Lifelong Legend of Zelda fan Gabe Marcelo had been suffering from a congenital heart condition since birth, but his passion for video games provided a source of comfort. After multiple health complications, the chances of making it past his teens were looking slim; The lower than average levels of oxygen in his blood meant the mere act of walking outside his home was physically exhausting.
Gabe’s mother said gaming was a distraction from the pain, and the exactly the mental stimulation his intelligent mind needed. For Gabe, Breath of the Wild was like a reason to live. His mother understood that, and was driven to try and get in touch with Nintendo so he could play it:
“He was, in that game, what he was not in life…I could go out walking and Gabe could not join me. When I did, I thought about the fact that he could not get the benefit of fresh cool air and the freedom of just walking in our wooded neighborhood. When I saw the Zelda game, I realized that this was the wonderful world he wanted.”
Gabe’s brother Jaime took things into his own hands, submitting a post on Reddit to help make a young man’s wish come true. Thousands of up votes later, Nintendo did get in touch, making it possible for Gabe to travel to Nintendo of America’s headquarters in Seattle, where Gabe was able to play his favourite thing in the universe for 30 unforgettable minutes. Jaime could tell from his brother’s voice that “he was filled with pure happiness”. And Gabe was revived with the hope that if he kept fighting, he would make it till Breath of the Wild’s official release day. Sadly, Gabe passed away in January just weeks after turning 27. His brother Jaime is still processing what happened, but come this March, he’ll still be playing games with Gabe in spirit:
“Someone mentioned that when I play Breath of the Wild, I won’t be alone…Gabe will be my Navi, helping to guide me through the game the whole time. I really love that thought.”