The Nintendo Switch, The Legend of Zelda, and the Power of Video Games

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I was six years old when I got my Nintendo 64. I had all the classic games: GoldenEye, Banjo-Kazooie, Star Fox, Donkey Kong 64, every single game with Mario or Bros in the title, and way too many more to list. You name it and I pretty much had it. That’s the console that got me hooked on gaming for the rest of my life, and I know I’m not the oldest gamer here on the Toilet. I’m sure many members of our community remember getting hooked on the SNES, the original NES, SEGA consoles, or even various arcade cabinets from the “Golden Age.” I’m not ignorant of history. I’ve done my research and even gone back and played many of those classic games. For me, however, it’s the Nintendo 64 that started my obsession with vidya. Slight problem: at six years old, I was pretty shitty at most of the games.

So now, imagine elementary age Rusty, bald spot and cigarette included (okay, maybe no cigarette), trying to play The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. It was a struggle. I loved the world, the characters, and the story, but was clumsy in combat and failed at even the most basic puzzles. I sought help constantly from friends, cousins, and basically anyone older who offered it. I probably annoyed the shit out of them, but how else was a six year old noob supposed to beat the Water Temple? Impossible! Majora’s Mask was a similar experience, but by then I was using guide books and the internet on my own. Flush me, dear Toileteers!

Fast-forward to 2017. Honestly, I’m still a pretty shitty video game player despite how much I’ve played. In high school and college I gravitated towards multiplayer and online games that could be played more casually, mostly various iterations of fighting games like Super Smash and first-person shooters like Call of Duty. Not having tons of time to game made these obvious choices, and I only went in on major single-player games with complex campaigns or worlds if I knew I’d actually put the time in, such as The Last of Us or the more recent Horizon Zero Dawn.

When I heard that the Nintendo Switch was coming out, I knew I had to get it. I had skipped the Wii U but had played it enough with friends to know that I’d made a mistake and would have enjoyed it. I wasn’t missing out this time. Here’s the only problem: the Switch was launching with virtually no games, except for the new Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. While I had heard the game was going to be incredible, I felt a little nervous. I am still a Zelda novice, my trusty dungeon-dwelling ladies and gents of the Toilet.While I have gone back to Ocarina and Majora’s and conquered what confused my younger self, and even explored a few other titles, such as Wind Waker, the very first game on my NES Classic, and mostly just watched my girlfriend play Link Between Worlds, I feared that adult Rusty wouldn’t have the time, patience, and skills to conquer a new world of Zelda that was supposed to be bigger and freer than any that came previously. Nonetheless, I decided I had to go through with the purchase. Can’t be that hard, right?

Well, yes and no. Breath of the Wild is no “easy” game, and its depth should be obvious from looking at some of the tips to be found online. Further, its open world gives you so much free rein that you may find yourself encountering enemies or challenges you’re not prepared for. This means a lot of experimenting during combat and while trying survive the world while exploring. Almost everything can be dealt with in a variety of ways, from combat to the various puzzles in Shrines and the four Dungeons. The game throws a lot at you, keeping you guessing and making you try new strategies constantly. It sounds tricky, but at the same time there’s so much to do that if you find anything overwhelming you can just go do something else. Seriously, go climb a mountain, tame a new horse, or hunt some animals and gather some mushrooms or radishes and cook them (then EAT them for hearts, or sell your creations for dope ass $$$). There are 900 mini-puzzles scattered across the world that allow you to obtain Korok Seeds, which you can use to expand your inventory. These are often as simple as moving a rock or dropping an item in a certain spot. It’s a reward for your thorough exploring, and even the biggest noob should be able to find them and feel rewarded.

I originally intended for this to be a review of the new Zelda and, to some extent, the Switch itself, but I realized it would be futile. Everyone has already heard that the game is incredible and that it will take many more games to finally render a decisive verdict on the actual console. In not writing a typical “review,” I’m hoping to do something more than add to the cacophony of voices across the internet praising the game. Ideally, I’d like to do something a little more than that. I’m sure many of us dear Toileteers are gamers and, given our eclectic tastes in music, it’s not a stretch to imagine many of us are fans of Zelda and similar franchises. What is it about these games that captivated you? Did they shape any other interests in your life outside of gaming? What does “gaming” mean to you and how might you explain, perhaps to someone who feels otherwise, why it matters?

For me, Breath of the Wild has reconnected me to the childhood years I spent on the Nintendo 64, when I felt awed by Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask. If I have a free day, I can grind several Shrines and work on main quests. If I have an hour, hell if I just have half an hour, I can do some quick exploring and will likely stumble upon something interesting, perhaps a Korok Seed or two. There are hidden items and puzzles everywhere. I’ll never find them all, but every play-session fills me with awe and curiosity, just like it did when I was six years old. It reminds me why I fell in love with gaming and became somewhat of a nerd in general, something that years of casual first-person shooters had made me forget. I miss losing myself in a game, story, or world, and Zelda has brought me back to that place. My interests had divulged recently, so that film, music, and literature were the things I spent intellectual energy on and video games became simply relaxing. Now, I remember why I initially found games important and intellectually stimulating. Let me know what you think in the comment section; I’m sure some of you have great stories about Zelda, gaming in general, or the consoles or games that got you hooked. Lastly, here’s a Zelda medley from the weird/awesome dudes in Powerglove so that we have at least some metal in this post. Yep!

