A short documentary called Game of Life has gone live on Red Bull TV (opens in new tab).
It follows the story of 74-year-old RAF veteran and full-timer carer Garry Bowhill-Mann, who travels from Norfolk, England to California to meet his online gaming pal Mike Nolan, who also happens to be a services veteran in his 70s. The two veterans met playing The Division 2 and Ghost Recon and become best friends.
"While Garry’s life is getting lonelier and harder, he is escaping into another unexpected life," the official press release reads. "Late at night, he finds his own personal solace in a room that only he uses. There he transforms into a ruthless assassin, a seasoned soldier, a fearless flying ace. All through the liberation of video games."
Garry's granddaughter, 21-year-old Tallulah Self - who co-directed the documentary - came up with a plan to take her grandfather to California to meet his gaming buddy in real life and help "get back his wings."
“By taking my granddad on a journey across the world, I wanted to find the fun granddad I knew him to be when I was a child," Tallulah says, "and show him that really, almost anything is possible. I think sometimes we all need to be a little more fearless.”
The 24-minute film was produced by London-based production company Mediorite as part of its initiative "focused on excellent storytelling applied to human interest documentaries." Mediorite's head of creative content Leanne Rogers also helped direct the project and said: "To me, this is a story about unusual friendships across the ocean with contrasting characters which challenges our stereotypes of the elderly. As soon as I met Garry I knew this was a story I wanted to tell.”
The heartwarming story shows how video games help the two veterans connect with each other and the journey that leads them to meet in real life.
In our Dialogue Options video series, we explore what game worlds members of the team return to for comfort (opens in new tab), and you can watch it down below: