Beating a Zelda game is always a bittersweet experience for me. It’s kind of like finishing a great book. There’s a sense of accomplishment and closure, but at the same time you’re disappointed that what you’ve spent dozens of hours working through is finally done. The journey is through. There’s nothing left.
This is magnified for me in the case of The Legend of Zelda, because playing a Zelda game is quite honestly a nearly-religious experience for me. I anticipate it for months or even years, waiting for it’s release. I study it’s progression through interviews and articles. All the while, I fondly reminisce about the first Zelda games and the impact that they had on my childhood, hoping that the latest entry will somehow recapture some of that magic. Because, frankly, the most rewarding, mysterious, and bilssful childhood escapism of my early years came through the Zelda games, and the world that they exposed me to.
So, playing a Zelda game today is partially an attempt to somehow reconnect with the innocent, imaginative world of my idealized childhood. And though I am always able to do that to a certain degree, it is not nearly to the level that I would have hoped. There are certain themes, characters, locations, or melodies in each chapter of the Legend of Zelda that capture my imagination and reawaken that childhood joy for an instant. However, I always go into a new Zelda game with the foolish hope that it might somehow fully recapture the imagination and joy that I experienced 15 years ago. And it never does. Though the Zelda series has arguably been the most consistently excellent series in the history of video games, each subsequent release since the mid-1990s has left me slightly disappointed. It’s not that the games have lost the magic. I’ve grown up.
So, last night was bittersweet. The final battle was gripping and epic, the ending was emotional and cinematic, but I put the controller down as a 23-year-old man, not as the 10-year-old boy I had hoped to become a little bit reacquainted with.
So, yesterday, I randomly listened to a song that I had never heard before called “Cherry Blossom Color Season” from the Katamari Damacy soundtrack. It’s Japanese kids singing along with a guitar and violins, and I absolutely loved it. It’s gorgeous and super-cheery. It just makes me happy. And, by the end of the day, I had listened to it more than twenty times.
Sunday Morning; 6:25AM The sun hasn’t even begun to rise and Josiah and I groggily pull into the empty Circuit City parking lot. Pleased to see that we’re the first to arrive, we settle in and break out our Nintendo DSes for some Tetris battle royale while we wait for the party to start.
7:40AM 39 games of Tetris later, I’m starting to get moderately apprehensive that nobody else has shown up. Doubt plagues my mind, and I grow fidgety. Neverthelesss, I am able to drift off to sleep for a short 15 minute nap.
8:05AM Over an hour and a half after our arrival, our first journeymate shows up, giving me hope that all will be well. We greet, and since none of us greatly care to face the windy, 40-degree weather, we settle back into our respective cars and continue waiting.
8:25AM Our second fellow fanatic arrives. He’s a smoker, so he actually faces the weather, forcing the rest of us out of our cars into the cold. Dear lord, is it cold.
8:50AM At this point, there’s a group of about eight of us standing outside. Ten minutes to go.
8:58AM A Circuit City employee hands us our vouchers and tells us that he’ll see us in an hour when they open. We dispurse.
9:55AM After spending nearly an hour at Einstein Bagels, we return to see a completely different group of strangers standing outside. Only two or three of this new 15-person group were in the previous group an hour earlier when we got the vouchers. Nevertheless, the doors open, and we all shuffle in, vouchers in hand to claim our hard-earned Nintendo Wiis.
In case I didn’t explain that well enough (highly likely), let me recap. We got there at 6:30, two and a half hours before vouchers were handed out, and people that showed up three hours after us were no worse off. Actually, when we got there a little before 10:00, they still had vouchers. So, we basically could have strolled up when they opened and still walked out with a Wii.
In fact, the first few people that actually got to go in the store weren’t even a part of the original 8. They were just first in the “actually get into the store” line. Being the considerate people that we are, Josiah and I didn’t push and shove to get in, and as a result, were unable to claim an extra Wii Remote, which are nearly as hard to find as Wiis themselves. Other people were buying two remotes, yet we were left without any. Fortunately, I’d seen some in Target a few weeks ago, and forseeing such a problem, bought two before we even bought a Wii. So, we let it slide.
Still, we have a Wii, and all is well with the world.
Now, this isn’t exactly the type of music that I normally listen to at all, but I have been addicted to this song from Katamari Damacy off and on for the past month or so. It’s like the happiest song in existence. I don’t know if it’s the awesome synth or the super-Japanese harmony in the chorus that has me so hooked. (I think it’s the latter) Whatever it is, hooked I am.