Friday 19 July 2019

Gifting the Love and Life of the Sport With GripShift

This is a game that is more liked for its attachment to a particular moment or event, though the game itself is still a good one. Since 1999, I’d been a spectator every British Transplant Games event, supporting my dad who would be taking part. But for those who don’t know, what are the Transplant Games?

Transplantation is the process of replacing an organ within your body that is no longer working thanks to a donor giving one of theirs. It’s an operation that brings new life to those who receive it, and the Transplant Games are a celebration of that new life. They also help raise awareness of the need for transplantation and give thanks to those donor families who have supported it.

In 1999, my Dad had his first operation to replace a kidney, which had been a great success. And in that year, the Games were held in Birmingham. Every year, the Games move to a different city, which offers plenty of opportunities for seeing the sights around the UK. We as a family had travelled to many cities throughout the years and been to many sights within those areas, watching my Dad competing in snooker, darts, and other sports during the event.

It came to a temporary halt in 2011, though, when that kidney started failing and he started on dialysis – which is where a person has to remove waste products and excess fluid to replace with clean fluids owing to kidney failure. Since he was doing peritoneal dialysis, he was doing this manually four times a day. We were waiting for the call which would say a new kidney had been found, and that eventually happened in 2015. That was a memorable moment for many reasons, but he had been gifted life once more. And he’s continued to go to the Games and is now manager for the Birmingham team.

As I said, GripShift is a game liked more for its attachment to a particular moment or event, and it was in 2007 – during a memorable Transplant Games in Edinburgh – that I first got my hands on this game for the PSP. Preowned from Game, while exploring the city centre during an off day from events. I enjoyed seeing the sights and watching the sports happen [friendly competition is advised, but everyone competing is a winner here], but on downtime I’d be playing games on that PSP, and GripShift was the game I’d chosen.

Different from a regular racer, it featured a more puzzle/platformer type experience with courses floating in the air. No resemblance of the real world here. There are three objectives to complete and many levels to complete them on during the challenge mode. Race mode only had two objectives, but they were made harder thanks to opponents racing alongside you and being able to mess things up with items.

For me, none of that really mattered. There was a track editor, and that was all I cared about. I’d be in that editor creating and playing plenty of my own tracks, not even touching those within the game. In fact, I probably got more out of the extra games than the main modes. Forever will I have only progressed to the easy levels on both modes.

I’d bought the Xbox 360 version of this in 2013, and probably because there was no level editor I’d retired it very quickly. Now, six years later, I’m returning to it and having fun with it, despite most of the extras not being there. It gives me a chance to progress through the main modes that for so long I had put off.

I still own the PSP version of GripShift – that same one from Edinburgh – and while I no longer play that version, it’s a reminder of the fun time I have had through the Transplant Games and the people I have met. While I won’t be going to the Games being held in Newport this year, I’m still happy that my Dad continues to live thanks to the gift he’s twice been given, and maybe I’ll be going again next year.

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