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Games Connect Father and Daughter

Shannon Strawhun
Aiden Strawhun with her father, Jeffrey, at FGCU in 2014. This photo is Aiden’s favorite picture with her dad and was taken the moment Aiden found out she’d be going to college.

Aiden Strawhun works at Ubisoft Entertainment. The video game company created the Assassin's Creed and Far Cry franchises. Video games have been a major part of Aiden’s life, and she thanks one person in particular for her passion.

"My dad got me started probably was about five or six years old. I literally can't remember my life without video games in it," said Stawhun.

Strawhun’s father traveled a lot. She says he spent a lot of time waiting in airports, bored. He would always call her before his next flight.

"But my dad, he would always tell me about all the weird little video games he was playing on a Switch, Nintendo Switch. And one of his favorites before he passed away was House Flipper."

Six years ago, Jeffrey began having strokes. Aiden remembers a rather difficult summer during that time.

"We weren't sure if he was going to survive," Strawhun recalled. "And when you see somebody that you love so much, who's been nothing but an absolute superhuman to you your entire life, you know, and suddenly you see them weak. That's, it's hard."

"And the way my dad and I dealt with that, I would go downstairs in the afternoons after I was done with work for the day, and we'd watch HGTV together just all the time. Property Brothers or something like that, and just house flipping shows, right? He was obsessed with it."

"And that video game, House Flipper. It's pretty janky. It's, it’s very indie. But that has a really wonderful charm to it, I think. And I haven't been able to bring myself to play it just because so much of it was associated with my dad," said Strawhun.

"I recently picked it back up and started playing it and it just brought back so many of those warm and fuzzy feelings of being in the basement with my dad and chilling out, you know, while he's doing his thing you know, trying to rehabilitate his hands, trying to cognitively wrap his head around what he's been through and remembering how wonderful it was to see him accomplish his goals, you know, even if they were little goals, because after you go through something so traumatic and life changing like that. It was a wonderful time to see him regain his hope."

Strawhun is now establishing a scholarship at FGCU. She calls it the Hope Award, in honor of her father. The award targets underrepresented students seeking to pursue entertainment journalism.

"He was kind in a lot of ways. But he was really loving and very warm when it came to his family and he never would like to admit to anybody that he actually has a heart, but when it came to us babies, we were his entire world, and he never let us forget that."

"I just feel like, he’s one of those people that you only meet once in your entire life, and I’m really grateful that he was my dad."