Twenty years ago on Christmas Day, Andrzej Zamoyski and his brother Adam spent the day playing with their new toy: a Nintendo Entertainment System. Andrzej was Mario, and he let his little brother play as Luigi.
"More than a decade later, we again found ourselves sat side by side, this time testing Fable at Lionhead Studios," Andrzej told Kotaku. "Both of us being of course brilliant, it wasn't long before we were designing games ourselves, but now at separate companies."
Life, Andrzej continued, isn't as predictable and linear as a video game, however. While working at Headstrong Games in London, Adam was with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. After three years of difficult treatment, Adam appeared to be completely recovered and went to work at Zynga Mobile UK.
This past February, Adam's Leukemia relapsed. "With the failure of chemotherapy, Adam's best hope now is a bone marrow transplant," said Andrzej. "Despite only 35 percent odds, it turns out my bone marrow is a perfect match."
Andrzej, who works as a senior game designer at Lionhead, hopes to donate his marrow by the end of the year. There are no guarantees that the procedure will work.
Ever since Andrzej discovered he was a perfect match, he's had a pun floating around in his head, something that would make a tense situation less so and hark back to their bond—nothing just with the gaming industry, but with each other.
"Last week was Adam's 27th birthday and I resolved to take the pun as far I could, building a fully customized replica of the original Super Mario Bros box," said Andrzej. "Ironically the pun proved so witty, Adam didn't even get it until he read the story on the back—either that or he was too busy looking at the screenshots."
Adam is currently being treated in University College Hospital London. His brother is collecting donations to improve the hospital's leukemia unit; Microsoft said it would double the amount raised. Click here to donate.