Sunday, July 24, 2011

"Winning" Mario Brothers

You know how I always give up on video games? This story is about that.

Zane and I have been working on the New Super Mario Bros. for the Wii for two months. Friday night we decided to finish it. We were already at Bowser's castle, so we only had to beat that level. We played for three hours with a short brownie break.

Let me set the scene for you:

  • Zane wanted to quit at 10:30, but I made him keep playing until we won. 
  • We looked up cheats for how to get more mushroom houses to stock up on power-ups. 
  • We entered the castle with 20-something lives for each of us, and several different power-ups. 
  • The end of the castle involves a ginormous Bowser chasing you while breathing fire balls on a moving-platform obstacle course over a lake of fire. 

We kept dying at this part of the game. (It's a little further a long than the picture, but you get the idea.)

Finally at midnight, we plowed through. We had no power-ups left, so we did it without any extra help. I had just died in the fire, so my little Luigi was in a bubble. Zane made it to the giant button which ends the game, and I yelled, "Go, go go!!" He jumped on the button.

Then it was over. I felt weird.

I didn't get to hit the button. In the moments when Mario and the Princess were walking out of the castle, I realized how anti-climactic the end was, how I was unable to participate in the final blow, how we had played this whole game together, how it was the first one I was ever going to finish. But I didn't get to finish it. Zane finished my direction.

I don't even know if I can say I beat the game.

It was a depressing feeling. Zane felt horrible for not waiting for me, but I had been yelling at him to "Go, go, go!" It's natural that he would go ahead and hit the button. If I had been thinking more clearly I might have yelled, "Wait for me!!!" But it's too late. I inadvertently robbed myself of the satisfaction of winning.

I woke up Saturday reliving the excitement of jumping from platform to platform, escaping Bowser, but it felt unfinished. Zane said I still won, that we did it together, but it just doesn't feel that way.

I guess I should start another game.
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