Nintendo, Simple Continuity isn’t Overrated

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Today is another day where I am home without my wife, and aside from the dailies I have to do like dishes, I am trying to decide how to spend my day. Every time I turn around it seems like my gaming library has grown again, and I have more games I’ve never finished. The one of these games that truly feels the most glaring is The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword.

I picked up Skyward Sword right before I had knee surgery in December 2011, figuring that would keep me plenty busy during recovery. Instead I discovered what has kept my Wii powered off and collecting dust ever since; that my dog thinks the Wiimotes are her toys. This quickly led me to play different games or just watch BSG.

A full year has passed at this point and I have not even tried to pick Skyward Sword back up. To give you a clearer picture of why this shocks me, I have played Zelda games since I first received A Link to the Past for the Super NES. The story gripped me like no other gaming story had to that point, and forever set aside a place in my heart for Zelda games. I preordered every N64 and GameCube Zelda game, and played them dozens of times (even Windwaker). Everyone knows that the Zelda storylines across games have always been less than straight-forward, but this was less of a problem when the handheld games weren’t in the mix. Only Windwaker really seemed to ever break any continuity, but even then there were ways I could make it fit. And then Twilight Princess came out.

Twilight Princess holds the strange title of console Zelda games (after the first two) that I have only beaten once. I met my wife shortly after and she never got to play it before so I let her start a file and then the disc hasn’t made it back into the system since. As a result I don’t have as firm a grasp on the events of that game, but some of the locations being in vastly different places was starting to gnaw at me. It helped that the locations seemed to be halfway between their Ocarina of Time locations and their A Link to the Past locations. I didn’t really have the time to figure out where it all fit in before life moved on and I had too much else to do.

Shortly before Skyward Sword came out the Official Zelda Timeline started showing up. Of course I dug in, only to find that things I thought were related had nothing to do with each other. It became quickly apparent that Nintendo didn’t care much for an internally-consistent saga and instead just made what they thought was the best game at any given time. I since learned that they cared about gameplay first and story came later. This seems silly when the gameplay hasn’t changed too far from the formula first used in Ocarina of Time.

Skyward Sword might be a great game, but knowing that the story elements I care so much about amount up to afterthoughts by the developers sucked any interest I had to try and fight my dog for the Wiimotes while trying to play the game. I might get around to it eventually, but that would be so much easier to do with a normal gamepad without the motion controls. It still makes me fairly sad that the first game that had a great story behind it managed not to preserve that element enough for me. Today I’ll probably play more Star Trek Online. Sure, my Klingon’s story might not be focused where I want it right now, but I know it’ll get back there quickly, and then that story can continue.