I should probably begin by saying that I love this game. It means a lot to me.
The Wind Waker was released for the GameCube in North America in March 2003. I had just failed my first semester of college and was crying my way through my second. I was a freshman at Emory University, and I was renting a dingy room in some guy’s basement. Even though I was working more than thirty hours a week between three jobs, I never had enough money, and I never got enough sleep.
Fast forward to October 2013, when The Wind Waker HD was released for the Wii U. I had just started my first full-time teaching position as a recently minted PhD in Japanese literature, and I had moved from vibrant and urban Philadelphia to Mishawaka, Indiana. If you’ve never heard of Mishawaka, all you need to know is that it’s among the whitest places on earth, both in terms of its culture and population and in terms of it being under a minimum three-foot blanket of snow for eight months of the year. I had no idea what I was doing, and I was completely alone.
I wasn’t suicidal at either point in my life, because suicide is messy and inconvenient and probably painful; but, if I had been able to walk through a door and never have existed on the other side, I totally would have done it.
It got better, because things always do, but “it gets better” never magically happens overnight. In the meantime, there was The Wind Waker.
The Wind Waker is a beautiful game, and it has brought joy to my life every time I’ve played it. What makes it so powerful, however, is that it’s also filled with tragedy and loss. It’s about getting older and learning to let things go, even if those things once seemed to mean everything.
But the player doesn’t know that at the beginning of the game, which opens in the tropical paradise of Outset Island. Let’s get started!
( Header image from the official Nintendo website )