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  • Señor Jefe El Rossover

    Pffft, nerd.

    Signed,
    Different brand of nerd

    • RepostedAvengedSevenfoldFan2

      when i first step into college (i`m in high school) i am gonna blare a Sevenfold song on my phone and walk on in like, sup nerds!

      -Max Raya, 2 weeks ago

      • GL

        Sieze the Day, man!

      • NDG

        *high fives the fridge*

    • Óðinn

      I don’t play vidya games. I hate that Swedish vidya game dude from South Park though. Punchable face.

    • Óðinn

      Where’s the riffs?

      • Señor Jefe El Rossover

        Dat Powerglove doe

  • RepostedAvengedSevenfoldFan2

    My gamertag is Gothic Nixon

    -wookiepagan, 2 years ago

    • CyberneticOrganism

      Wookie Pagan would be an even better one

      • Óðinn

        Or Wookie Nixon. He is “not a crook *chewbacca noises*”.

        • CyberneticOrganism

          xXx//GoThIcPaGaN\xXx

  • GL

    Omg, I… I…. found him.

    https://i.imgflip.com/1lu0lx.jpg

    • Señor Jefe El Rossover

      HAIL!

    • Doom Scientist

      HE IS HERE.

    • tigeraid

      NEVER FORGET!

  • Rain Poncho W.

    This game reminds me of the first time I tamed a wild grizzly.

    https://i.ytimg.com/vi/QrySDbPHCp8/maxresdefault.jpg

    • GL

      I always took you more for a buffalo kinda guy.
      Exhibit A:
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v5Lmkm5EF5E

      • Guacamole Jim

        GUY ON A BUFFALOOO-OH

        • GL

          /ANIMALS WERE HARMED IN THE MAKING OF THIS FILM

          • Rain Poncho W.

            We’re all just animals in the end, GL. *vapes*

          • GL

            *triplereggaetonhorns*

      • Rain Poncho W.

        If it ain’t got teef, I gots beef.

      • Joaquin Stick

        Why have I never seen this before.

        • GL

          As little as I am on topic, I find it hard to believe this has never shown up before.

      • A group of Austin dudes did that song. Sometimes they perform at Alamo Drafthouse.

        • GL

          I would totally love to drink beer to that!

      • CyberneticOrganism

        Best videos on youtube? Yes.

  • nbm02ss

    It looks like a good game, but from what I’ve seen of it played I’m not sure I could handle the frequent frame drops that were happening; not sure if it’s a hardware limitation, or something that could be patched. I guess we shall see.

    Gaming, for me, has generally always been about going heads up vs. friends, or strangers at an arcade, and later online; the multiplayer aspects. Then Dark Souls came along, and I found that I enjoy masochistic single player content as well.

    • Rain Poncho W.

      It’s really not a huge deal, imo.

  • Señor Jefe El Rossover

    I started a replay of Minish Cap last week, that’s a fun one.

  • GL

    Question: Is it easy to play on the handheld portion?

    Looks kinda big to me.

    • Rain Poncho W.

      I believe the Masterpants has been doing a lot of his playing portable.

      • GL

        hmmm. Interesting. Looks neat for sure. I didn’t even now there was something like that out. Where the hell have I been..

    • RustyShackleford

      It’s very easy to play it handheld! I enjoy it just as much as playing on the TV. The handheld is basically the size of an iPad mini I’d say.

    • Spear

      It’s biggish, but not cumbersome. It has just enough heft to it not to feel flimsy.

  • Joaquin Stick

    The Switch seems like it has potential to be a lot of fun. I may get one at some point, and I am sure this game along with it. I only ever watched people play the N64 Zelda games, as they looked far to complicated for my tiny brain at the time, but for some reason remember playing the original Legend of Zelda. I have no idea how to reconcile this.

    I’ve basically just been playing whatever’s free on Games for Gold recently, and Evolve came out this week. It’s been pretty fun monster hunting but requires so much teamwork, and literally the only people that use mics anymore are children. So yeah, I joined a 12 year old’s “clan”. Back off Chris Hansen.

    • RustyShackleford

      I’ve run into similar problems where new games (like the new Ghost Recon) or just the various multiplayers like COD and Overwatch that I play are better with friends. Hard to find friends to play with and then find time to play. Using a mic with randoms has never gone well for me haha

      • Joaquin Stick

        Agreed, I rarely use my mic but every time I do, I get a new kid who latches on and invites me to his party every time I turn on my console. Crazy kids these days.

