Thank you SEGA for creating Judgment

So, this is something different for me. You see, me and my wife recently wrote letters to SEGA, thanking them for creating the game Judgment. Judgment is something really special to both of us, and we both felt that we should thank them in  at least some way. Even if no one ever reads it, it was something we wanted to say, and now I want to share my letter with everyone else out there as well. Normally I wouldn't post something like this, but Judgment is such a special case, and I feel like more of the world needs to know about it. Of course the following has been slightly modified to be published online -- but it's still 99% the same.

So yeah, I hope you guys like my letter, and if Judgment is something that is something to you as well -- why not do what we did and thank the developers too? I think a lot of people take for granted what these teams do for their fans, and in this case... It was something else.

Letter to SEGA

I usually don’t write things like this, but I feel like it’s something that needs to be said — or rather, it’s something I feel I needed to let everyone at SEGA and Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio to know. 

You see, I’m a fan of the Like a Dragon (Yakuza) series. I originally got introduced to the series back around 2011 when I was looking for something to play on my new PS3. People were telling me how great Yakuza 3 was, and I decided to take their advice and try it out. Honestly my biggest let down at the time was not having access to Yakuza 1 and 2 to truly appreciate it. It was fun, but I felt like I was missing so much. I figured I would never get a chance to go back, and I kinda put the series on the back burner. I skipped Yakuza 4, and 5, but when Yakuza 0 was announced it changed everything for me. It’s a game I felt I had to have, and I went out and bought it on day one. From then on out, I made sure to pick up every release, and have been a fan since. However, things changed with Judgment…

When Judgment originally came out, I honestly didn’t spend too much time with it. Don’t get me wrong, I had fun, but I had a lot going on at the time in my life. I was working at a new job, and things kept pulling me away from playing it. Looking back now, I feel like that was a blessing in disguise. You see, I had no idea what Judgment was really going to be about, nor did I ever expect it to be something that would hit so close to home. Not just for me, but for someone I hadn’t even met yet. Someone who would go on to become my wife.

When 2020 happened, and covid had us locked inside. The unthinkable happened. I met the girl of my dreams! She had just started working with my mom, and my mom felt like we both had a lot in common and should meet. So she set us up (although she tried to make it appear like it wasn’t a setup!) and we pretty much clicked from the moment we started texting each other. Her name was Allison, and one of the first things I learned about her was she had just lost her best friend — her grandpa. Sadly he had been fighting Alzheimer’s for the last few years, and Allison had been by his side every step of the way. She became an advocate for the Alzheimer’s Association, and started fund raising to help find a cure for the horrible disease. One of the first things she told me about in our texts was how close she was to her grandpa, and how she would be once again taking part in the Walk to End Alzheimer’s event — which she then invited me to. 

As for me, my grandma on my dad’s side had Alzheimer’s nearly my entire life, so this was something that effected me as well. I remember turning 6 years old and just seeing my grandma as my grandma at my birthday. I didn’t think anything of it at the time, but this would become one of my only memories of when she was herself. Sadly she would suffer a massive stroke not too long after, and it would eventually turn into full on Alzheimer’s. She didn’t remember who she was, she didn’t know who her family was, and almost daily she relived the realization that her own husband had died years before. It was horrible, and even as a little kid I realized just how sad it was that I would never really get to know my dad’s mom. It eventually got to the point where she even believed she was being held as a prisoner in her own house. She assumed her own son (who she no longer remembered) was her kidnapper, and she tried to escape almost daily. He didn’t let this stop him however. He still loved his mom, and did everything he could to make sure all her needs were met. He dedicated his life to taking care of her, and did so until the day she died. This is the grandma I knew until I was 14, and there was nothing that could be done. Alzheimer’s completely took her from us.

Anyway… Jumping back to 2020… It’s because of the walk that me and Allison finally met face to face. I invited her over to my house the day before so we could meet before the walk, but the walk itself was the first time we went out and did something together. It’s also when I got to meet her parents, and some of her other family members as well! Sure, it was a little awkward, but I had a great time, and it was for a good cause. Unfortunately, Alzheimer’s isn’t something you hear a lot about, and so many people take their own memories for granted. The sad truth is, many of us will grow old and develop some form of dementia, and many of the elderly population is currently living in this reality. So many people turn a blind eye to it however, but the problem continues to persist.

After dating for awhile, the PlayStation 5 version of Judgment released, and once again I bought it on day one. Again, I didn’t have as much time to play the original release, but I was hoping to change that with the updated version. So one day I asked Allison if she wanted to check it out, because I knew she had an interest in crime drama series. She said sure, and I put the game in. This was the first time we had really sat down and played through a game side by side. At first I feel like we were both just interested in the overall story and trying to solve the murder case, but once things took a turn… It shocked us both. 

The fact that Judgment revolved around Alzheimer’s was completely unexpected! Again, this is something not many people talk about, nor is it something you see in media of any kind. And not only did Judgment touch on the subject, but it went full in with the subject! Getting to visit the hospital where Alzheimer’s patients were being treated was just the tip of the iceberg, and seeing the stories being told hit very close to home. So much research went into developing this game — it was just flat out impressive. And it was very clear that it wasn’t just for the “entertainment.”. The way Judgment took such a serious topic, brought awareness to that topic, and let the world know how it really is — it seriously blew us both away. It was such a heart breaking story grounded in harsh reality, and seeing it all play out just made the story even better. It was something we both could relate to, and it was a case we both wanted to see solved. For Allison, things hit even closer to home due to the story’s setting (as Judgment took place in 2018 — the same year her grandpa was diagnosed with the disease), but I too couldn’t help but think of my grandma when some of the stories were being told. No game has really ever hit this close to home for me, and I can’t help but wonder how many other people out there felt the same way when playing the game. Or how many people came the realization themself of just how horrible Alzheimer’s really is.

Judgment might be a work of fiction, but the game’s messages, and themes are all so very real. It’s a story that can reach people, and change their outlook on life. 

Meanwhile, Allison continues to fight to find the REAL AD-9 — a cure to put an end to Alzheimer’s, and bring loved ones back to their families. It’s been a long battle, but every person can make a difference. The release of Judgment is also another step towards finding the cure, and bringing awareness to the world. I can’t thank everyone at SEGA and Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio enough. 

Thank you for everything.

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