['Chewing Pixels' is a regular GameSetWatch-exclusive column written by British games journalist and producer, Simon Parkin. This time - a sad tale.]

The candle snuffed itself out, a wisp of smoke curling upwards and around the wooden beams of the cottage. He sat, body hunched, forehead rested dead upon the kitchen table. In front of him a row of empty bottles lined up like icicle soldiers, beside them a scrumpled note rocked in the near imperceptible breeze that breathed down the chimney and about the room. The fire was turned to embers. Through the numbness, he felt his body growing cold.

There were no tears: he had known this day was coming and so its arrival brought with it little surprise. He had conjured the sense of loss he now felt many times in the past, curious of the pressures and pains it would one-day inevitability exert on his heart. As such, he was familiar with today’s feelings, even if their intensity was far keener in reality than in imagining.

On the floor next to the chair lay a crumpled dress. It was pink with a rustling skirt, peach buttons and a ribbed bodice. There was a hollow in the centre of the bust, the hole left by a plucked jewel.

Earlier, before the drink and fury, he had torn the dress from her wardrobe, held it against his face and breathed in so deeply his lungs burned. Then he crushed it in his arms until his strength ran dry.

A rap at the door.

“Who is it?” he croaked, raising his head from the table.

“It’s-a-me. A-Luigi,” came the muffled reply.

“It’s open.”

“Brother,” Luigi nodded, closing the door behind him with a click.

“Here,” the first man said, voice brimming with sorrow, pushing the note across the table toward his sibling.

Luigi un-scrumpled the piece of paper, and in a low voice, read aloud what was written on it:

“It’s me, not you. I…

Actually, no, you fat f*ck. It’s totally you. You controlling little man. You coward. You imbecile. You steal the best years of my life and for what?

Your dreams, such as they are, are not my dreams. I see the nowhere we’re headed for and that irresistible vacuum makes me sick to the core. When I look back our memories stick in my throat.

Even if you could give me children I would not have them. Your line ends here, you toad. What have I been thinking?

It’s you, not me and I’m out.

Keep the dress.”

“Oy-vey,” grimaced Luigi, his eyes then narrowing and manner shifting from sympathy to something deeper and more solid: a black sort of resolve.

“I honestly don’t know what I did wrong?” the other man said, as much a question as a statement.

“We’ll make her regret this,” replied Luigi, ignoring him. “The things she’s done: the men, the drink, the gambling: her vices would make Houser blush. And you! You supported her through it all. She’s right in sense: you are an imbecile; an imbecile to have turned a blind eye to her ways for so long. She’s made a mockery of you and all you’ve ever done is make excuses for her.”

“I was away a lot. I guess.”

“Don't say that. Don't justify this.”

“It’s a reason, not an excuse.”

“You know where she is right now don't you? She'll be with him, Bowser with his green eyes, blonde hair and Aryan jawline. I’ve a good mind to go down there with some lead piping and beat them where they lay.”

As his brother worked himself into a familiar fury, he closed his eyes, letting the words wash over him, hot and indistinct, hearing but not listening. He held her in his mind, turning her like a doll, examining her frame from all angles.

His imagination didn’t wind back the clock on her face or body: there was no need. She was as beautiful today as she had ever been, a captivator whose claws were so embedded in his being he could never push himself off them.

He smiled. He always knew it would end like this but it had still been worth it. Even so, he could not divorce her, in the same way that he would be unable to cut off a gangrenous hand: the loss, while sensible and necessary to survival would be too unbearable. He’d rather not survive at all than survive without.

“…her name will be muck. Our children’s children’s children will hear stories of her infidelity and her myth will instruct our young girls and warn off our young men. I will make her infamous. I will cut her reputation to shreds on rumour, hearsay, and the grim truth of her...”

“No Luigi.” He cut his brother off. “These are not the stories we will tell. I will not have it.”

Here, in this moment of admonishment, a plan birthed.

They would tell stories about her, about him, about the two of them together and their tangled mess of regret and hope and half-love. Yes. If he couldn’t have her right here, right now, he would settle for forever instead. Their love and its pursuit would survive in the stories that his children’s children told their children.

“She was kidnapped.”

“What are you talking about?” Luigi cocked his head to one side.

“She was kidnapped and I left to rescue her. And maybe there is no happily ever after, and maybe there is but, but what’s more important is that we will forever be tied to each other in myth: her kidnapped, I pursuing. This, this is how I punish her: the whole world shall know our story and say to one another: did you hear the one about the reluctant princess and her unlikely saviour?

He relit the candle.

"Luigi, find a pen and take this down:

World 1-1.”