Tears of the Kingdom Is A Very Long Game And I’m Having A Great Time

I have now spent every moment I could spare playing The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom since it came out almost two weeks ago. I’ve got some eighty-ish hours in the game, though between five and ten percent of that is my Switch idling as I dealt with other stuff (such as leaving the game running while folding laundry, packing, or cleaning my kitchen). Still, that’s a pretty significant amount of time over a two week period and I feel like I’m maybe halfway through the game, as far as what I’d consider a “complete” run goes. Which might be inaccurate, since I have no idea how much of the game exists beyond what I’ve already played and can see coming my way through the broad strokes of my current quests. I imagine there are a bunch of things that aren’t quite visible yet, given the changing nature of the world as you work through main quests, but I accounted for that in my estimations.

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My Initial Thoughts on Tears of the Kingdom

This is a reactive piece with as few spoilers for The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom as I can manage. There are probably still some small ones scatted throughout this post, but there aren’t any major ones. There are some non-specific references to some unlocked things, which could count as a spoiler depending on how you define them, but I don’t mention any abilities by name or what main quests give you what. I don’t even mention half the stuff you can get up to, that caught me by surprise when I started the game. Honestly, if you’ve watched all the trailers, then none of this should be a surprise to you and I think I did a good job of riding the line between obscure references that people who have played the game will get and things that are vague enough not to spoil any details for someone who hasn’t played the game. But that’s just my opinion, so maybe bail out now if you want to avoid any influence or references to the game (which feels weird to say since this isn’t going up until a week and a half after the game came out, despite the fact that I’m writing this the Monday after it came out).

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Link’s Bug Hunting Bananza

I’ve been replaying the Legend of Zelda: Skyward sword during my evening game time lately and I’m remembering how painful so many parts of the game were. While the HD remake fixed a lot of these problems (like allowing you to zip through most dialogue and cutting WAY down on the amount of times your sword states the obvious to you while you’re just trying to run around the new area you got to), one of my personal pet peeves remains. Collecting weird shit to upgrade your stuff.

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Switching Skyrim Up

I mentioned last month that I was super excited that I was finally able to play Skyrim on the Switch and now I’ve finally done it. Skyrim was my first post-Christmas gift to myself and after letting it download over night, I finally started playing it a couple of days ago. While it was a little jarring to play at first, I eventually got used to playing it without the smoother control available on a computer. Tilt-controls for aiming my bow–I’m a sneaky sniper because I like to challenge myself to “unicorn” all my enemies by shooting them in the forehead–are super helpful, so I don’t really feel the “two sticks and several buttons” issue until I get stuck in melee combat. At which point I’m usually dead anyway, so it isn’t that much of a problem.

The thing I probably miss the most are my PC mods. Most of the mods I used where graphical changes or texture packs to make the world feel more real. I used to love wandering around Skyrim simply to take it all in. Killing things and going on quests were just added benefits to help pay for my tour of the world. The stars, the sunsets, the way the grass waved in the wind… All things I miss in this new game. I also miss the added carrying capacity and capes, but those aren’t as big a deal.

While I originally wanted the game so I’d have a pick-up-and-play console version of Skyrim, I have to say getting it on the Switch was definitely the right decision because portability is easily the best part of the game experience so far. If I’m going to my girlfriend’s place, I can bring my Switch along and start playing Skyrim while she’s playing Pokemon (literally did that a couple of days ago). If I want to go hang out in a coffee shop but don’t feel like writing or get bored with my book, I can play Skyrim (planning to do that sometime this weekend). If I’ve got a 15 minute break at work and want to maintain my “total nerd” status with my coworkers, I’ll bust out my Switch and Skyrim it up.

To be fair, I can play Breath of the Wild during all of those moments as well, but I feel like Skyrim has actually used the controller layout the best out of all the other games I’ve played on the Switch. The main reason I prefer my Pro Controller and TV for Breath of the Wild is that I’m often sprinting and jumping and changing camera direction all at the same time. This is an awkward button/stick combo on the Pro Controller and an impossible one on the Joy-Con (whether attached to the Switch or detached) for someone with hands my size. I tried doing it on the Joy-Con once and it was painful enough that I’ve never done it again and have zero intention of ever doing it again. Maybe if they ever make slightly larger Joy-Con for the large-handed individuals of the world, I’d consider it. Until then, I’m going to stick to Skyrim for mobile gaming.

