Am I the only gamer who has no interest in Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom? | The Legend of Zelda

The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past

I have absolutely no interest in Zelda: The Tears of the Kingdom.

Phew. That’s the Band-Aid ripped off in one go. Hairs clinging to it like memories of bad decisions. I’m just not into Zelda generally. It’s not you, Link, it’s me; I’m obviously some kind of joyless sociopath.

The first two games came out when I was at university. I didn’t have an NES because I was a poor student, and what little money I had went on pasta, fruit machines and Cyberball in the students’ union.

When A Link to the Past came out on the Super Nintendo in 1992, I was filming the first series of GamesMaster and was mostly playing games that could fit into the show as two-minute challenges. That’s not really what Zelda was about, with its cute graphics, puzzles and incessant exploring with the world’s teeniest sword. It all felt incompatible with the 90s lad I was becoming.

The world’s tiniest sword … The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. Photograph: Nintendo

I tried Link’s Awakening on the Game Boy in 1993, but quit when I found the fishing minigame. I don’t have the patience for fishing in real life. It’s too slow. The jumpers are itchy. I worry a wave will fill my waders and drag me to a watery death.

I didn’t go near Ocarina of Time because I had a teacher at school who played an ocarina. Incessantly. He also flicked his tongue out like a lizard. That was his nickname: Lizzie. I can’t see the word “ocarina” without hearing those burbling notes, shrill like miniature bagpipes.

I liked the look of Majora’s Mask in 2000 (still one of the most beautiful game boxes ever), but you needed that “expansion pak” for the N64 to play it. I had a two-year-old child. That was enough expansion for me at the time.

The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask.
The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask. Photograph: Nintendo

These are all obviously stupid reasons. But they trapped me in an alternate world in which Zelda doesn’t really exist. It’s embarrassing that someone who has made a tiny buttockprint on the sands of gaming culture isn’t interested in the biggest game in the world right now, possibly ever. But I can’t go back and play all the games now. I don’t even have time to play Tears of the Kingdom by itself. Real life gets in the way. For a crap gamer like me it would take upwards of 80 hours. Do you know how many car finance forms I could fill out in that time? How many passports I could get renewed? How many times I can call my son to remind him to do stuff?

As I have written in these pages before, I prefer shorter games such as Marvel Snap these days … the irony being that I have now played that for about 200 hours. It’s an interesting comparison. Last month I was waxing borderline lyrical about how Marvel Snap had connected me to a gaming community for the first time in a decade and made me feel such joy. Now my position outside of the Zelda community makes me feel alone.

Look at all these people, playing Zelda when I’m not … queues in Tokyo on the launch day of Tears of the Kingdom.
Look at all these people, playing Zelda when I’m not … queues in Tokyo on the launch day of Tears of the Kingdom. Photograph: Richard A Brooks/AFP/Getty Images

There was even a discussion in the Marvel Snap subreddit this week, where people were saying they had barely touched it since Tears of the Kingdom was released, and that following some recent unpopular changes to Marvel Snap, it was now Tears of the Kingdom that was providing their inventive gaming fun. Reading this I felt like someone who had tried really hard to get a girlfriend, and now she’d gone off with someone else.

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I see amazing videos of people using Time of the Kingdom’s manipulation physics to create slapstick moments up there with the best of Tom and Jerry. But just like when I see videos of working breweries powered by elephantine pianos in Minecraft, part of me is knocked out by the creative power and intelligence on show but most of me says: “That looks like so much hard work. Who is making their kids’ packed lunches for school?”

manipulation physics in The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom.
Amazing … the manipulation physics in The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom. Photograph: Nintendo

Tears of the Kingdom sold 10m copies in three days. To not play is like not listening to the Beatles. The reviews are unremittingly gushing. It’s the Mona Lisa of games. But I don’t like the Mona Lisa either, if I’m honest. I went to see it. It was tiny. If I were a courtier flitting around at the Palace of Fontainebleau in 1518, watching everyone gazing raptly upon that smile, I’d say “Meh. It’s a bit small, eh? Fifteen years to paint that? You could get Duke Nukem Forever made quicker.”

With every day that passes, thousands more words are written about Zelda’s brilliance. I have never felt more like a gaming outlier. I am so far on the wrong side of the zeitgeist I am about to come out the other end as inverse zeitgeist, ready to consume all of gaming culture into a supermassive black hole. I’m like a football fan who passes up on the World Cup. Someone who goes to Ikea and then only eats the meatballs.

Maybe I should just start playing the damned thing. But I’ve just remembered – I have to go to Ikea.

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