Jan 162012
Authors: Allison Sylte

My addiction started when I was eight years old and trapped on the couch after some weird dental surgery.

I was a rambunctious, absolutely obnoxious kid (radically different than I am now), and to placate me, my father procured a Nintendo 64 to keep me occupied. Being a responsible parent, he bought me a game he read would allegedly make me think: some hot new commodity called ”The Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina of Time.”

From the moment I watched the Deku Tree bestow Link with Navi, the wise fairy who would accompany him on his journeys across Hyrule, I was hooked.

Ages eight to 11 became my Zelda years.

My neighborhood friends and I almost threw a party when Link became an adult, and it took us months to beat the Water Temple. I wrote a six-page essay in the writing section of CSAP detailing how badly I wanted a hookshot, and my fifth grade teacher expressed concern to my parents about how I tended to doodle bombs and Gorons in the margins of my notebooks.

Looking back at my childhood, it’s really no wonder why one of my co-workers did a whole design project centered around how awkward I am.

That aside, I’m not the nerd I once was. I’m training for a half marathon, my idea of a good time has gotten edgier than drinking hot chocolate with a bunch of band geeks, and I’m finally able to have a conversation without mentioning how the economic situation in post-Ganondorf Hyrule could be perceived as a metaphor for the recession.

But I have a dark secret. And that secret came to light over winter break, upon the release of “The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword.” I begged for it for Christmas, and when I ripped the wrapping paper off of it on Christmas morning, I was almost salivating, my hands shaking in anticipation to reunite with Link, my first real crush (I stand by it; he’s freaking hot).

Whenever I had free time, I found myself once again becoming immersed in the fantasy world of Zelda, fighting evil trolls and getting frustrated as I tried to figure out the different puzzles in all of the Temples. Playing Zelda on a Wii is freaking awesome: I get to manually swing my sword and shield, adding a whole new level of nerdiness.

I’m not going to lie, the feral screams I’ve elicited while annihilating some of the bosses has more than once made members of my family come and check on me, in fear that I’ve somehow injured myself.

Now that I’m older, I can appreciate the character development and imagination that goes into the Zelda games. It amazes me how the game developers can tell long, complicated stories, while at the same time incorporating mind-bending action and puzzles. It’s almost like reading some sort of amazing novel, expect unlike a book, you’re actually immersed in the action, and you’re the one who is dictating what the story will be.

The other day, a friend of mine asked me why I’ve spent hours (and still have hours to go) sitting on my couch, frantically waving my Wii-mote while cursing Zelda’s notorious lack of a jump button.

She’s got a point. After all, why is it worth it to play these long, frustrating games, which are often punctuated by long pauses in action while trying to figure where to go next? Why is it so worth it to become invested in dorky, fictional worlds, and to shut myself away from a normal social life for days at a time in pursuit of something as non-tangible as the Triforce?

To which I respond: why is it worth it to read a 2,000-page book? Why spend hours getting wasted in bars? Heck, why is it worth it for me to spend a day climbing a mountain, only to turn around and climb back down, sore and useless for the rest of the week?

Pretty much everything we do with our time can be perceived as useless. But we do it because it makes us happy.

So that’s why I just wrote an 800 word column about my love affair with Zelda in a college newspaper with dozens of readers who will inevitably taunt me, and that’s why tonight, I’ll probably be on my couch, trying to figure out how the hell I can drag a robot up Eldin Volcano (it’s harder than it sounds).

Because hey, I might not have a real boyfriend, but I know that Link will always be there for me.

Content Managing Editor Allison Sylte is a junior journalism major. Her column appears Tuesdays in the Collegian_. She can be reached at letters@collegian.com._

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