While the download for the game was way smaller than I anticipated (17 GB only???), the entire game seems to be there. I’m sure there’s stuff missing that I could find if I went looking for it, and I know game sizes tend to get a little bloated when it comes to PC downloads, but it still seems like a huge shrink in size for such a huge game. Which makes the 13.4 GB size of Breath of the Wild even more incredible. I should do some research into what makes games as big as they often are. I mean, Doom on the PC is about 55 GB and its only 13.4 on Switch. That’s insane. I’m either missing 40 GB of game or there was 40 GB of fluff on the PC version. Even taking out the supposedly 9 GB of multiplayer (from what I’ve gathered online), that’s still 30 GB difference. Cleaning up the code can’t account for that much difference and setting restrictions for consoles seems like it wouldn’t be enough to account for whatever was left.

That’ll be next week’s post. I’ll do some research and report back. In the mean time, enjoy playing Skyrim and I’ll try to get some screenshots of me “Unicorning” my enemies once I’m a high-enough level to snipe stuff.

Hike Up Your Pants and Climb

Every time I sit down to write, I’m reminded of the mountain I’ve got to climb to reach any of my goals. Publish a book. Make enough money to live off my writing. Update my blog 3 or more times a week for a year (haha, right??? I can’t even do this for a week). All of these things require a huge commitment from me in not only time, but in energy and self.

Every time I want to write I have to marshal my thoughts and set aside whatever else has occupied my day. I have to stop thinking about bills, student loans, doing laundry, trying to find a date, and whatever pointless bit of minutiae my anxiety has fixed on. Then, as soon as that’s done, I need to collect my thoughts about whatever project I want to work on. After that, there’s the constant need to spend a decent amount of energy keeping those thoughts collected and the incessant report of my anxieties knocking against my defenses, trying to worm their way back in. The act of writing itself takes a part of me that I keep from the world the rest of the time and puts it somewhere I INTEND people to see, so it can be difficult to do with the kind of confidence needed to actually do more than make a half-assed attempt.

Even when it was easier, when I was writing every day, there was never what you could call an “easy” day. I may have had an easier time getting myself to sit down and do it, but it was never easy to actually do. I’ve spent a huge amount of time thinking and writing about the difficulties associated with writing. I’m always interested in reading what other writers have written about the act of writing. I’ve got a whole sub-classification of my poetry that is specifically about my difficulties in writing or how often I feel like none of the words I produce are the right ones. I’ve got a whole blog that is currently themed after the concept of struggling to find and use my words with undertones of how much I struggle to actually do it.

I’m pretty well versed in this kind of adversity, clearly. I could probably write a doctoral thesis on it (and might someday, depending on whether or not I actually go for an advanced degree in the future).

It does get easier to do, the more often you do it. I know that. You probably know that. Its true of pretty much everything one can do. It’s also true that there’s a point of diminishing return where it stops being noticeably easier. I would like to get back to that point, sure, but that just means I’m better at getting on the mountain to work on climbing it. It doesn’t actually make the mountain smaller.

Even in an ideal situation, with time to write every day and a minimum of other worries to keep away, I’ve still got a daunting task to accomplish. Not only that, I’ve got two I need to complete in a row to really count them as the success I want to see. I can’t just write a book, I’ve got to get myself to the point where I can write full-time.

Sitting here, at the base of all three of my mountains, I can tell you it’s really hard to make myself start walking up any one of them, much less split my time between all three. It seems far more tempting to find a path with some nice hills and valleys, some easier treks to try before I really make an attempt at any of my mountains.

I’ve never been very good at letting myself off easy, though. As much as I really want to consider something easier, as much as I’d like to take the easy route, I know the only reason I’d ever wind up in those hills and valleys is if I fell off one of my mountains. I may doubt myself constantly and wonder if I’m as good as other people have said (one teacher had to pretty much beat it into me and I’ll be forever grateful), but I know I’m good at trying again.

