Tuesday evening I learned that an old friend of mine had shuffled off this mortal coil. Tim Carter is a good friend of mine, we had met in high school and had bonded well over the years there. We played role playing games, we headead out to the big city of Sault Ste. Marie to catch a movie, play some video games and just pal around. A couple of small town boys adventuring in the city.
Even after two years when he transferred to another high school in another district we kept in touch. Going to his home for the odd weekend of playing Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, Top Secret, or even Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles & Other Strangeness. Tim certainly had a creative eye the adventures he ran were jam packed full of mystery and intrigue and cap it off with a whole ton of action. He was more of a “director/producer” than a game master at the table. It’s one of the reasons why he went off to cinematography course after he graduated high school.
I still remember that summer the year all of us were going our separate ways; I was heading off to North Bay, ON he along with Anthony C were heading to Toronto, ON to further their education. This was the year that DC Heroes Role Playing Game hit the shelves and I picked it up. We had a blast playing it and will be one of the most memorable summer games ever. It was also the time when frequently headed to Sault Ste. Marie, ON as well to spend the evening at an arcade (I think it was Top Hat Amusements) watching a ton of quarters disappear into games like Gauntlet, Demolition Derby, and Off Road. And, cap off the evening by hitting the cinema and catching the latest action or horror flick on the silver screen.
Our game weekends would begin Friday evening and last til Sunday Night (and sometimes splashed over to early Monday mornings) we would go from each home and play til our hearts content. When it was Tim’s turn to host he would make it a really cool event other than just gaming, we’d go out and shoot some photos, explore the area some. He’d always had a movie scenario going through his head. He had a camera in his hands and he’d want to act out a scene that would probably look cool on the big screen; especially the night we stormed his parents house in a mock rescue situation. Our imaginations in high gear, the look of non-pulsed surprise on his mom’s face as we hit the kitchen and took the baked goods. Good times, good times indeed.
Then we went our separate ways seeking our niche in the world. It was hard keeping contact with each other since it the age before the internet. Addresses constantly change as well as phone numbers and we did get to group every now and then; a once in a blue moon kind of thing. Our lives constantly in a state of flux. Our face to face meetings became few and far between and the last time I really got to see Tim was nearly two decades ago, after the birth of my eldest daughter. He had popped by and spent a weekend with us, we gamed and went down and had a few pints and chatted over that DC Heroes campaign that I ran.
I would head off down to Toronto a few times and crash at his place once or twice a year for a while until life happened to get in the way. Work, schooling, work, etc… that old song and dance. We didn’t have social media like today so sometimes there were months when we didn’t communicate but when we did we’d chat til the cows came home.
Tim had gotten into the gaming community in Toronto and had play-tested a couple of games and he is the one who clued me into Nexus: The Infinite City back in 1994. I was working in a comic book store at the time and he mentioned it was a “very cool metaverse game” that I’d probably like since I was into that sort of theme.
He also handed me a rough copy of a sci-fi rpg he had put together: called Corefire. It was a science-fiction game along the vein of Traveller but was focus on a world that was being terraformed. He imaged it to be a “jungle conflict” on an alien world. The game sits on the shelf nestled in with the other role playing games in my collection.
Core Fire was a rough draft and he wanted me to have a look at it. I did and I liked it. In true Tim C fashion it was very detailed. It sort of reminded me of Aliens movie: the players are part of a military/mercenary unit discovering a new world, protecting outpost and battling not only alien critters but some greedy corporations as well. I think he had updated it with a rewrite but nothing else ever came to light with it.
We kept in touch over the years with the odd call now and then, but especially reconnected on social media in the past five years. We chatted up a storm through messenger and then suddenly several weeks back all that stopped. He had deleted some of his accounts and I just brushed it off as mid-life crisis. Maybe I should of clued in more or be a better friend and reaching out to him. I didn’t realize that he was going through a dark chapter in his life.
The news of his death hit me like a ton of bricks, unlocking a flood of memories and moments that replay in my mind like a bad 80’s movie montage for some strange reason.
Tim, I’m going to miss you old friend.
I love you and I’ll miss you, brother.
(Pictured from left to right is Matt C, Me, and Tim C.)