Games I Can Heartily Recommend : Wind Waker HD


Here's a tale, it has no inisghts or big moments and is more a testament to my previous ignorance to excellence rather than the mostly un contented excellence of Zelda. And the particular Zelda? It's Windwaker HD on the WiiU that's a massively pleasurable time sink for me and the boy over the last few weeks.

Just generally it's a bit weird that the majority of gaming hours I've managed to spend recently has been on the least successful of the current crop of consoles. The WiiU has sold the least, has the smallest software library and isn't really seen as a success. Even so on a relatively paltry install base Zelda Wind Waker HD, a single SKU title, is number 7 in the world wide software charts:


You just can't bet against the power of those first party titles; despite constant retreading over old ground they're evergreens in terms of sales and demonstrates the enormous power of proven approaches even if it's at the expense of innovation. Mario, Zelda, Pokeymans and others; they're gaming James Bond minus the mis-steps or Pixar before they did a big dirty all over themselves with Cars 2.


So this is kind of ludicrous, hooraying Zelda at this stage in it's evolution and hardly a controversial point of view but I'm a johnny come lately here and wanted to get down my conversion as much for my own benefit as anything else.

I never clicked with Zelda, N64's Ocarina Of Time was my first exposure to the series and I hated it. The only subject I showed any consistency at school was SPORTZ. Not in a good way mind, just regularly bringing in self penned sick notes in the hope of avoiding it. So Ocarina of Time and all that running around on Hyrule field at the start? Pretty tedious and even worse felt like doing virtual PE. "Unfortunately Gary is not able to play Zelda due to a dicky tummy, Garys Mum" I wrote in my head to get out of it.

That's kind of sacrilegious if you're a gamer and it was pretty obvious a me problem was rather than a Nintendo one. In those cases life's usually too short to bother with things you're not clicking with but I work in games, Zelda releases are generally important. I bought every release, gave theme far from half hearted play and hated them all. There are a few games I have that kind of relationship. It's gaming tax that levied by "event" titles you need to understand to have a shared vocabulary with the world you work in. GTA is another one for me; admirable but not my thing.


Yep I hated them all. Until Skyward Sword. Something changed there but it's impossible for me divine what that was. Ostensibly on the outside bar the addition of wand waving wii-ness there's not a lot new there, the usual Nintendo refinement and shining of their key franchises rather that stepping outside what they've always been. I don't know why but the usual four hours of play brick wall I never previously clambered over just never turned up. I have NO INSIGHT into why this was. Hazzarding a guess it might even be a horrendous contrariness so out of hand it picked an argument with itself :) I dunno. I'm glad though, whatever the reason it's left me with 38 hours of pure gaming delight :)

As for Wind Waker HD, it's been grand. I've really loved playing with my 5 year old son as active observer. He'll pilot the boat on some of the longer journeys but would rather back seat drive when it comes to do anything of heft. And he's been great, lovely seeing him get to grip with new concepts and skills; understanding a big story arc, grasping the idea of extended puzzles and actually make great suggestions that have helped us in quite a few quests. This morning I had a bunch of pre-work prep to do before heading off but when Charlie came downstairs the first thing he wanted to do was get back into Zelda and hunt for Triforce shards. I started to say I'm a bit busy but that went nowhere :D We got 3 more.

So we're near the end and after that we'll try some more. And I know on the next one we try he'll be driving more than directing which is great. I've no problem with him spending time in this world at all.

It's likely to be Ocarina of Time on 3DS next despite some warnings from pals that there's a divisional split between the similar-ish Wind Waker / Skyward Sword and the rest of the series. Maybe I can hold onto a bit of hate after all. Sincerely hoping not though, it's been an absolute delight.