Sonic and Knuckles: 25 years of rocking on with Lock-On
No way? No way!
Priest: Family and friends, we are gathered here today to witness and celebrate the union between Sonic & Knuckles and Stuart Gipp in holy matrimony. Stuart has been in love with this beautiful cartridge since childhood and today, on its 25th birthday, the pair have decided to live their lives together as husband and wife, human being and videogame.
Stuart Gipp: Well, when you put it that way, it sounds weird.
Priest: It is my understanding that you have prepared your own vows, Mr Gipp?
Stuart Gipp: That's right. I've been waiting for this day for a long time, father.
Priest: Very well.
Stuart Gipp: Sonic & Knuckles, you have been the foremost light in my life for every second of your two-and-a-half decades. While Sonic the Hedgehog 2 was an impressive step-up from the original Sonic the Hedgehog in terms of spectacle, Sonic the Hedgehog 3 was a little underwhelming on its own. Sure, it was good stuff, but with only six zones to Sonic 2's eleven, it was difficult not to feel short-changed. But then, in 1994, you came along and changed everything.
(The priest looks at his watch)
Stuart Gipp (cont): It's not merely that you combined with Sonic 3 to more-than-double the size of the game, creating one seamless, epically expansive experience. It's not the re-jigged level designs, the addition of Knuckles as a playable character with new routes and "acts", the inclusion of multiple bonus stages from both games... it's not even just the expanded battery save feature. It's everything and more. And the physical satisfaction of the way your innovative lock-on technology allowed cartridges to just... slide into you, was breathtaking.
Priest: This isn't really a vow.
Stuart Gipp: I'm getting to that! Anyway, Sonic & Knuckles, when you're locked onto Sonic 3 you're the best game of the 16-bit era, with astonishing depth of design, impressively vast levels that never feel aimless or meandering, brilliant graphics and sound and a super-cool logo that I might get tattooed on me some day. I vow that I will sing your praises as long as I live and always defend you from the imbeciles who claim you were never good.
Priest: (Long pause) Right then. Do you, Stuart Gipp, take Sonic & Knuckles to be your lawfully wedded wife, promising to love and cherish, through joy and sorrow, sickness and health, and whatever challenges you may face, for as long as you both shall live?
Stuart Gipp: I do.
Priest: And do you, Sonic & Knuckles cartridge, take--
Stuart Gipp: Look, mate, it's a game, it's not gonna say anything.
Priest: Very well. Now, if anyone here knows of any reason why this couple should not be joined in holy matrimony, let them speak now or forever hold their peace.
(The church doors burst open and a heavily pregnant Dynamite Headdy cartridge enters to a shocked gasp from the congregation, with the exception of my father, who is openly weeping)
TO BE CONTINUED (No. No, it won't. - Ed)