Skyward Words

by on May 8th, 2013 at 3:58 pm


I am not a fan of the Legend of Zelda.

Fans celebrate and follow and worship and love love love all the live-long lovely day. Fans are happy people that honor the triumphs, forgive the flaws, and always look up and beyond, happy to see the next shining sea.

No, no.

To paraphrase Bill Shankly: Some gamers believe The Legend of Zelda is a matter of life and death, I am very disappointed with that attitude.

I can assure you it is much, much more important than that.

I didn’t grow up with the Legend of Zelda. Oh, sure, I played every game they threw out there, watched the cartoon, and even had that awful, awful cereal. No, my level of obbession caused me to grow up in the Legend of Zelda. The dozens of times I swung sticks and brandished trash can lids pretending to be Link are innumerable. And you better believe that nowadays in quiet, lonely moments at home…these adventures continue.

Suffice to say: Me and LoZ? It’s like this:


I’ve played every single console Zelda game, most of the handhelds, beaten most of them, watched every episode of the cartoon, read the comics, and even checked out the video segments of the CDI games. To other Zeldonians perhaps I get an A minus but whatever. I know my piece of the heart is true. I follow the LoZ universe with the same fervor and obsession that is usually reserved for domestic terrorists.

But, don’t get me wrong. There is love. Lots of love. Plenty of excitement, and a rich, developed fandom. I’ve spent more time with LoZ than I have my own brother. It’s a valued relationship. And when a console Zelda game is announced, I’m first to hop on the “holy shit, here comes the greatest game of all time” bandwagon.

And this was just as true when this title was announced:


I loved Twilight Princess. Ah heck, I loved all console Zeldas, but I bring up TP (teehee), because while it was released as a Wii Zelda title…we all know it wasn’t a Wii Zelda. Or at least not “Wii Zelda” as we all were craving as soon as the Wii was first announced. Motion controls plus the most famous swordsman in gaming (yeah, sorry, but you all know it’s true)? WE CAN’T LOSE.

And then there was nothing.


So long.

It seemed as if every Nintendo property was getting Wii washovers on the regular, but poor Link was relegated to (FUCKING AWESOME) handheld titles, and a short (but sweet, and very underrated) crossbow training title.

Where was Wii Zelda?

Well, supposedly, it was there all along.

Skyward Sword was announced and the internet and myself exploded. And then Nintendo revealed that they had been working on it since the Wii’s launch and the sun dropped out of orbit. And then they announced it was the first game in the Zelda timeline and every angel in heaven, every demon in hell, and every atomic particle on earth all cried out in orgasmic bliss causing an inter-dimensional rift that sucked us through time and space and reality and left us all in Q new-found state of being defined only by the cacophony of our heartbeats and the soothing shores of now-collective, unified, infinitely undeniable souls.

I was pretty danged excited.

And suddenly, as if I pulled out a sword and transported seven years into the future: it was here.

And it took me a year and a half to beat.


And not because it was incredibly difficult or anything like that. When it was first released I played and smiled. And then put it down, with many dungeons left to brave. And I was sad about this. But not because I stopped.

But because I knew eventually I would have to see it through.

And I didn’t want to.


I’ve talked about space monkeys before and how I think they’re a critical step and that they should be forgiven and, in fact, deified for their assistance in our evolution. That’s right, folks, we owe a lot to the Virtual Boy, the Eye Toy, even ROB the Robot AND THE POWER GLOVE.

And, now, to the Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword.

Nintendo has never shied away from taking chances. It’s why I think they have persisted as well as they have, and why I think that will continue into the future. Because while there are undeniable flaws, you always see the lessons learned.

The blood of the space monkeys greases the wheels of progress. We need them.

We just hope, we can only ever hope, that the sacrifice is not one of our hearts.

Skyward Sword…is a flawed game. It’s still a good game, don’t get me wrong, maybe even a great game. But Zelda games have never and should never be described in such a way. In Zelda, we have always expected excellency and near, fraction-of-an-inch perfection, and we’ve always gotten it.

Skyward Sword is a solid B plus. And that is completely unacceptable. Its controls only worked about 90% of the time (which for such a massive game adds up considerably), you had the same repeating boss fight more than three times, FUCKING FI’S ANNOUNCEMENTS, and dowsing…


It was…simply…flawed. No other way to put it. Not broken, not ruined, and, again, not bad. Just flawed. Half-Life 2 is flawed and it’s fucking great. But, again, this is Zelda.

I had to put it down. I knew I’d come back, but it wouldn’t be any time soon. Until the time was here. And I played and I finished it. This was months ago.

I haven’t felt comfortable writing about it until now.

At first I considered a screed. Just ripping this game to shreds for finally failing. Finally showing there wasn’t a Santa. My Triforce of Power surged blood-red.

Then I decided to maybe, really defend the game. Rise above my previous held convictions, stand up to the internet Dodongos and conquer cynicism. Triforce of Courage hard at work.

But in the end, the pale blue light of the Triforce of Wisdom won the war and guided me home.

Like I said, I’m not a fan of the Legend of Zelda. Just like I’m not a fan of my mother or the people I’ve loved in my life, or the things that really matter like honor and truth and justice. I love them, but being a fan is…cheap. It’s easy. I’m a fan of bacon, of Batman, of big asses. Simple things.

No, my perception of LoZ is something that grew alongside my ideas of equality, of decency, of purpose. Maybe I’m making too big a deal out of it, but that’s what this game series is to me: a big deal.

So when I come to a curious corner like Skyward Sword, I’m forced to give pause. To think and consider and reason.

And grow.

Nintendo took more chances with Skyward Sword than it ever had with any of its Zelda games, and maybe with any of its flagships titles. Some of them paid off gorgeously. The story? It literally brought me to tears at one point. Really. The music? Such elegance. The turning-on-its-head of Hyrule? Utterly fascinating.

But there were some stinkaroos. That swordplay. Goodness. But, hey, I’ll guarantee you next time around it’ll be flawless. And I’ll be there…of course.

But where does that leave me with Skyward Sword? Well, a lot of places. Angry, proud, curious, and still, maybe a little lost. But that’s the best place to be to find your way.

Either way, it really caused me to grow.

And I think it did because it was learning to do so itself.

Skyward_Sword_by_boba2009 falling

Adam Douglas (admin) I love you. But I'm not in love with you.
Adam has written 49 articles.