Scenes from a Hylian restaurant

Sometimes I feel like a fuck. For as badly as I spoke about Gabriel Knight II earlier, I still feel a real attachment to that game in spite of all of its design and production flaws. It’s hard to believe that that’s coming from the same person who will barely ever play a video game that comes out unless he’s been sufficiently hyped for it with the guarantee that it will be well made. I’m talking about the FFs and DQs with roman numerals after them. Series that continue after 25 years of celebrated adventure. Games that I have played before and remember like sentimental songs.

The new Zelda is home, home in the Wii, and the next ‘new’ game anywhere on the horizon also happens to be Zelda.

The Ocarina of Time port for the 3DS included a special offer for customers who bought the game within the first couple months of release. Register the game, get a free soundtrack to the game on CD. Game soundtracks are awesome, and they’re even better when they’re free. And it’s really nice when the publisher is Nintendo itself, and you just know it could be sold for like $20. Skyward Sword also came with a disc of Zelda music, performed by a symphony orchestra. That is so rad, Nintendo. I fucking love you.

Funny thing about the Ocarina of Time – I used to play it on a Nintendo 64 Emulator back in 1998. It was the first working 64 emulator out there and everyone in my dorm was installing it and playing Mario Kart and Zelda on their computers and I couldn’t believe my eyes. When I ran the emulator on my own system, it was lacking the 3D rendering power of Glide, and just didn’t have the horsepower to emulate it. I ended up buying a $150 Voodoo Banshee graphics card for my system – just to play a Nintendo 64 game. It should be noted that at this time, an N64 retailed for nearly the same price.

I was able to play a great portion of OoT on my souped up fakir machine, but came to a point in the Water Palace (about ten or twelve hours in) where you are required to hit a certain target on the wall with the hookshot to access a new area of the dungeon. The controls of this emulator were not precise, however, and could not be tweaked for sensitivity. It turned out to be impossible to line up the aiming bead of the hookshot with the target on the wall. You’d be aiming just a couple of pixels to the right of it and tap the stick one little teensy tappity tap to the left and suddenly you’d then be mere pixels to the left of it – not close enough for the payload of the hookshot to connect. I could not proceed. It was a sad, sad way to stop playing a game, but perhaps more legitimate than stopping in order to play something else.

I am now in the dilemma of being far, far into Dragon Quest VIII with my son, but for the last week, we’ve been playing almost nothing but Zelda: Skyward Sword. Bless him, he loves to watch his father play Zelda. The controls are too sophisticated for him to play at the moment, so whenever he wants to be in control, that’s when I should be throwing in DQVIII – the menu-based fighting and its default cursor position being “attack” allow him to legitimately play the game. But more importantly, I feel that it’s my duty as a father to teach him to play games responsibly and finish what he begins, so it’s essential that we finish DQVIII together, even if I’m the one who fells the last boss. After all, when he gets older and realizes that there are hundreds and hundreds of epic games lying around the house it will be all too easy for him to try out something like FFVII and be like, “Hey, this is kinda blocky and crappy. I’ma try this ICO game that dad gets so teary about. Hmm, weird. I don’t get it. Next!” The thought makes me shudder.

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In a way, it’s a relief that I am not looking forward to any new games. It could even be a blessing. A Christmas goddamn miracle. I wouldn’t say no to a PS3, though. I still miss playing Final Fantasy XIII so much that it burns my bowels.

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