When they think about Remote Play, one of the most heavily publicized features of the PS4, most people probably limit that idea to the ability to continue playing from the bedroom or from the bathroom, but there’s more to the feature than meets the eye. It can allow those that are less fortunate than most of us to distract themselves a bit by keeping up with their gaming hobby even when they don’t have access to their home consoles.
A few days ago Sucker Punch retweeted the picture of a young man laying in his hospital bed playing inFAMOUS: Second Son via remote play. I was hit quite hard by the idea of such a young kid being unable to play with his favorite console, but still managing to reach it via Remote Play, and I wanted to know more. That’s why I reached out to his father, Alexis, and asked for his story.
The young hero of this story is Felix Morais Harvey, a nine year old Canadian kid that appears healthy at first glance. Yet appearances can be deceiving. Felix is affected by severe problems with his digestive system since birth, so he’s forced to spend a lot of times in hospitals as they treat him and run long tests during which he’s not allowed to move around much if at all.
That also means that he often needs to be far away from his home and from everything he holds dear, including his PS4. He’s currently hospitalized in Montreal, which is about 500 miles away from his home town of New Brunswick.
Felix is not a typical kid in a sense: His favorite superhero is Deadpool and he listens to jazz music (he loves Too Many Zooz), old French crooners, Bob Marley, punk rock and heavy metal, but of course he also love video games.
He adores all LEGO games, Portal 2 (which he played when he was just 7), Rock Band, the UDraw Tablet, the Batman Arkham series, Skylanders, Disney Infinity, LittleBigPlanet, Puppeteer, Just Dance (which helps him exercise), Ratchet & Clank, Sly Cooper and last but not least he loves inFAMOUS: Second Son, even if he never played the first two chapters of the series.
At times he’s allowed to play Assassin’s Creed games under supervision (he started to get into them by watching his father playing). Alexis mentions that they normally don’t let him play other M-rated games, and Call of Duty is off-limits for now.
Felix also loves the Octodad demo, which he plays every time he goes to the local game store. Basically, he’s a geek in the making. They say it’s in the genes, after all.
While his hospital stays (which are far from home) keep Felix away from his consoles, he’s allowed to bring the PS Vita along, and his parents let him play without too many restrictions. He’s home-schooled by a tutor provided by the school, so of course he has to keep up with his studies as well, and there are certain areas of the hospital in which he can’t play (medical imaging is one of those, for instance).
His father had tested Remote Play at home without issues, but he never expected it to work from a hospital 500 miles away. Yet, when Felix was on his bed and told him “wouldn’t it be fun to play Infamous right now?” He had to try. It took a little while to connect, and it failed once or twice, but then the UI of the PS4 actually came up on the screen. It was a little glitchy and pixelated at first but stabilized after a minute or two. Felix was then able to play and never complained about disconnections since.
And it definitely helps, as tests like the one portrayed in the picture above can last upwards of seven hours.
Ultimately, Felix may be a case many of us don’t think about when we connect our Vita to the PS4, but those in his conditions are far from rare. And while not all of them may have crafty dads like Alexis, it’s uplifting to know that features like Remote Play help them keep their minds away from their problems at least for a little while.
And for someone like me, who loves games, it’s heartwarming to know that our hobby can bring a smile to the faces of those that aren’t as lucky as we are, even when they’re forced to be so far away from home.
If you want to send Felix a message or let him know of your support, his mother Cindy holds a Facebook page chronicling his medical journey, and you can also help with his medical expenses if you feel so inclined.