Justin Carmical is gone, but you can still play this

What’s the difference between a hero and coward? There ain’t no difference. Inside they’re both exactly alike. Both scared of dying, or getting hurt. But it’s what the hero does that makes him a hero. It’s what the other guy didn’t do that makes him a coward.

Boxing trainer Cus D’Amato told that to a young and confused Mike Tyson as he was about to face a world that was going to put up a fight.

On Saturday January 25, I was somewhat looking forward to the weekend. Usual stuff that I do; watch anime, ride my bike, listen to music, and chat with friends. It should have been a more eventful occasion as it was a day to remind me that I’m only going to be here for a handful of decades before I simply cease to be (if being an introvert has any benefits, staying off the streets with reckless drivers could be one! Seriously, humans and automobiles are an odd pair…). You know, enjoy life while you’re still here, and all that. After a nice meal and a few laughs with my family, I settle down and relax at home, then think, “I should do that more often.” It wasn’t much, but it was turning into a memorable weekend. Then, it really did become a memorable weekend. Just not in a way I would ever hope it would.

I won’t speculate on why Justin did what he did. For one, it’s a personal matter, probably the most personal action one can take, and I have no right to inject myself into it. It’s not something I, nor you, completely understand. There won’t be any answers, anyway.

Instead, I want to think what brought us together. All of us, really. Over the last few days, I was constantly and pleasantly amazed at how many people I’ve been acquainted with online were actually aware of Justin “JewWario” Carmical. Importing video games from Japan. Games that we have to go out of our way for to play, because as awesome and unique  as they are, they’ll likely send publishers outside Japan so far into the red that they’ll have a horde of bulls charging at them! Really, this is the nichiest of the itchiest part of the medium that does not even get that much attention in their own homeland. Yet, as long as they are made, we will keep coming. Can’t read or speak a lick of Japanese? We make guides, so people will understand them.  Can’t play because of region-locks? We modify to break through the system (sometimes we literally break the system). To put it simply, we’re just driven. We want to play because we can.

In fact, that was was reason what brought me to Justin. I was setting up my PSP system and, being the complete weeb that I am, I needed to set up a Japanese account from my North American one (which is super easy, by the way). Justin laid down all the instructions. But, I didn’t want to jump into any games just yet. This dude piqued the part of my brain that knew something was more to him, because this wasn’t just any instructional video where the camera shakes from side to side because the YouTuber didn’t bother to set up a tripod. The dude made it an effort to wear a Wario hat. He was a little older than most video game fans you normally come across, or at least for me. Above all that, he not only showed people how to set up an account in a different language, but he looked like he was glad to do it. Really, video game enthusiasts aren’t really portrayed as pleasant folks. I know I can be a cheeky little shit at times! Kind of ironic when it’s a hobby based around the idea of having “fun.” We love games maybe a little too much and it shows in ugly ways sometimes. I don’t know. Justin just showed us he not only loved games, though. He also showed that he just loved at all. It was guanine. And if you ask me, it was a breath of fresh, happy air.

I had very little interaction with Justin. He helped and commented when his increasingly busy schedule allowed, and I appreciated that much. Besides, I was just glad he was around. But he isn’t here to be “around” with anymore. I think that’s when the whole situation really sunk in for me. I grew up having to let go of people. It’s natural. It doesn’t get easier, but now I understand how to face it better, even if a little. I think it’s really about what we take away from what others give to us. Justin showed me how to play imported Japanese games. I won’t forget that. It sounds silly, but it really changed me. Justin’s whole brand was an act of encouragement: You Can Play This. Just think, how many people will continue to encourage others to do what they love; spreading the love of quirky, batshit crazy video games. I’m still hurting, but now I can share what Justin showed me. Passing both of our passions to the next generation. It’s just going to keep going on, and I think that’s amazing.

Of course, video games are just on the surface. Beneath it lies the real act of humanity that we’re really passing to others. I’ll leave it to Justin to show you:

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