Posts Tagged ‘Zelda’

On March 7th GameFly shipped me a copy of The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. In the nearly two months the game has been at my house I’ve played for a grand total of four hours. Every weekend I promise myself I’m going to make some headway, and every weekend I find other ways to distract my attention in ways that don’t involve a boy in a green tunic with a Messianic complex. It’s not that Skyward Sword is a bad game; it isn’t. In fact, it’s one of the most impressive examples of translating the Wii’s technology into an experience core gamers can enjoy. No, it all comes down to the fact that I have an irrational hatred of The Legend of Zelda.

No, wait, I had forgotten about this. All my hatred is totally justified.

I hadn’t really been able to understand my misplaced anger toward Link, Zelda and all of Hyrule until a recent episode of the Power Button podcast. Joey Davidson and I were chastising fellow co-host Matt Green about the fact that he didn’t enjoy Journey, the most recent downloadable title from acclaimed developer That Game Company. Joey and I both raved about how much we loved the game, talking in-depth about the story, its meaning and the emotional resonance we felt during the title’s final segments. Matt was having none of it though, claiming the story was convoluted and the whole experience was boring and non-impactful.

We argued in circles until it came out that Matt simply doesn’t like anything That Game Company makes. It’s not that the genres aren’t to his liking or the games are broken or unfinished, he just finds the whole company to be a bit pretentious and that has colored his experience going into every game they make. He wanted to hate Journey on a subconscious level  before he even started it, so as he played his mind found ways to denigrate the entire experience.

This led to a eureka moment for me, as I finally understood why I haven’t been able to finish a Zelda game since Ocarina of Time. Every time I boot up one of these titles my mind starts screaming “YOU DON’T LIKE THIS GAME AND YOU’RE NOT GOING TO HAVE ANY FUN PLAYING IT!” Without fail the experience starts to feel like a chore within an hour or so, and I invariably put the game down at some point and never get around to finishing. I got really close to the end of Spirit Tracks, but even with the end in sight I simply decided that the experience had gone on long enough and I didn’t want to play anymore. This coming from someone who almost always finishes a game, even if I hate it, simply because I’m the type of person who needs to see things through to the absolute end.

Unfortunately, no sooner did I make this Zelda revelation than I discovered it applied to pretty much any game made by Nintendo. While I loved Super Mario Galaxy and it’s sequel, I can’t abide any of the plumber’s other recent games that don’t involve a golf club. I haven’t powered through a Metroid title since the days of the SNES, and even though I loved playing Donkey Kong Country when it got its Wii reboot it sits on a shelf collecting dust with roughly 3 worlds left to go. As it turns out I don’t just hate Zelda, I’m done with Nintendo.

Yep, you too buddy, hate to break it to you.

It’s strange to admit that, seeing as the Nintendo 64 was one of my favorite consoles of all time and how I spent hours upon hours playing Mario 64, Mario Kart 64 and numerous other first-party games. But for some reason things changed with the Gamecube, as I never bought the system and only found myself sparingly playing my friends’ consoles. Then along came the Wii, and early on I was among the frothing masses shouting “sellout!” and accusing Nintendo of forgetting who had brought them here. Even after I came to see the value of what Nintendo was doing by broadening the audience my love for the company never returned, and now I’m left with a strange disdain for the games made by a company I’ve always quite admired.

It’s a strange thing, to not be able to enjoy a developer or publisher’s games for no good reason, but I believe it’s a lot more common than we let on. I think that if we each take a hard look at ourselves then most, if not all, of us will admit that there’s a whole suite of games out there we’re missing out on for reasons we’ve never fully understood. For my part, I’ll say that I have an irrational hatred of Nintendo, and I don’t see anything wrong with that.