How “Robotech: Battlecry” Helped Better my Relationship with my Sister
Jarvis discusses how, after years of silence and indifference to his sister, playing multiplayer in Robotech: Battlecry with her brought them together.
My sister and I didn’t exactly get along. Our interaction was limited to casual greetings and forced hugs at the behest of my parents. For many years we really never spoke at all even though we lived under the same roof. I was seven years older than her, the big brother, and she was my little sister; that was about it. There were standards though: we never called each other names. It amazed me when my friends would refer to their siblings as “idiots” or other less endearing terms, that just didn’t happen in my house. It amazed them that we simply never spoke to one another and yet kept our relationship painstakingly cordial. Truth be told, I couldn’t imagine insulting my sister in the same way I couldn’t imagine insulting a perfect stranger.
We did have our outs with each other. When we did speak at length it was usually to argue. We did that more than play. As I got older I quit squabbling as often, not just because I thought it was pointless, but also because it was more trouble than it was worth. I settled with staying in my room and playing video games rather than fighting with my sister.
Now, I didn’t know anything about the story behind the Gamecube game, “Robotech: Battlecry.” I knew there were giant robots, which I didn’t particularly care for. I saw there was cell-shading, which was surprisingly well done. And I noticed that the game was full of escort missions, which I positively despised. Still, I played that game non-stop and garnered every medal and reward.
I unlocked a ton of multiplayer content, although it was content I could never play. I didn’t lack friends, but I was rarely allowed guests. I played single player missions over and over again, even playing out different scenarios in my head. I tackled missions in all different ways, but much of my unlocked content was only available in the multiplayer mode.
I’m not sure if it started out as me trying to reach out to my sister or simply my desire to play multiplayer with another human being—I’d lean closer to the latter—but I ended up asking my sister if she wanted to play with me. My sister liked video games; she had her own Gameboy Color. She had requested to play games with me in the past, but most of my games were too complicated for her or single-player. She didn’t hesitate to say yes when I offered. I didn’t expect much. Just a punching bag for me to test a few maps I’d never gotten a chance to really enjoy. I taught her the controls, showed her the different Veritechs, and we started up.
She lost a lot, it was to be expected. She’d never played the game or any game like it before. Still, she really enjoyed it and I enjoyed playing with her. There were times in the past that I can barely remember, insubstantial fleeting moments I know that we had fun like that before; I’ll always remember Robotech, though. It wasn’t like anything else we’d had fun doing in the past. I had played that game to death and had more fun with it than any other game in a long time and she was enjoying it, too. We laughed, we joked, and we heckled each other after we destroyed one another. We had Sniper only matches with fog turned on so we could stalk each other through the city and try to gun each other down without causing excessive collateral damage. We had high ground sniper matches where one person would fly up on the hills and take a position while another would hide in the arena. Then we’d try to find each other before one player destroyed the other. It was the most fun I’d had playing a game with someone in a long time.
I’ll always remember Robotech: Battlecry, not just because it was a fun game, but because it brought me and my sister together despite years of practical silence. To this day that game has helped me foster relationships with people who I now consider my friends, but I value the friendship it helped build between me and my sister the most. I still don’t know anything about Roy Fokker or the Zentradi, but I know that I had fun playing a video game with my sister. That was something more unreal to me than giant robots or wars in space.
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