I've been going back and forth about writing this blog since I got the news from Kyle's significant other yesterday morning. I had mentioned it on my feed, then had second thoughts. I don't want any appearances of trying to take advantage of his passing and her loss. But I ultimately decided to write it. For catharsis, to hopefully have a place where a few of his TA friends might drop by and tell a story or two from gaming sessions, and just generally because I feel like I need to. To that end, though, if you weren't already following me prior to reading this, please do not follow me now. Drop a comment, tell a story, commiserate, but leave the follow/unfollow stuff for another time, another blog.
If after reading this, you would like to help Kyle's family with the financial burden of the funeral, the link is Rest For Kyle
. His family set a VERY modest goal of $10k. We recently buried my wife's grandad, and even with the absolute MINIMUM accomodations and no official service, it was around $6,000. If even less than 1% of the site's users donated $10 they would meet their goal.
One important thing: If by some miracle you are reading this and thinking of harming yourself, please reach out to someone you love. In lieu of that, reach out to me. I don't care who you are, even if you are a stranger. I care because you are a person with value, no matter the thoughts you may be having.
NOTE: You may see his tag unlock an achievement in the future. His brother has decided he may try and keep his tag going to some extent, in his memory. So if you see Handy pop up on your feed, know that a family member is carrying on his tag, and raise a glass to them.
I met Handy many, many years ago. We happened upon each other as many achievement hunters do, looking for someone to partner up with for achievement purposes. The first game we played together, to the best of my recollection, was Earth Defense Force, back in 2009, on his original gamertag. The crazy bastard went on to stack several different EDF games. Over the years, we haven't actually gamed
together a ton, mostly because I tend to play more single-player games than anything else, but we developed a friendship early on, and that friendship lasted, even through long periods little communication.
Around the Xbox One launch, we fell out of touch for a good length of time. Kyle didn't take the plunge into the current-gen systems right away, and until Microsoft added the functionality to communicate back-and-forth between the 360 and XB1, we were left with IRL communications as the default. We texted from time to time to check in on one another, but it was a good while before we really got to talking on a regular basis again. During that time, though, it was Kyle who consistently reached out to maintain the friendship, at times when I was so busy with other things that I came up lacking in the 'friend' department. That was who he was. He would always try to be your friend before anything else.
Sure, if you were cross with each other, he would certainly let you know it. He wasn't one to turn the other cheek, but he also wasn't the type of guy to go out looking for trouble or to treat others (online or IRL) like dirt. He was a good man, though, a great one even. What many of you don't know, is that he was a direct caregiver for a loved one for eight years up until his passing. There aren't a lot of people that can stomach the idea of taking care of a stranger, even as a job like nurse/cna/etc, let alone to take care of someone close to you. I know that outside of the confines of my job at the hospital, I would certainly find it difficult to do what he did 24/7. That tells you the kind of man he was.
Kyle was a very competitive guy, too. I mentioned that he created his new gamertag to go for completion. I think he threatened to 'come after me' and surpass me while maintaining 100% early on. But competition needs to be reciprocated, and I'm not a super competitive guy when it comes to achievements. So in the absence of a 'challenge accepted', he opted to go for big score. In just five short years though, he passed both my gamerscore and my TA score, not to mention completions, achievements earned, etc. Say what you will about he and his team's choices and tactics when it comes to GTASC stuff, the guy sure could lay out a gameplan and fire on all cylinders anytime he wanted to.
He was a community guy. I rarely saw him online where he wasn't in a party chat, talking gaming, or life, or both, with various folks from TA and elsewhere. While some folks log on and do their own thing unless they receive an invite, Kyle would actively seek out conversation and camaraderie with the community. His competitive nature was contagious at times too, even pushing me to have my 'biggest month' back in 2014, for which he was a great resource and a great assistance at planning the last few pieces of that puzzle.
Unfortunately though, he had demons just like the rest of us. He and I had a very long conversation for several hours the night before he passed, and despite that I never knew just how deeply he was hurting. I hope that, if you're reading this, you might consider that the next time you put your fingers on the keys with a hurtful insult in your mind. Before releasing that into the ethers of social media, or saying it over XBL after a bad beat, stop and consider that you might be the last hateful message that person gets. I always try to end my blogs with Peace, Love, and Gaming, but that couldn't be more appropriate than now. I'm going to end this blog with some of Kyle's stats over the course of his achievement-hunting career, as that seems most appropriate to me for a memorial to him on this site in particular.Handydarkness
Gamertag created in 2012, 5-year Xbox Live tenure
**Note - As I recall, he actually started a new gamertag that year, intending to go for completion %, before that sort of went out the window.
Registered on TA April 11th, 2012.
Final TA score: 1,073,903 (over 200k average per year buddy
Final gamerscore: 624,403 (over 120k average per year buddy
2012 - 2862 achievements, 113,130 TA score, 73,340 gamerscore
2013 - 3024 achievements, 120,064 TA score, 74,405 gamerscore
2014 - 3560 achievements, 140,724 TA score, 76,372 gamerscore
2015 - 5983 achievements, 252,133 TA score, 164,850 gamerscore
2016 - 5538 achievements, 296,641 TA score, 165,390 gamerscore
2017 - 2523 achievements, 151,192 TA score, 70,016 gamerscore
Xbox One games: 191 started, 137 completions
Xbox 360 games: 670 started, 515 completions
Windows games: 30 started, 21 completions
Windows phone games: 79 started, 62 completions
Others: 10 started, 4 completions
Longest streak: 152 days, 3090 achievements
Best ratio game: Battlefield Hardline
Rest in peace, buddy. I'll leave one last thing here. Rather than trying to find some sappy song that I think is fitting to the personality of the guy I knew and the pain at his loss, I think I'll just leave an upbeat song that he chose for himself for his GTASC team intro blog.
Be kind to each other folks. Please feel free to share stories below if you knew the wackadoo. Peace, love, and gaming ~Life