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On a difference of eras and Fatigue-inducing epics:

In junior high school (for me, 1993), I was playing Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past for the SNES pretty obsessively. But when you get stuck, and you seem to have exhausted all your options, what do you do? In my case with this game, this happened quite often. I would call my cousin, from whom I had borrowed the game and ask him how to find the Invisibility Cape, or how to get to the castle on Death Mountain. If this was not possible, I would ask a friend at school the next day. Then, upon learning the solution, I would obsess over it all day until I could finally get home and load my saved game and try the solution. Those were desperate days.

My finish time for Legend of Zelda: Link to the Past was deplorable, my try count for each level equally unimpressive. But watching the credits roll, seeing a pillar of Japanese names of people I had no clue about, listening to the Zelda theme and seeing all of Hyrule prosper and Dark World restored to the Golden Land - I had never felt such elation in my young life at the time. I felt like I had really done those things. No 13-year-old has any real world analog for such a degree of accomplishment as saving two whole worlds, but Legend of Zelda gifted me with that sensation. I will never forget it.

In 2006 I played through Shadow of the Colossus. There are few games like it. If you have not played this game, I strongly implore you to. Anyway, I played through Shadow of the Colossus. When I got stuck, (which occurred often, damn you sword light beam, make me run full force into a mountainside...) I went straight to, read the solution, and moved on.

Now, that't not to say that I didn't suffer through Shadow like I did with Zelda. Shadow of the Colossus left something profound within me that lingers even now, like a brand on the soul.

But I have to wonder then, how a 13-year-old Chris would have felt if he had to endure the trials in Shadow of the Colossus without the instant gratification of I have to wonder if that would have made the experience somehow more arduously substantial.

About the Author

PhD Candidate in Japan, researching Narrative in Games. Responds favorably to Thrash Metal, Karaoke, and Dungeons & Dragons.

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