When most engaged couples think of wedding plans, they think in terms of flowers, cake, dresses, tuxes, photography and financing it all.
Creating a wedding-themed arcade game is not something generally found on a bride and bridegroom's to-do list. But then, most couples aren't Dylan and Maggie Fashbaugh, who both graduated from The University of Akron's College of Engineering in 2014.
"We wanted our reception to stand out while still being us," said Maggie, who grew up in Twinsburg and graduated from Twinsburg High School in 2009. "On a drive from New York City to Ohio, we joked about how cool it would be to have a wedding video game. With a longer engagement and some friends willing to help us, it seemed very doable to get it done."
The game made its debut at the Fashbaugh's wedding on June 15. Dylan said there was a line of guests waiting to play.
"We kind of designed it to look like one of those late 80s, early 90s arcade games," he said. "The objective for those types of games was to get the high score."
In the end, Dylan said his groomswoman and another friend, Melanie, who had introduced Dylan to Maggie, had the top scores.
Maggie said they had "all sorts of feedback" when they arrived at the reception after photos.
"There was a huge line for it," she said. "From the beginning to the end, there was someone at the arcade cabinet. It was a great focal point."
The game, called "'Til Death Do Us Part," took eight months and more than 250 hours to make, and was finished the day before the couple's big day. Dylan created the custom coding, and Maggie was responsible for the in-game art and animation. They repurposed an old Astro Blaster arcade machine sitting unused in a friend’s basement.
"Dylan also added rumble motors to the joysticks so that they shake every time you punch or get punched," Maggie said.
In the game, the bride and groom -- pixel renderings of Dylan and Maggie -- have to defend themselves from monsters such as Cold Feet, Ring Bears and Wedding Doves. They can call on their special powers, like the groom’s lethal LED whip, or the bride’s paralyzing scream that freezes monsters.
The game includes an arcade rendering of Dylan's uncle, who served as officiant for the couple's big day. He can be seen as the officiant at the beginning of the game.
The Fashbaugh's cat Clark can be seen in the game as well, said Maggie.
"He's our 3-year-old cat," Maggie said. "We wished Clark could have come to our wedding, but he would have been scared. So we incorporated him in other ways, like the game and our wedding topper."
if a player dies, a pixel animation of Clark appears on the screen, looking disappointed. If the player wins, a much happier Clark is shown.
A friend drew the couple’s likeness on the side of the game using an anime style design, and the illustration and graphic designs on the machine were done by Dylan’s mom, a graphic designer.
"We can't draw," Maggie said.
The game was a group effort, Dylan said. "Making this was tons of fun. We are both gamers. We love video games, we love gaming. We are also engineers, so it all fell together."
Maggie said the wedding "was really big."
"We had more than 200 people," she said. "We wanted something at the reception that just screamed us. A lot of our friends don't feel like dancing all night, and we wanted something more original than a photo booth...although we did have a photo booth, just in case." Maggie laughed.
The game was designed to be 90 seconds long, to give everyone a chance to play during that evening, Maggie said. It is a two-person game.
"You could play it yourself, but that's expert mode," she said. "You would be playing two characters."
Both characters have to survive to win, Dylan added.
"Our message is literally ''Til Death Do Us Part,'" Maggie said. "We wanted to make sure that came across."
"You have to survive together," Dylan said.
Dylan and Maggie first met when they were undergraduate students in The University of Akron’s engineering program. Dylan was pursuing a BS in Computer Engineering and Maggie, a BS in Electrical Engineering.
"We took our friendship to the next level when I got him a Heart concert shirt and he got me a sourdough bread lobster from San Francisco. Shortly after those perfect gifts, we started dating our senior year," said Maggie.
After graduating in 2014, Dylan went on to found Smooth Technology, a company that creates custom electronics displays for live music and entertainment, such as the wireless LED costumes for Taylor Swift’s 1989 World Tour. Maggie works as a Support Engineer for Centrica Business Solutions and works remotely.
Even though the wedding itself has come and gone, Dylan and Maggie still have plans to improve and upgrade the game they created. In the future, Dylan said they want to add sound, plus add more levels as the couple reach milestones such as travel and having children. They even have an eye on renting out the game to couples for their own wedding day or other occasion: with customized characters.
"We want to make it so the bride and groom can contact us, and then we could customize the characters to the couple," Dylan said.
Maggie said she has never heard of anyone else doing something like this.
"I was very surprised," Maggie said. "I did a Google search but I didn't see anything like this before. This could be something pretty big. It was big at our wedding, people were as excited as we were."
Dylan said making the game "was tons of fun."
"We would love to learn how to make a pinball machine from scratch and add our own electrical and computer engineering spin on it," says Dylan. "We already have a pile of ideas, a pack of servos, and a bag of pinballs."
Maggie said she credited The University of Akron for not only their professional success but the two meeting each other.
"It means a lot that we could attend The University of Akron and not only meet each other, but we wouldn't have been able to do anything like this without The University of Akron," she said.
The couple currently lives in Westfield Center.