It was C.S. Lewis who said, “Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: ‘What! You too? I thought I was the only one.’” I had precisely this feeling when I met Eric in the winter of 2010.
It was online, on a website we both viewed. He made a comment, which, out of mere curiosity, led to a click. I discovered a blog he had at the time, ostensibly about video games, but really it was a launching pad for Eric’s razor sharp wit and delightfully contrarian views. I was hooked. Soon I was commenting, and those comments transitioned to emails. The friendship developed instantly.
As I was wont to do, I quickly tried to impress him with my video game industry credentials, not understanding yet that his contributions to the field far outstripped my own. Amusingly, he humored this, especially considering that a constant feature of our friendship was his always good natured barbs and jibes.
Soon, I invited him to my weekly gaming group, which at the time was only myself and one other friend. We were playing Monster Hunter Tri, a game he was already highly skilled at, so once again, he held his tongue as I tutorialized the game for him, not knowing that his skill at gaming dwarfed my own to an incalculable degree.
For those who knew Eric, this eschewing of personal aggrandizement was a hallmark of his character. Only later did I learn of his career, first as editor of Gamefan magazine at a young age, then writing game strategy guides for Prima, then his success as a freelance writer. His accomplishments were always downplayed by him. He never seemed to think they were important.
What was important to him, however, were his friends and family. I can speak to the former. I met Eric at the precise moment that I needed a friend who was always available. God’s Providence provided a loyal man such as him to laugh with, talk to, and receive advice from. Eric’s loyalty to his friends was incredible. Every birthday and Christmas was remembered with a gift, a rarity among adults. If you needed anything, he would provide it. He was always there for us.
As implied by the former sentence, I was not the only one to befriend Eric over the years. He had an incredible ability to rally like-minded friends from just about every corner of the world. While those around him in New Hampshire may not have realized this, Eric cultivated friends online from everywhere. Because of this, my circle of friends expanded. Soon, my friendship with Eric became friendships with people from Illinois, Utah, Canada, and Mexico. I have met many of these people in person. They are all great friends now. What person is able to enrich the lives of the people they know this much?
I was also blessed to come to know Mariangela, who in these past years knew Eric better than anyone else. I thank God for this, because Eric derived as much happiness in his life from her than anything else in it. I just wish that life, with us, was longer.
Yet now is the time to remember a great man for who he was. One of the most gifted writers to ever pontificate about video games, a skilled carpenter, and most certainly a genius intellect. A hilarious man, who would use the saltiest language with elan, causing all of us to laugh and smile. And, ultimately, a man of deep feeling, who loved animals, children, and most of all, his family and friends.
For me, I will take the memory of Eric as a personal challenge: to be better, and to do better, for everyone in my life as well as myself. For I can think of no better tribute to this person, than to be a better husband, father, friend, and human being.
Our Wednesday meeting online, informally known as game night, will be continued, and will now be our own personal memorial, week in, week out, for as long as we are able. The comfort of our fellowship, created by Eric, will now forever be enshrined as a living monument to him.
I hope these words show a side of him that perhaps was hidden. Know that he was well loved, and will be greatly missed.