Very good, very good.
My brother and I are very close, in age (~ 2 years) and as friends. My interest in games is pretty much inseparable from my interest in Japanese media and culture, and my brother doesn’t care as much about that stuff. Not to pigeonhole either of us too much, but I like Metal Gear, JRPGs, Devil May Cry, indie games clearly inspired by Japanese design, etc., and my brother is into Immersive Sims (I hate that genre name, god), Dark Souls, Mass Effect, and occasionally huge loud American AAA stuff. (I love Half-Life, he loves Steins;Gate, whatever, that’s beside the point.) For some reason I’ve been thinking about this lately: if I somehow grew up an only child, what butterfly effect-altered dimension would I be living in instead? My brother is the one who begged our parents for a game console in the first place. I don’t even know how he knew what a Game Boy Advanced [sic] was, but he wanted one. This is going to get insufferably speculative and question-marked.
My brother and I were friends with another pair of brothers, through whom we became acquainted with Smash Bros., Soulcalibur, Pokémon, Sonic, Zelda, and Mario Party. If I didn’t have my brother, I might not have been friends with these guys in the first place. I surely would have found out about all those extremely popular games at some point, but when? And how? I don’t have a particular attachment to any of those series now, but they must have had some kind of effect on my developing brain. The Dreamcast aesthetic sensibility of Sonic Adventure 2 certainly did…
Fast-forward: My brother is extremely into Mass Effect and Dark Souls, obviously two very popular games. If I played games at all, I definitely would have played Dark Souls without my brother, and might have had a better time with it (he can be helicopter-y and gave me too much advice when I played it). Would I have played Mass Effect? I don’t care about Mass Effect that much now, and some of that is down to taste, but I wonder if it’s partly my unconscious effort to get to know things my brother doesn’t care about at all (cannot understate the joy of discovering something for oneself).
On the other hand, I wonder how exactly I’ve influenced my brother in this respect. Like I said, I’m the little brother, but it was I who didn’t let him touch my games! :o Not that I wouldn’t let him play them or anything, no—I mean this literally. No touching! I would let him play my games if I could be the one to put the game in the console with my scrubbed-clean hands. I had some real bad OCD which I “discovered”/“acquired”/became afflicted by* in high school and any games I bought new from that point onward (on consoles we didn’t already share) stayed locked away in my room. I felt uncomfortable at the idea of having anyone else touch them with their greasy, clammy, bacteria-ridden mitts. Washing your hands beforehand doesn’t matter if you turn the faucet off with your bare hand, and then touch the bathroom doorknob, and then scratch your face, and so on, on and on. I felt bad about it but I knew he didn’t care that much, so I didn’t find motivation in feeling bad to deal with this problem.
*(Clearly I have no idea what language to use to describe this topic; I haven’t completely gotten rid of the habits I formed during this period but they’re much more manageable now. It suffices to say, however, that I felt like I’d been training for half my life to deal with all of 2020’s newly adopted precautions to preserve public hygiene.)
Anyway, this of course meant he couldn’t play with my handheld consoles. Would he have given Persona 4 a try if I’d (been able to) let him use my Vita? Doubtful. Would he have gotten into Shin Megami Tensei at all if he’d been able to try Strange Journey? Probably not. I’d have liked to talk to him about those 3DS Fire Emblems. You didn’t get a 3DS, Bro, it’s your fault! If I weren’t a FREAK and he’d been able to freely play whatever PS3 games he wanted, I don’t know, would his taste be at all different from what it is now? Maybe not, but even though we weren’t baby children when this became a problem for me, this was all still at a time when we were growing up and figuring out what we really liked. Maybe he would’ve discovered something he wouldn’t have otherwise. This is a story of many "if only"s.
We’re both playing Dusk right now and both love it. There is crossover between our tastes, but it’s been a very long time since we’ve played the same game at the same time and liked it.