Alfred Gamble (8 April 1926 – 8 January 2006) was arguably the biggest fan of Oddworld and Abe, and was given by Oddworld Inhabitants a namesake tribute in the character of Alf. From Leicester, UK, Gamble was a war hero who became suicidal after his wife died. On a whim he purchased a PlayStation and Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee and, after playing it, had a newfound appreciation for life. Alf's Assistant described him as ‘
Always kind, cheerful and with impeccable manners ... Alf was our beloved fan.’
After a long illness, Alfred Gamble’s wife died ‘
on the day Abe’s Oddysee was born’, 19 September 1997. Gamble also lost children, including a daughter after a tragic accident. In his turmoil he contemplated suicide and even bought a gun. For some reason, in 1998 he used the last of his money to buy a PlayStation and several games, including Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee, which, after playing it, inspired him to continue living. Feeling he owed his life to the game’s makers, he handwrote a six-page letter to Oddworld Inhabitants. When Sherry McKenna read the letter aloud, it resulted in many Oddworld Inhabitants ‘
crying hysterically’, and to this day the story of Alfred Gamble remains McKenna’s most memorable experience, although she prefers to let Lorne Lanning tell the story.
Gamble stayed in touch with Oddworld Inhabitants, regularly sending them letters with stories of him game-playing adventures and photographs of his Oddworld collection. This collection included the two Abe games on the PlayStation, an Abe tattoo on his right forearm, custom-made Abe collages and posters, and custom-printed T-shirts. Gamble would save up his money to print colour copies of the Oddworld characters. Gamble appeared in the magazine PlayStation Zone.
In November 2000, Gamble was the second Fan of the Month on the relaunched official Oddworld website when the Alf’s Rehab & Tea section reopened. His 76th birthday was celebrated on the site’s main page in 2002. Later that year Gamble first connected to the Internet and joined the Oddworld Forums; he had problems posting and emailed Abe Babe for advice, but despite her help he never posted.
In his later years he spent a lot of time in and out of hospital, and on 8 January 2006 Alfred Gamble died at the age of 79. He was succeeded by at least a daughter and a granddaughter who gave their thanks to members of the Oddworld Forums who had posted their goodbye messages.
- Gamble, Alfred (30 July 2002). Alf Gamble abes’s profile. Oddworld Forums.
- Oddworld Forums members (10 January 2006 – 26 June 2007). ‘Sad News about Alfred Gamble’. Oddworld Discussion. Oddworld Forums.
- Alf (30 October 2000). ‘Fan of the Month - Alfred Gamble’. Alf’s Rehab & Tea. Official Oddworld website.
- Lanning, Lorne & McKenna, Sherry (10 August 2010). ‘Lorne Lanning and Sherry McKenna Discuss Oddworld’, p. 2. Features. games™ Official Website. Bournemouth: Imagine Publishing.
- oddsounds (16 March 1999). ‘Origin of alf’. Message 242 on the Exoddus Club. Yahoo! Groups.
- Alf (30 October 2000). ‘What's New November 2000’. Official Oddworld website.
- Oddworld Inhabitants (8 April 2002). ‘Happy Birthday Alf!’. ‘What's New April 2002’. Official Oddworld website.
- Oddworld Forums members (9–10 April 2002). ‘Happy Birthday Alf!’. Oddworld Discussion. Oddworld Forums.
- Cloverfield (7 March 2006). Post 12 in ‘Happy Birthday, Dear Alf Gamble!’. Welcomes & Birthdays. Oddworld Forums.