        • Waynecro

          If one more 7-year-old on Xbox Live asks, “Haven’t you ever played this game before?” I’m going to start performing abortions pro bono.

      • Rain Poncho W.

        MAYBE IF YOUR MOM WASN’T SUCH A WHORE YOU’D GAME BETTER YOU BETA CUCK

        • RustyShackleford

          Why I do declare I am scandalized Mr. President

          • CyberneticOrganism

            *faints dead away*

  • Count_Breznak

    My problem with nintendo is that I don’t care about most of their brands. A new 2D Metroid or Castlevania would maybe get me on board…

    …and with most of the lineup being stale old shit atm….nah

  • Doom Scientist
    • NDG

      lol, I play COD against a girl I work with a fair bit and this is sometimes what the games degenerate into.

      Always funny stuff.

  • Waynecro

    This is a really nice article, Mr. Shackleford. My brother and I have been huge nerds for the Zelda franchise since the original game debuted on the NES. Hell, my brother even has the notoriously terrible Philips CD-i Zelda games and a black-light Triforce tattoo on the back of his hand. Initially, I wasn’t too interested in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild because of all its resource-management elements; however, the more I read about the game and the more I see people’s playthroughs online, the more I want to play the game myself. I’ve seriously considered buying a Wii-U or a Switch so I can play the game, but my lack of free time to play video games and my concerns about dropping $350+ always prevent me from pulling the trigger. Perhaps I’ll get around to it one of these days. I certainly hope I will.

    • RustyShackleford

      That’s awesome! Yeah the $300 and THEN any accessories or games felt steep. I was concerned about managing resources and weapon stats but there’s so much in the world that it doesn’t feel like a problem. I bet around the holidays they’ll be a deal where you can get the console + some other stuff and maybe the upcoming Mario or BOTW for around $400.

      • Waynecro

        After playing Skyward Sword, I’m really eager to play a home-console Zelda game that has normal controls. I’m seriously thinking about getting a console that will play BOTW, but the Wii-U makes more sense than does the Switch at the moment. It’s cheaper and more readily available than the Switch, and it already has a ton of games. Then again, I don’t give a shit about most of those Wii-U games. I’m intrigued by the Switch in general, and I can imagine that I’d make use of its portability by playing it in various rooms around the house (I use my 3DS a lot already). I’ll just have to wait and see, I guess, but, yeah, I am super intrigued by BOTW, and I haven’t been interested in a new Nintendo console since the GameCube.

        • Waynecro

          Who am I kidding? If Nintendo releases a proper Animal Crossing game for the Switch, I’ll pretty much have to buy the fucking console.

  • Spear

    Breath of the Wild is without a doubt one of the best games I’ve ever played. Zelda is a series that I’ve been playing since I was all of four years old, but even without the nostalgia factor, this game is incredible.

    Oh, and the Switch is pretty cool, too.

    • Waynecro

      A few of the analysts at my company are pretty excited about some of the technology in the Switch and especially the Joy-Cons.

      • Spear

        It’s certainly not a powerhouse machine, but the tech is really cool. And you know I’m all about tech.

        • Waynecro

          The Game Theorists did a pretty cool video about some potential applications of Switch tech: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kOUPbSakz9M&t=5s

        • Waynecro

          By the way, tech-death bro, I saw Arkaik and Archspire last night, and their performances demolished my genitals. Both bands are going to have new albums out later this year. I talked to a couple dudes from Arkaik, and they said they were mastering the new album now but don’t have an exact release date. Archspire played a few new songs, and they were killer. I am very, very hype at this point.

  • Doom Scientist

    It’s probably good that I’m not a big gamer cos I have a pretty nice PC right now.

  • Sid Vicious Promos

    I want a Switch so bad but they’re sold out everywhere.

  • tigeraid

    I haven’t owned a console since the Playstation 2. This game and all the hype makes me alllllllllllllllllllllmost consider buying a console. But man, what if the Switch ends up sucking otherwise? Excellent article, I’m glad it’s had that kind of impact on you. I grew up on consoles, and still fall down the nostalgia hole for “Games that Changed My Life,” like FF IV and FF VI, Chrono Trigger, Metal Gear Solid… I’ve felt the same in PC gaming over the years with Half-Life 2, Bioshock and The Witcher 3. The vidjya can be a true art form.

  • Hans Copronym

    I’m pretty bad at games, too. I enjoy ARPGs, but I usually end up with a terrible character build that fails horribly later in the game.

    And then there’s always that nagging sense that it’s all a waste of time anyway, which is only confirmed after I’ve flushed dozens of hours with the above scenario.

    I keep coming back though.

  • OldMetalHead

    I doubt if I will buy a Switch, although it looks really well designed. What did you think of Horizon Zero Dawn? I’m thinking that might be my next PS4 game. The Last of Us was brilliant, BTW.