Listen: Ocean Theme
They’re a bunch of liars. I am of course speaking about people who claim to loathe all form and manner of video games. You want to know HOW I know this? How can I brush that statement into the garbage as soon as someone throws it out of their mouth? Very simple: I’ve been around, lived with people. I also happened to live with two of the staunchest, most anti-videogame haters in all of Christendom, and guess what? They’re a bunch of liars.
Listen: Menu Selection
So my friend Gil, whom I lived with for a while in 2002-2003, barely made it through daily interactions with me because at some point, he knew, we’d talk about Street Fighter…or Metal Gear or Ninja Gaiden. He wouldn’t look forward to it, no, but he swallowed that rancid pill day, after day, after day. He was a champ about it, never letting on that he was bored out of his mind, and in his efforts to humor me, we played some multiplayer stuff together, but that usually would end with us not speaking, blaming each other for losing entire matches. Doors would be slammed and nights would be called. You see though, Gil is an awesome guy. So we would try to play again the next day… and again we hated each other. Maybe he was really upset because he was also producing my band’s record (to which I can attest fully, making that record was one of the most hilarious and AWFUL experiences of my life.) Maybe it was because he wanted to be back in New York. Either way, anytime he asked to play, what could I do but melt? Gil was usually quick to point out however, that games were a complete waste of time, and would shake his head in heavy disapproval when he passed by the tiny closet I lived in. I could never really ignore it: it made me feel absolutely filthy playing games. Gil however would relent, not like my sister.
Me (left) and gil (right) New Order (far right) Feb. 2003 Just before the Wind Waker disease decimated him
My sister Jen also lived with us at the exact same time… even being away from home, I couldn’t escape her. It seems you can’t outrun a twin sister. This twin of mine, I don’t know how we shared the same womb. We’re empires different. To give you an example: I once went with my sister an entire day to do nothing more than pick out perfume. Hours of perfumes! You know after smelling so many perfume samples, they hand you coffee beans in a Dixie cup? Why? It CLEARS the nasal passage so you can… continue. Thank God right? Anyway let me put it this way: every time my sister sees me playing games she launches into shrill-banshee tirades. This is far beyond the near mute disapproval of Gil. She hasn’t played a video game since Pick Axe Pete! on our Odyssey 2 in 1983. Funny thing is, if I die, that’s about all she could hope to inherit from me. Kind of like one last middle finger before I expire: “Here, I know how much you always loved Bubble Bobble!” I’d show you a picture of us two together, but she wouldn’t allow it, so instead here’s Link unimpressed and unconvinced by either Gil or my sister.
Listen: Wind Waker Title Theme
Anyway. You have gathered from the pictures that this article is about The Legend Of Zelda: The Wind Waker.
It’s 8:30 am on March 26th, 2003 and my copy of Wind Waker has just arrived in the mail. I am sooo sick today, so much so, that my teeth ache. Aside from wanting to physically die, I am so excited because this will be the first Zelda I don’t share with anybody. Every time I get a new Zelda game, inevitably people want to play it, and it’s usually before I have even had the chance to view the intro movie. My other sister Noelle ( I have four of them you know) finished Ocarina Of Time long before me in 1998, and ruined much of the game, because I saw way too much of the game world, despite cautiously averting my eyes when passing through our living room. I got too familiar with composer Koji Kondo’s themes, most egregious of all… I saw Link’s horse Epona. It completely diminished the newness, the flavor. It was awful, because that title was supposed to be mind-blowing! (It WAS, when I finally played it almost 3 years later.) So this time, no one was going to get at it first. I muttered under my breath about that as I opened the package, and carefully showered it with holy water, placing it on my bed and heading to work. At work, I did all the things a sick person does to survive the trickling hours: I price things that don’t need to be priced, sort things that are already alphabetical, crawl underneath the receiving desk because it’s nice and warm, and avoid contact with anyone. Later that night, upon entering my room, my new Zelda is GONE.
