The Hero of Time or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Nintendo.
In Gamestop a month ago, I casually perused the walls for unique experiences (while avoiding the stacks of last year's Madden and Call of Duty titles, abandoned like a Christmas puppy that became too much for a family to handle).
But as I've entered into adulthood with its responsibilities, I've grown a little colder. Thoughts like "Why do I even bother coming here?" are frequent as I become more and more jaded with the titles being pumped out on the regular since my childhood; recently released Intellectual Properties masquerading as new and fresh titles only to be a rehash of gameplay and stories originally provided by past greats like God of War or Grand Theft Auto.
A quick glance out the glass window of the small shop to the cold outdoors, whether it be to wish myself back to a time where I could actually be excited about a new release again or to avoid the brazen attempts of the clerk to nail me for a pre-order, reminded me that the holidays were right around the corner. I should be cheery and jolly. Is it possible that I've just simply grown out of being a gamer and evolved into something else?
Song of Time
There was a strong magic in the air, something that really only happens once in your lifetime unless you relive it through other children.
Before heading out of the store I noticed a very special box.
Wrapped up in gold and black stood the Wii U Deluxe Version with Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD. Don't get me wrong, I was brought up on Ocarina of Time. I've played the thing from start to finish countless times while reliving grade school all-nighters: struggling with the infamous Water Temple, trying to get that hard-to-reach Skulltula, which one of the many damsels in distress we'd choose if we were the Hero of Time... It was a special time for my friends and I, discovering courage and puberty and wishing we could make that final blow to Ganon's face. There was a strong magic in the air, something that really only happens once in your lifetime unless you relive it through other children.
Wind Waker was released some time later when I was in high school and despite the hardcore fan's initial distaste in the cel shading art direction, I felt it was a true successor of OoT. There are many moments in this game where the characters directly reference the events of OoT and while it doesn't really have the same feel, it is a fantastic exploratory experience completely on its own. While it doesn't have the same fan clout as OoT, Wind Waker was still a classic to me.
So when present day me (Adult Link?), saw that shiny Wii U with Hyrulian etchings curling down the edges of the GamePad, my Child Link screamed out through the past. Something just awoke in me then, and within 5 minutes I had brought it off the wall, swiped my card and was walking out of the store.
Triforce of Wisdom
What had I done?
Surely this wasn't a simple impulse buy. I'm a man of research and scrutiny. With the excitement swirling around the Xbox One and the Playstation 4, I still avoided purchasing either. I'm not comfortable buying any game unless there's a sale since if I bought all the games I've been disappointed with recently at full price I'd be needing a shrink and probably a new girlfriend. I've read the reviews. As of the writing of this article, the Wii U library is a little lacking for a "next gen" console that released over a year ago.
Maybe I'm just a big Zelda fan. Maybe I love collectibles. Maybe I love scaring my roommates away by showing them my made-up language scribbles on my Ipad-esque controller. I like to think otherwise, or at least try.
I'd been staring at the box on my floor for a while. I began to question that magic in the store and considered sitting on the limited edition Wii U and flipping it for a profit. After all that Pikachu 3DS that released earlier this year was selling for a pretty penny.
I'm not sure why I opened the box but I did.
I plugged that sucker in and loaded it up. I must say, everything from the menu music to the Wii to Wii U transfer process was a delight. Nintendo has an unexplainable quality in their products that have fascinated me ever since I was a kid. And hot damn, look at that Hyrulian design!
Nintendo has fully integrated into the online world and although things like the MiiVerse and WiiTV have been largely overlooked by reviewers, I found that I enjoyed them. The MiiVerse is sort of a social network for Nintendo fans, allowing you to draw stuff on your GamePad and post it to the community. You can also link up the GamePad to your TV to control volume and power settings all with one remote, which is a great quality of life improvement for me. I also feel that while the library needs to stretch it's legs, Nintendo has an impressive lineup for 2014. You can guarantee that Smash Bros will sell consoles as it has done in the past. Until then I've thoroughly enjoyed Wind Waker HD, Rayman Legends, Super Mario 3D World and Wonderful 101 while seriously looking forward to the expansion of the Virtual Console.
I understand that Mario and Zelda and Donkey Kong games are just as formulaic as God of War or Call of Duty or their respective clones. It's all about presentation, though. The PS3 and Xbox 360 lacked the kind of presentation and feel of the Wii U: That family friendly, warm fireplace feel. There's a certain kind of quality to be found in a Nintendo console and I do appreciate a product that does not have a reputation for Red or Yellow Rings of Death. Maybe it's my Child Link reaching out to me, hoping that I can resurrect some of those same feelings I had during my first playthrough of Ocarina of Time.
This holiday season I won't have a bitter taste in my mouth
I will instead choose a simpler path. One without chain lightning, ammo upgrades, or slaughtering alien hordes. I am a thorough believer that based on what I've seen from the NES, SNES, N64, Gamecube, Wii, and Wii U, Nintendo is capable of continuing of carrying on that special something throughout the ages, just as they always have. The heroes of time. At least, my time.