It was the most beautiful wedding I've ever had the pleasure of attending. Rob knew the groom from work. I didn't know the couple at all. But after hearing their vows to one another and spending a few hours surrounded by their families and friends, I feel as though I've known Ed and Emily—and their love for each other—forever.
There were no programs, very few decorations. There weren't even enough chairs for everyone. Most of the guests stood during the ceremony, which felt exactly right, as though we'd all just happened to gather here at the same day and time.
The couple walked arm in arm, holding flutes of champagne, to a rendition of the White Stripes' "We're Going to Be Friends" with one small lyrics change...
Walk with me, Emily / through the park and by the tree...which elicited a palpable shared smile among the congregation.
Ed and Emily exchanged vows they'd written themselves (the only appropriate choice for two writers, really). In lieu of the more traditional "readings" they played a video game together.
Passage feels more like an art piece than a game, but its "gameness" is crucial to its meaning; Passage presents an entire life in 5 minutes, and the choices the player makes change the outcome, to a point. One of the things a player can choose to do is join up with a partner:
You have the option of joining up with a spouse on your journey (if you missed her, she's in the far north near your original starting point). Once you team up with her, however, you must travel together, and you are not as agile as you were when you were single. Some rewards deep in the maze will no longer be reachable if you're with your spouse. You simply cannot fit through narrow paths when you are walking side-by-side. In fact, you will sometimes find yourself standing right next to a treasure chest, yet unable to open it, and the only thing standing in your way will be your spouse. On the other hand, exploring the world is more enjoyable with a companion, and you'll reap a larger reward from exploration if she's along. When she dies, though, your grief will slow you down considerably. [from the creator's statement, "What I was trying to do with Passage", by Jason Rohrer]
The game ends with death, first of the companion—a mournful "ohhh" broke the silence in the room when pixelated Emily suddenly became a pixelated tombstone—and then, a short time later, of the original player. Points collected, treasure chests opened, mazes explored all make no difference in the end: death comes to everyone. It's a very simple setup with huge implications.
Many tears were wiped away as the bride and groom stood to face each other once more, exchanged rings, and sealed their promise to each other......................................
It was a kind of celebration I had fantasized about but thought might not be truly possible. Everyone seemed truly happy to be present. There was no tension in the air, no friction whatsoever. Only joy. And joy and joy and joy.
This was not Ed and Emily's "Special Day." It was one spectacularly beautiful day in a lifetime of special days past and special days yet to come.