not a single disconnect. All thanks to our PS3s.
That was the last time I got to help anyone with the Endless Setlist. The new version of the game came out a few days later, and they changed the rules so that anyone could get through it. He sent me this pic that his wife had snapped when he got through that last song the next day....
This time last year I started helping players in a different way, when they couldn't get their hands on a controller for the new version of the game. I'll save that story for another post though.