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    19th June 2013

    Two Player Mode…

    My friend Matthew got married over the weekend to a wonderful woman named Bridget. They both teach at the same middle school in Colorado Springs, and they seem to like each other well enough, so it was time to get married.

    I’ve known Matthew since we were 9th graders, maybe even a little before, and we’ve spent a great amount of time together. We discovered then that if we hung out together we wouldn’t be quite as much of outcast nerds as we were on our own. We ran track and cross country together, were in the worst class ever together, and we were even roommates for one semester at Calvin College. We took our prom dates in the sketchiest limo ever (my mom’s van with the seats removed and mattresses/pillows installed, gave up washing our hair for Lent at the same time, and have shared both good and bad times with one another.

    We got nicknames from a 1930s picture at Pingree Park one summer that are still occasionally used by friends: Chilipicker (me) and Junk (Matthew).

    We had too many inside jokes, and many of them I would think twice about posting on this blog.

    At the rehearsal dinner I was one of several who offered stories and toasts. After threatening but then declining to tell inappropriate stories from Matthew’s life, and after asking everyone present to observe a moment of awkward silence, I thought of something from Matthew’s life that I thought was appropriate that I also would like to share with you:

    When we were roommates at Calvin, Matthew brought along his NES, the original Nintendo system. He played a lot of Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!!, tried to set personal records beating Mario, and we occasionally played Tecmo Bowl together. But there was one game he had lost that he really wanted to play again.

    Bubble Bobble.

    He talked about it like it was the most amazing game ever. I thought it was nostalgia that made him think this, but then, after seeing the ending of the game, I changed my mind (Matthew had not actually seen the ending before that spring, I believe). I don’t remember if he ordered it, or if his dad sent it as a present, or something else, but he got it in the mail, and he knew then that he had a mission.

    Matthew played that game everyday, maybe for half of the spring semester. He was determined to beat it. When he finally did, we both watched as these words scrolled down the screen:

    “BAD END
    THIS IS NOT A TRUE ENDING!
    TRY AGAIN WITH YOUR FRIEND.”

    You could not truly win Bubble Bobble on your own – and Matthew had been playing on his own. The only way to get the happy ending was to finish the game in two player mode with both players still alive at the end.

    Up until last weekend, Matthew – and Bridget – had been playing in one player mode, and he couldn’t get to the true ending, he couldn’t truly win. But now, together, they enter two player mode. A place where richer possibilities for adventure and happiness exist. Together they can now experience the true ending.

    Below are the happy endings for Bubble Bobble. I think the one on the bottom is the best. What video game has a moral at the end telling the players that the most important magic is love and friendship?! Awesome.

    “CONGRATULATIONS!
    BOBBY, AND BABBY.
    YOU SAVED YOUR LOVERS,
    BETTY AND PATTY AT LAST!
    BUT YOUR ADVENTURE
    IS NOT OVER YET…”

    “CONGRATULATIONS!
    NOW, YOU FOUND
    THE MOST IMPORTANT MAGIC
    IN THE WORLD.
    IT IS
    LOVE AND FRIENDSHIP!”

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    Copyright 2005 by Daryl Holmlund - All rights reserved.