Saturday, February 5, 2011

When Ideas and Bricks Click

I was ready to get engaged. (Spoiler alert: I got engaged.) I had the ring. I'd brainstormed for months about how to propose. I had ruled out entire categories of proposal ideas and narrowed it down to something simple, handmade, presentable anywhere, and romantically geeky. Now, with mere hours to pull anything together, the gravity of the situation finally got through my thick skull, and my brain started pumping out some ideas I could actually use.

All while watching random Internet videos my friend had sent me of people rapping about fast food at the drive-thru window, police cars crashing into telephone poles, and some guy flipping out about a "double rainbow."

The first hurdle was to stop thinking of grand plans that would impress and outdo everyone else who had ever gotten engaged. The only thing to be concerned with was doing something that was uniquely us. The second hurdle was determining that I'd be better off doing something uniquely me, because all my ideas revolving around my girlfriend's tastes ended up with me dressing up like David Bowie.

If I was to do something geeky based on one of my fandoms, it'd either need to be something with a strong personal/shared significance, or something that seemed inherently suited to a marriage proposal. Fortunately, I managed to pull off both.

The first thing that came to mind was Metroid--it's one of my favorite video game series, and my girlfriend was currently stubbornly struggling through the original NES game on her own (even though she'd openly admit that her forte with platformers is watching me play them). That was just the icing on the cake, though; the real reason Metroid seemed like a good idea was because of how perfect it would be to present her with a ring-bearing Chozo statue.

I considered the wisdom of attempting to manufacture a load-bearing Chozo statue in the last few hours I had to prepare anything. For some reason, I could only think of making the thing out of paper, until it occurred to me that I had a big bucket o' LEGOs in my closet.

Not only was I big into LEGOs growing up, but my gal and I had spent maaaany hours playing through LEGO Star Wars and LEGO Indiana Jones together--though the former was terrifically entertaining, the latter was more fresh in our minds as the source of all sorts of frustrations and disappointments. Not exactly the first association I wanted her to have with getting engaged.

Still, a LEGO sculpture of a videogame bird statue seemed like the romantically geeky thing to do. Super Metroid is what I was thinking of, but translating that into LEGO bricks would be far too complex, especially given my limited timeframe and the fact that I really had no idea exactly how many of the appropriately colored bricks I had to work with.

The only way I could think of making it work was to recreate the sprite art with LEGOs, effectively creating a 2-D sculpture with no more depth than a double-wide LEGO brick. Unfortunately, the regal Super Metroid sprite I wanted to use would probably be a little too complex, and the simpler sprite from the original NES Metroid always seemed a little creepy. ("Marry me! Boogedy boogedy!")

There was also the issue of looking at the sculpture from the proper angle--it only works when you're looking at it from the side. For the ring (presumably still in the ring box) to be facing her directly, she'd be staring at some neatly stacked double-wide LEGO bricks that didn't particularly look like anything from the front. A fun idea on paper, but still not quite perfect.

However, I was at least on the right track to do something feasible--after all, a 2-D LEGO sculpture would be little different from some bead art I'd seen of various characters from Mega Man.

Mega Man...

And then it clicked.

Mega Man 4, my favorite game in the series. Something uniquely me that she would appreciate and find geekily romantic. This was so perfect that I'm amazed it escaped me for so long.

Think about the bosses in Mega Man 4: Pharaoh Man, Toad Man, Drill Man, Dust Man, Bright Man, Skull Man, Dive Man, and...

Ring Man.

He had been there all along.

I would build Ring Man out of LEGOs, and have him present the ring to my girlfriend.

Time and materials permitting, I would also add Jewel Man from Mega Man 9. For good measure. And great justice.

I excitedly got to work.

...So much for a conclusion.

...And not using as many one-sentence paragraphs.

But next time--and this is a promise I can keep--there will be pictures.

[Continued in Part 4.]


Sara O said...

Well done!

I am also recently engaged to a geek! Huzzah!

I'm also struggling through Mega Man 1 on the NES for the first time since I was 8. So, I'm in her boat. I love to watch other people play. Sometimes to the point of throwing on a speedrun and taking a nap to the soothing beeps and bloops of the game. Wonderful, simply wonderful.It feels akin to the sweet comotose nap you get after christmas morning after the explosion of presents and paper and realizing you've gotten up way too early.

But I digress...

After beating his head against the wall for about three months to come up with a creative and suitable proposal, He broke down and gave me a long heartfelt speech after I found the ring box hidden in expensive chocolate!It's an arduous task on the part of the guy, especially when their inherent personality commands creativity. He kerploded. Too many ideas, too many trains of thought, too many boxcars...of...good intentions!

Kudos to you for reigning in your thoughts before your head kerploded! I'll look forward to seeing some lego mastery... legoistics?


Catie said...

I'm very much enjoying these brainstorming posts leading up to the eventual proposal. I can't wait to see the final product. (Though you dressing up like David Bowie would have been funny too.)

Flashman85 said...

Sara O: Thanks, congratulations, yay, and very creative (in that order)!

Catie: I'm glad! And I can't believe I actually seriously considered dressing up.