one game a week 2015 : week 11 – Zelda, Anju and Kafei, existential dread and OlliOlli 2

Some words from my brain to yours about whatever game has been occupying my time over the last 7 days. Once a week, EVERY week for the duration of 2015. God help us.


I kinda had this weeks post all figured out. I was going to talk about The Legend Of Zelda : The Wind Waker HD, a game that I started back in January but have only really cracked on with properly these last few days. I haven’t finished it yet (it feels like I’m about 75% complete I’d say, if I know my Zelda) but I wasn’t too concerned about that; these weekly posts are in no way intended to be reviews or contain in-depth analysis . They’re just a regular log of what I’ve been playing and where I’m up to. You see, I’m prone to bouts of overwhelming existential angst : why am I playing all these games? What’s the point? Soon I’ll be old and broken and won’t even remember the hours I spent earning all the multiplayer achievements in Gears Of War 2. So in some way, when I conceived this idea to relentlessly write about games once a week for all of 2015, it was to validate all the time I spend on this hobby of mine. Something to cling to when I have an out-of-body experience and see myself pouring the hours into an RPG I’ll probably be bored with way before the end. Um… what was I saying…

Oh yeah! The Wind Waker. I’m not done yet but the story has captivated me in ways that I honestly didn’t expect so before I say anything about it, I want to have seen it through to the end. But there’s a couple of other games that have been occupying my brain juices that we can eviscerate.

Sticking with the Zelda theme, how bout that Majora’s Mask, eh? I actually completed this a few days after I first blathered on about it here but in all honestly I’ve barely stopped thinking about it since. The entire thing is the most melancholy adventure I’ve ever been on but it was the notoriously heart-wrenching Anju & Kafei side quest that really punched me in my emotions. I’d heard other people gush about this quest over the years since its release but that did nothing to lessen the impact of it, as Link races across the world to try to reunite two estranged lovers. The quest sees you having to make use of the entire 3 day cycle like nothing else in the game, with events and appointments seeing you zip between the hours delivering letters, attending clandestine midnight meetings, solving mysteries, discovering a thief’s secret hideout, investigating a son’s disappearance and relieving a worrying postman of his duties as you try to bring Anju and Kafei back together. It really is an enormous quest involving dozens of people and the payoff, should you be successful, is spectacular and like nothing else I’ve ever experienced in games.

At the tail end of the third day, as the last few hours tick away on the clock and the descending moon hovers so close above the buildings of Clocktown that you can almost touch it, Anju, our hopeful bride to be, waits in her room to see if you managed to rescue her lover Kafei in time. My timekeeping on the final day was pretty on-point, so I arrived at her room to wait with her in those final moments. The in-game clock, usually speeding along to simulate the passing of days, slows to actual real world time for the last 5 minutes, and I spent it with Anju as she patiently waited, perched on her bed, for Kafei to show. As the building shakes around you with the weight of the moon bearing down upon it, and as most of the town is evacuating, she says ” I have decided to wait for him. I’ve made my promise.” So we wait in silence.

With seconds to go, he shows up. They embrace and exchange their vows. And rather than flee, they decide to sit through the apocalypse together. At this point, with seconds left on the clock, you have to reset the 3 day cycle in order to have time to save the world. A process that will also reset Anju and Kafei; forcing them apart again, leaving them waiting, yet again, for someone to come and save them.

HEY I’M NOT CRYING, YOU ARE

On a totally opposite end of the emotional spectrum, I’ve been putting my ageing reflexes to the test with Roll7’s OlliOlli 2, which is a far better skateboarding game than this world deserves after we allowed Tony Hawk’s Underground 2 to happen. It’s fast, slick, brain-bending, utterly gorgeous fun. With not a soul- crushing love story in sight. Thank god…

Oh! I’ve also been smashing gangster skulls in with Hotline Miami 2, but that’s a blood-drenched story for another day.

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