You know the comment threads under YouTube videos? Of course you do. Generally people use them as a platform to be sarcastic and poke fun at each other. But every now and then you might unearth a quote that moves you; one that forces you to do something special.
When filmmaker John Wikstrom came across one such comment on YouTube clip “Can Video Games Be A Spiritual Experience?” he was instantly struck. Something in the commenter’s words had really resonated.
Wikstrom was so inspired and moved by the heartfelt reply from YouTube user 00WARTHERAPY00 that he felt compelled to make a short film about it. He called it “Player Two” – and it will have you in tears.
In just under two minutes Wikstrom relays the comment through a narrator alongside an emotional soundtrack. It seems too simple; how could one comment warrant a whole video? Well, just wait and see.
The script for the whole video is 00WARTHERAPY00’s original comment. Here’s how it begins, “Well, when I was four, my dad bought a trusty Xbox. You know, the first ruggedy, blocky one from 2001.”
The story takes a tragic turn, “We had tons and tons and tons of fun playing all kinds of games together,” the narrator continues, “until he died when I was just six.”
For a long time the memories of playing with his father must have been too hard to bear for 00WARTHERAPY00. “I couldn’t touch that console for ten years,” the narrator reveals.
Eventually, though, the bereaved YouTuber felt confident enough to dig out the old games console and start it back up. But once he began playing he noticed something very strange indeed.
“We used to play a racing game,” the narrator explains. “Rally Sports Challenge; actually pretty awesome for the time it came.” The teenager was busy playing the game when he noticed something on the screen.
“Once I started meddling around,” narrator continues, “I found a ghost, literally.” 00WARTHERAPY00 had discovered a remnant of his past; it was there, right in front of him. What it was, however, should have disappeared a long time ago.
“You know when a time race happens,” the narrator says, “the fastest lap so far gets recorded as a ghost driver.” Can you see what’s coming next?
“Yep, you’ve guessed it,” the narrator reveals, “his ghost still rolls around that track today.” Amazingly this teenager had found a way to reconnect with his father years after he had passed away.
“So I played and played and played,” the narrator explains, “until I was almost able to beat the ghost; until one day I got ahead of it, I surpassed it.” But what would happen if the YouTuber overtook it? Would his late dad’s record lap be lost forever?
“I stopped right in front of the finish line,” the narrator says, “just to ensure I wouldn’t delete it.” It’s a beautiful moment; this young YouTube user isn’t ready to give up his dad just yet.
The final comment made by the narrator is a real tear-jerker. As the teen’s dad’s car races past his on the screen, he utters one final word, “Bliss.” It’s heartbreaking.
Since the release of “Player Two” in April 2016 the video has been viewed more than 800,000 times. Hundreds of thousands, it seems, have been moved by its sentiment.
“Man. As someone who has lost his Dad and grew up gaming with him this really hit me hard. Beautiful video,” YouTube user AugustGreen0606 said in the comments section beneath Wikstrom’s video. Many, many others have been affected in much the same way.
“This is wonderful story! I can’t stop crying! I just got wonderful memories…!” said fellow YouTuber Hugo Vega a little further down the thread. Wikstrom, it transpired, had really touched a chord.
Eduardo Baptista was one of many YouTubers who also reached out to 00WARTHERAPY00. He wrote that he and his friends in South America were “moved” by his and his father’s story, and that he “really hopes” his dad can be remembered.
It’s not surprising that 00WARTHERAPY00’s comment brought out so much emotion from people; his story has a truly powerful message. Maybe video games can be spiritual – there’s certainly no denying it in his case.