As today literally showed me, doing something again is always easier than doing it the first time and, somethings, you’ve just got to hike up your pants and climb that stupid rock. I did. There was a great view at the top. Maybe, someday, I’ll be able to say the same thing from the top of one of my metaphorical mountains.


In more business-y terms, I’m in the process of setting up some streaming and video-recording capabilities on my computer, solely so I can make and upload a “1000 Ways to Die: LoZ Edition” video along with the review I eventually post of Breath of the Wild. I might link a YouTube account to this thing or just post all my videos here if people are interested. Other potential videos include a “Naked and Afraid” run-through of Breath of the Wild” which will likely be the source of many of the 1000 deaths and something to do with the Dragon Age franchise. I dunno. Maybe some kind of heavy RP and story-telling element video. We’ll see. I’ve got a history of planning bigger projects than I can accomplish, so take that all with a grain of salt.

A Title Would Definitely Help This Post

I’ve had a busy couple of months. Adjusting to my job followed almost immediately by the new Legend of Zelda game. I did nothing but play on my Nintendo Switch for about three weeks and then spent another week avoiding my TV and computer and Switch as much as possible while I recovered from my binge. No regrets, though. I’ve already started a second play-through and have a third planned that I might either record or stream. We’ll see when the time comes. I’ll eventually review the game as well, probably as my next post.

While all this has been going on, I’ve been taking the opportunity provided by not having my soul drained as a result of my day job to spend some time reflecting and growing, something I’ve apparently ignored over the three years I held that awful job. Its been interesting to see just how much I’ve changed as a person. I’m a lot less likely to take abuse (which is probably a direct result of said awful job), I’m a lot less likely to cling to the past, and I finally stopped holding onto stuff for no other reason than it stirs a strong emotion in me. Almost all of those strong emotions weren’t positive ones, to be honest. I was pretty subconsciously masochistic, apparently. It explains a lot. Coincidentally, my closet is now emptier than it has been in years.

All that being said, I don’t feel like I’m in much of a different place than I was when I last updated. I’ve only just started working on my writing again. I still don’t know how to push back against the insanity infecting the world and some of those around me. I still feel like I’m drowning in a sea of student debt and self-inflicted problems. If anything, I’m a bit less worried about it all and a bit more restrictive on how long I’ll let myself freak out about anything.

I do know I tend to feel tired more often, but generally in a much more balanced sense. My old job used to emotionally drain me or intellectually drain me. I never got a nice, well-rounded exhaustion from it like I do from my current job. Today, after spending almost 8 hours trying to figure out settings and hardware setup, I finally managed to get everything working and do the one hour (if that) of work I needed to get done today. It was frustrating beyond words. I nearly burst into tears when I made the adjustments I needed in order to add another piece of hardware to the system and everything worked on the first try (previous attempts had added at least an hour per additional piece of hardware).

It was exhausting physically because this hardware isn’t light. It was exhausting emotionally because I’m new and half the problems were me screwing things up. It was exhausting intellectually because I had to learn as I went and try to remember everything my senior coworker taught me. Now, I can barely make myself get out of my chair and the blog entry I’m writing feels like a rambling, barely coherent mess. But today, as I went to the grocery store to buy myself a bag of my favorite chips, I wasn’t buying them because I was tired and exhausted and my day was rough. Today, I bought them as a reward for solving a really tough problem, for being recognized by my coworker for doing a good job with a complex issue, and because I deserved some kind of self-recognition for succeeding when I wanted to quit.

That little change in mindset makes all the difference. I may not have the solutions to the world’s problems, I may be actively considering giving up my dream of being a successful novelist for the more practical goal of just being really good at my current job, and I may have very little desire to ever move from this spot again, but I did good today. I can say I gave 100% of my effort into something that was ultimately rewarding and fulfilling. It feels good. It is what will push me out of this chair in another ten minutes and it is what is going to sit me down at my computer after dinner to spent two hours or more working away at my current book project.

I may not be happy right now–I’m definitely grouchy bordering on almost hysterically tired–but I’m feeling more fulfilled than I’ve felt since I wrote the end of a story for the first time. To me, happiness comes and goes but fulfillment is something that can stick around forever. As long as I feel fulfilled, nothing else really matters to me.

I suppose I might be in the same place I was a few months ago, but I definitely know I’m headed somewhere new.