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Tuesday, January 6, 2009

My Journey Through "The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess", or How I Came to Appreciate Casual Games

As of right now, I'm up to what I think is the final boss in Nintendo Wii's The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. Now, for those of you who are friends with me on Facebook and actually pay attention to my status updates, you'll know that I'm a little behind in my Christmas Guarantee of beating the game by New Year's. But what can you do? The game is over 50 fucking hours long.

And by playing through the game -- which I bought on launch day way back in November, 2006, and barely tried, afraid of how long it would take to finish -- I came to appreciate casual games in a whole new way. Now, don't get me wrong. Twilight Princess is an incredible gaming experience; the controls are excellent, the puzzles and bosses are inventive, and the game is altogether dazzling. But it just goes on and on and on. Think you're at the end? Not so! Turns out you need to put some old mirror back together. Now it's over, right? Nope! It's time to travel all over Hyrule looking for missing letters from some ancient book. Sure, this is nothing new -- N64's Ocarina of Time and GameCube's brilliant Wind Waker were both massive games as well -- and most modern titles such as God of War and Grand Theft Auto are equally epic and time consuming. But it's easy to see why Nintendo has chosen their current route of creating shorter games, such as Wii Sports and Wii Fit. The obvious and well-documented fact is that these games are cheaper to make and have been able to appeal to nongamers (like my mom, dad, sister, brother-in-law, Aunt Joan, Aunt Maria, etc.), thus bringing in a whole new demographic to the industry. But they also appeal to older hardcore gamers like me, by offering a new experience that doesn't suck your life force away. I still play Wii Sports when friends are over, and I use Wii Fit to track my (sad) progress at the actual gym. And I can still get the fun of playing a solid game and have time to do other things.

So, in short: The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess is dope. You're insane if you own a Wii and haven't bought it. But, for me, I think I'm down to one supermegaepic videogame per year from now on. Maybe I am actually just getting too old for this shit.*

*Though Killzone 2 is looking pretty who knows.

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