Listen: Windfall Island
It doesn’t take long for me to find out who’s guilty. Grinning and barely containing his laugh, Gil, seeing the dismay on my face, comes clean: “We just couldn’t wait for you!” Sitting there, just as culpable, my sister: engaged in a graceless, gawky 360-degree body contortion as she attempts miserably to steer Link’s boat. Jen has no idea how to use a controller, nor does she have that innate coordination you and I have come to take for granted after decades of playing games. For every button she presses, she has to look down at the controller. Every second of her time at the mast and on foot required her to pause, her brain unsure, panicked: was that the jump trigger she just pressed? Up and down her face would go from joystick to television for each and every moment of play. This sight alone warranted Gil’s defiling of that factory sealed plastic. So, I react kind of slowly; I can’t be mad, cause it’s Gil. He’s laughing too, so I start laughing with him, and Jen… well Jen’s in the corner looking like she’s being taken through the VR simulator in LawnMower Man. It’s a great moment, but what are these two vehement haters doing playing games? Had this been yesterday, and Gil maybe looking to hock loogies, I imagine his first instinct would have been to do so in the general direction of my GameCube discs. Yet today, there they were, with take-out and some crude map drawing on the floor? How long have I been out?
Listen: Battle Theme
It didn’t stop with that night though: it continued for weeks, and took over their lives.
At first, it was actually really great to watch them throw themselves into the game. They spent whole days, strings of days, together, finding pieces of the Triforce, going through dungeons and solving every single puzzle. As time wore on, and as the occupation began to wear and trap them, they started fighting each other, and it always seemed to come down to sailing. Jen constantly argued that Gil made her do all the ocean navigating, while Gil made his crown glisten from boss victories and deciphering the games many archaic riddles. Gil, in turn made the same accusation. It went back and forth, and eventually it boiled down to whoever could get up earlier. I’d be up at 7:00 a.m. and I could see that blue sea through the peephole in the hall door. Who had outgunned the other this morning? So for a while they played independently of each other. This must have gotten old, or they must have simply arrived at the final hours of the game, because they called a truce and finished. I still couldn’t believe any of this was happening, so I tried to stand back and take it all in as often as I could. Then came the day they actually completed the game.
When it was all over, Gil stood up. He said “That was a BEAUTIFUL game.” While that statement may be complimentary enough, it was the way he said it: straightening himself, and using a deeper part of his voice. It was almost as if he had prepared a short symposium and would now dictate his stringent observations and formulas to both Jen and me. I imagine Jen felt very much the same, though after weeks of noxiously sloshing her head back and forth while playing, she lay punctured and defeated on the couch, saying only that it was fun. It was clear to me though, that they both had loved the time they had spent with Wind Waker. What was also obvious was that they had a little bit of trouble re-adjusting to their days without Link. You could feel it coming off of them. These are people who really, really dislike video games, and they’re walking around like they’ve just come blubbering from a wake. It turns out that they didn’t actually hate the stuff, they just hadn’t found an experience that was right for them. They can argue with me, but that’s what it comes down to. All it takes is one great title.
Listen: Staff Credits
It’s been 10 years, and I can FINALLY, ABSOLUTELY have Wind Waker all to myself. Albeit a bit late, with the arrival of The Legend Of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD. While I did get to play a sizable portion of the game in 2003, I had to stop playing since we were recording that hellish album with Gil that I spoke of earlier. There was just no time to finish. What I did play was nothing short of AMAZING. It goes beyond that though; it has become the Zelda closest to my heart, my absolute favorite in the series. It’s quite possibly one of the most joyous pieces of software you could ever hope to buy. Mostly though, it reminds me of my friend Gil, and if for however brief, watching him fall in love with a video game.
Liars, all of them!
Having fallen in love only 4 times in his life Geno counts Double Dragon as his second and truest love. He has worked in record retail since 2000 and believes David Hayter to be the one true Solid Snake. Currently, he is putting together a band which only perform songs from Street Fighter 3rd Strike.