I just started playing The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword for the Wii. I know I’m like two years late, but Zelda games, man, they’re so f’n great. They’re too great. You have to space them out a little bit. I finished Twilight Princess, the previous installment of the series, maybe four years ago. And it was all of the video gaming I needed for probably a decade.
Seriously, I just started this new game, and after going through the intro, after finding my sword, after learning about my quest and finally getting ready to start playing the game, I looked at my watch in total shock, unable to comprehend how four and half hours slipped by.
Four and a half hours. And that was just the very beginning of what’s ahead. Yeah, you definitely have to space these games out. My first experience with Zelda was The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past for the Super Nintendo. I was in second grade when the game was released, and I remember the build up, the excitement I felt seeing the ads, reading about the sixteen-bit adventure in Nintendo Power magazine.
Sure, there were two games released on the original Nintendo system, but I was a little too young to really grasp the enormity of the challenge inherent in those titles. Duck Hunt was cool. Anybody can play Duck Hunt. Even Super Mario, sure, when I was a little kid, I could never beat the game, but I’d play the first two levels over and over again, maybe I’d get to the third, maybe not.
Zelda requires something more. It’s a whole world to navigate through. It’s a giant puzzle. No, well, yes, well … OK, it’s a series of little puzzles that are all part of one bigger puzzle, and then there are a bunch of side puzzles that may or may not have something to do with the other puzzles.
It takes time. There’s a lot of opportunity to get stuck, to not know what to do next. You might pick up some obscure tool one day, not knowing what it could possibly offer you, and then weeks later you’ll be stuck in some dungeon, wondering if maybe you dug yourself into an inescapable hole, when you start going through your inventory, wildly throwing random objects at other random objects when something finally clicks, another piece of the puzzle solved.
Sounds fun, right? Of course, any game that big can get frustrating, especially when you get stuck. But getting through it all, completing the story, figuring out all of the clues, finding all of the hidden treasure chests. I’m still not doing a great job describing it.
Whenever I finish a Zelda game, I’m exhausted, like every part of me, like I lost a lot of time out of my life that I’m never getting back. That’s why I space them out. They consume me. They make it so that I’m unable to function properly in the world, a good chunk of my brain always thinking back to the game, to the puzzles, to all that I have left to do.
But it’s fun. Insanely fun. I’ve never played a bad Zelda game. (Probably because I’ve never played Zelda II.) And they keep getting released. I hope they follow me through life, every four years or so I’ll dive into a new adventure, the characters the same but the puzzles getting harder, the virtual worlds growing a little more in-depth.
I hope that someday I’m a ninety-year-old man, playing the latest Zelda game on whatever new console Nintendo has in store for the next generation. And just I finish the last level, just as I defeat whatever incarnation of evil Ganondorf has manifested in his futile attempt to take over the Kingdom of Hyrule, I’ll pass away, a smile creeping across my face as I depart this earth, into the heavenly bosom of the three goddesses, may their light shine over the Hero of Time, his unending quest for goodness, for peace, for the Triforce.