I’ve recently been quite addicted to the game Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. It’s pretty darn good and I strongly recommend it. Its reinvigorated my interest in a series which had recently failed to excite me as much.
One particularly appealing feature of the game is the inclusion of ‘spirits.’ Every time a Smash Bros. game comes out, people hope to see the inclusion of many different characters; the problem is that it would never be practical for all of them to be included. Every obscure and forgotten character is at least one person’s favourite. This is where the spirits come in: instead of putting all of the other characters in as playable characters, they instead attach the ‘spirit’ of the character to one of the playable characters, who then borrows something from them. So, for example: Rattly the snake from Donkey Kong Country 2 can give other fighters the ability to jump higher (as he can) or Navarre from the first Fire Emblem game gives you a Killer Edge sword by default, which is the sword he has in that game. It means that your favourite character can always play a role in the game’s battles, so long as you have their spirits with you.
And when you stop to think about it, isn’t that rather beautiful? Because it make me think that that is very similar to how it feels to have absent friends. Whether they’re someone who has moved away, someone who you are no longer friends with, or someone you can’t see for any other reason – there spirit will still always be with you and playing an active role in your life. It could be something big, like your whole way of looking at the world, or a big life decision that you made based on the decision of a friend, or it could be something small: maybe they introduced you to a type of food that you grew to love, maybe you picked up a certain turn of phrase from them, maybe they taught you a little trick which you use in day to day life, maybe a certain song will always remind you of a cherished memory with them, perhaps they encouraged you to try a TV show you grew to love, maybe you’re extra careful to avoid a mistake after a bad experience with someone or maybe they just gave you a nice memory which is fun to retreat into when you’re feeling sad. Whatever it is, if you stop to think about it, the spirit of every friend is always with you in some way or another, always enhancing your experience of life. I think that’s beautiful.