January 9, 2019
Assuming you were once a child and didn’t just pop up in a river somewhere as a full-grown adult, you probably have some childhood favorites. A game from the NES, maybe the GameCube. Hell, may even be from the old arcades. But for me, it’s from the Wii.
I was first introduced to the platform in an unusual way. Wasn’t until years later that I learned of the huge hype surrounding it. The Lion King stampede at E3 was free of my mind. My family and I actually first experienced it at a caravan park. We rented a few hours, played for a few hours more. Wii Resort and dogfight, that was the go to. The beach wasn’t the highlight of that holiday, no, that holiday was spent on Wuhu Island and I loved every moment.
Months later, after a substantial amount of hinting for the console, it rocked up under the Christmas tree. Merry Christmas! It led broke me, with the little money I had, to buy my first Zelda game. Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess may not have started on the Wii, but to me, that’s where it all began. My love of gaming, my writing, everything. My memories of this game are so vivid, I loved it. But of course I did, it was the first ‘actual’ game I had ever played. Up until that point, I played plug-and-go arcades on the teli. A third dimension and an actual world were an out of body experience for young Badge!
Traversing the fields of Hyrule, coming to know the different personalities of the world. From being shot into the sky by a quirky man and his cannon to turning a child into a successful businessman. I loved it all. Everything was new to me, each experience I never had before. I was sad in parts, laughed, became terrified. Things I’ll never forget.
Now, being older and looking at BotW, it reminded me of back then. So, I decided to boot up the Wii for the first time in years, to put in the disc to Twilight Princess…
And the rose-tinted glass came tumbling down. As kids, we’re uncritical and easily impressed. It was easy for childhood me to overlook the flaws. The opening section is drawn out incessantly, combat is simple, and the game can be handholdy and very linear. The world wasn’t as open as I remembered, and that was disappointing.
Some parts I did still love, most parts in fact. To this day my favorite area is Snowpeak. It’s the perfect mix of quirky, atmospheric, and scary. Racing a Yeti on a piece of ice down the alps, it’s the best intro to an area ever! But most things I did love were locked behind a large time investment. And I simply don’t have that kind of time anymore…
But luckily, the joy of the game isn’t the story, not anymore. The funnest part, as I learned years ago, is playing it like a sandbox. Turning Lizalfos into arrow filled echidnas, or heading to the shooting gallery and pummeling Aeralfos’ out of the sky. Come to think of it, a lot of things end with the suffix -os… This is the way I experience Twilight Princess now, I relive my personal story with the game. Through making my own fun and reliving my memories.
Because sure, there is a danger in re-experiencing childhood favorites. There’s a chance it’ll shatter the rose-tinted glass. But we can’t treasure it. Coming back to something years later isn’t about the game anymore, it’s about the nostalgia. That’s why you love it! It goes beyond what the devs intended, it’s exclusive to you! So take the leap, reboot a classic and re-experience your childhood. That kind of wonder is a special thing as the years tick on, and on, and on…