You know how this whole pandemic has been a terrifying voyage of discovery in terms of what's important to you? It might be that you discovered the local cafe round the corner was actually a massive highlight of your day in normal circumstances, or that despite moaning frequently, you actually did love going to the gym. It might simply be that you vastly underestimated how nice it was to pop into your local Tesco without having to queue up for an hour first. One thing I've learned is that I miss Bomberman. It's an absurd realisation. Right up there with my failed efforts to make good arancini, because I really miss good arancini.
See, Bomberman is the great leveller with me and a good friend. Super Bomberman R on the Xbox One, to be exact. He probably won't mind me saying but I'm better than him at Street Fighter and Mario Kart. It's solely down to me spending more time than him playing games, but it's a bit awkward when things become so one-sided. When it comes to Bomberman, though, we're both equally not very good. Neither of us had played it before so we came to it as a 'new' thing, immediately picking the co-op mode so we could work together at defeating the nefarious AI. As we were so rubbish at it, we'd keep the AI set to easy and simply enjoy the absurdness of the game.
Our lack of ability would often lead to a fantastic amount of chaos. Bomberman isn't a complex game but my word, do you have to keep an eye on a lot of different things. We'd find ourselves getting louder as one of us would suggest trying to pin an enemy player in a corner so we could blow them up. Invariably, cheeky comments would emerge and every once in a while, one of us would accidentally blow the other up by mistake (usually my fault, to be fair). That led to more laughter, more cheeky comments, more simply enjoying the mindlessness of it all. Every once in a while, an enemy would take one of us out and the other would vow revenge or exclaim a theatrical 'Noooooo!' after it happened.
Frequently, Super Bomberman R would be a palate cleanser amongst our biggest love - watching films together. After a long week, we'd meet up, watch a film or two and then unwind with a session of Bomberman. Blowing stuff up (in a game) is fun when the real world has been frustrating all week. Sometimes, it seemed like the thing that would pick our moods up the most. Awkwardly, it's the kind of thing that both of us could do with now, I'm sure, while times are trickier. It just wouldn't be the same online.
Occasionally, we'd dip into the far calmer Ashes Cricket, courtesy of a Xbox Game Pass freebie, but it's Bomberman that felt most cathartic. For now, it languishes on my hard drive, untouched for months, waiting for the eventual day we can return to it.
I can't wait.