That date up there, September 20, 2013, represents the day I started playing the new HD remake of Wind Waker for the Wii U. But the game originally came out for the GameCube, and the first time I played that version was December 20, 2002, three months prior to its official release. Somehow I had ended up getting invited to a Nintendo promotional event called Cube Club, where attendees could preview demos of the company’s upcoming games. The reason I so precisely remember the date is because I was called away from the event due to the birth of my first nephew. So instead of running around on Outset Island gleefully slashing grass with my sword, I found myself sitting in a hospital room staring at a squirming, purple little lump of human. I still haven’t forgiven him for this, and I never will.
Anyway, of course I also played the game at home once it was actually released, but surprise surprise – I never finished it. Ten years later, when it was remade for the Wii U, I figured this was my big chance to give it another go. And although I got much further than I ever had the first time around, I once again left it unfinished for over a year.
This time, it was the Triforce Quest that stopped me in my tracks. Although the remake greatly improved upon the notoriously tedious task in the original version, I still found it to be a hell of a slog. I think at the end of the day, I just get really bored when video games make me sail around oceans. It annoyed the shit out of me in Assassin’s Creed IV, it annoyed the shit out of me in Disney Infinity: Pirates of the Caribbean, and it annoyed the shit out of me here (the one exception to this, as previously reported on, is Jaws for the NES). I think Nintendo tried their best to make exploring the seas exciting (especially in this remake, where it is greatly improved upon), but I still found it to be a huge downside to an otherwise excellent adventure. The Triforce Quest, which is pretty much a scavenger hunt of sailing around for hours, drove me away from the game, and I didn’t return until now.
Unlike Pikmin 3, I decided not to start this one over from the beginning, and to just pick up where I left off. This was probably for the best, but it really messed up the story for me. I was chatting with some friends about Wind Waker after beating it, and I said something like, “I like the ending, but it was surprising that there were no big reveals about the boat’s origins.” My friends looked at me like I was crazy, and only then did I recall that there was a huge reveal, but that I hadn’t seen it since September of 2013 and had forgotten about it. So in addition to having to re-acclimate yourself to the controls, and remembering just what the hell you were doing and where you were going, another downside to playing games this way is that the narrative flow kinda goes out the window. It sucks that I did that to myself, because in my opinion, this is one of the best stories in the entire Zelda franchise.
But anyway, yeah, I beat the game. I am the Hero of Winds!
Aside from all the stupid sailing, this was a wonderful experience, and I’m glad I finally got to see it through to the end. Now I am proud to say that I have beaten every 3D Zelda game except one, and that one is being rereleased next month! Wish me luck!
Stick It to The Man