We gamers are a lucky group. Though separated by race, nationality and even socio-economic brackets, we come together in spite of these differences for the simple love of the game. Be it studious strategy games, big budget arena battlers, high-octane shooters or a competitive fighter, chances are you will find someone from every corner of the globe. Sometimes, in times of need or sadness, we gamers even come together not for the love of the game, but for the love of each other, to offer support and the hope of a better tomorrow, to lift a friend above their adversity and to see them onwards to a better tomorrow.
This week the Australian game collecting community mourned the passing of longtime friend and brother Russell McCoid. The announcement of his passing on August 2nd came as a shock to all, his death was unexpected and in his passing he left behind a much loved wife and children now devoid of both his love and financial support.
To those who knew him offline, Russell was a loving father and husband who worked hard to provide a life for his family. Friendly and always willing to help a friend, Russell was the quintessential Aussie bloke. To those who knew him online Russel was a bastion of knowledge in all things retro gaming, always willing to help a newbie out with an appraisal of their collection or to provide advice on the best consoles and games to add to their collection.
Though it is impossible to ever replace Russel or the memories he has left with those that knew him many of the members of Gaming Auctions Australia wished to help support his family so that they could grieve in peace. So it was that the dedicated team of Zee Haj, Andrew Hunt and Shane Rindfleish came together with the generosity of their community to organise the largest auction in the group’s history. Donations consisted of a wide range of gaming memorabilia from collectors items such as the Majora’s Mask lamp pictured below to collections of games from the consoles that Russell loved so much. Bidding was fierce, not out of greed but out of love with items selling for prices far above their material worth.
Throughout the auction, there was an air of joviality and respect for all participants with members cheering on bidders as they raced to claim the winning number and by the time all was said and done their goal had been well achieved.
Though initially setting out to raise $2000 for the family, auction organisers were delighted to announce that together they had managed to raise well over $10,000 during the auctions precession with over a third coming from the auction’s final item.
Released as a farewell to the highly successful Club Nintendo program, the silver “Farewell Coin” seemed an appropriate choice to close out the celebration of a life that had meant so much to so many. With the embossed image of the iconic Mario brothers waving farewell, it was as though the games themselves were saying their last goodbyes to a long-loved friend.
Once again the bidding was fierce but as the auction progressed and the frontrunners decided that they would give the coin to the family members began donating en-masse as a final show of respect, what began as a closing sale of hundreds quickly grew into the thousands in a display of sheer love and altruism that left some in tears.
In the end, it wasn’t about the money or the games, it was about the love of a gamer and the life and joy he chose to share with the many who were privileged to know him. Rest in peace Russell and know that you were and always will be loved.
Chris Senz is a gaming journalist and contributor to PN2.