Retro Gamer Pops the Question by Rewriting Metroid


Nothing says “I love you” more than a modified bounty hunter questing to stop space pirates from exploiting floating vampiric jellyfish creatures.

So you thought you were geek-chic using 16-bit Mario sprites on your wedding invitations, did you? You thought you’d proven your nerd prowess by dressing as Harley Quinn at the altar, huh? Well, think again. Your lovable antics might have passed for dork back in 2011, but this is 2012, baby, and retro gamer Jered McFerron just literally changed the game. No really, he reprogrammed Metroid to propose to his girlfriend.

“My girlfriend and I are best friends that have a lot in common,” McFerron wrote on his blog. “One of the connections we first made was with videogames. We love to play retro games together, as well as some modern games too. When it came time to think of a proposal, I immediately went to videogames.”

Aside from simply being a videogame lover, McFerron is also a skilled tinker/programmer, who rewrote all of Metroid for PC in 2003 from scratch in C++ based on his experiences of playing it on the NES. As a major personal project of his, McFerron had often ragged on his sweetheart during their dating days for never taking the time to try it out. So when the time came for him to ask the big one, he took it upon himself to rewrite the game a second time specifically for his newly-hatched scheme, and to finally up the pressure for her to try out what she thought was a pixel-for-pixel port. Fortunately for McFerron, she finally gave in and sat down at the PC to give it go.

“The game flow follows the normal path,” he writes of her experience in the game. “Go to the left, get the ball. Go to the right, begin the long climb up the corridors of Brinstar. The first difference, however, is that I’ve sealed off the entrance to gold Brinstar. Oh you can get through. For 100 missiles!” Let me just interject something of my own into this quote here. Oh, snap! Moving on. “Fortunately for me, she was not familiar enough with Metroid to notice these changes, so things went along nicely.”

From there, his lady friend played through a (unbeknownst to her) specially altered version of the beginning of the game, ingeniously designed to compensate for her unfamiliarity with the title, and teach her about item rooms so she’d grasp the full effect of his final gambit.

The gambit in question was equipping a Chozo statue with an engagement ring instead of a standard item. And because this proposal clearly wasn’t nerdy enough already, McFerron ripped the Red Ring sprite from Zelda to use for the band.

“I would say it took about 2 seconds of shock to fully register, at which point she turned to see me on bended knee,” he described. “After the excitement and celebrating, I insisted she go back to the game and actually TAKE the ring! After all, it gave her all the upgrades in the game.”

I love this guy. I love that he took a common interest shared by both him and his girlfriend, and transformed it into the basis of an important, memorable moment, I love that he took the time to rewrite Metroid to give her a forced tutorial course on the importance of items before bending knee, and I love the fact that he actually programmed upgrades into the wedding ring, then made her go back and use it in game. Hats off, sir, and congratulations from all of us on going from single player to coop.

You can check out the rest of McFerron’s story on his blog.

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