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Up late with Link

ghostlyjoe

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Oct 14, 2005
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I worked late last night. Still feeling the crunch of long-past deadlines, I crept up the concrete stairs of our apartment building and slipped into the house at 1:30 in the morning, careful not to let my tired feet lumber too loudly on the creaky floorboards.

As is always the case on these late nights, the house was dark and quiet and welcoming. Everyone else had gone to bed hours before, and I felt momentarily giddy, relieved that my work was now behind me and nothing loomed for the rest of the night. So I poured a small drink -- just a little taste to calm my nerves -- and headed to the living room.

My wife was slumbering softly on the couch, and still too anxious to sleep, I gave her soft kiss on the forehead, watched her eyelids flutter lightly, then ambled over to the entertainment center. It was game time. I had a good two hours of uninterrupted gaming ahead of me, and I knew nothing could relax me quite like losing myself in a simple fantasy. On nights like this, a good adventure game is better than a good book. So I rifled through my collection and, passing on last year's Madden (too much to think about) and F-Zero GX (my most recent and most frustrating addition), I settled on Wind Waker. I had beat it two years prior, but the game had been swimming through my mind lately, and I tonight was the perfect night to revisit it. Into the Cube it went, and, Wavebird in hand, I melted like warm taffy into my easy chair and propped up the footrest.

No sooner had the GameCube logo tiled onto the screen, I heard -- or rather felt -- a stirring in the hall: the puft, puft, puft of 3-year-old legs. A moment later, my daughter stumbled into the room, her mouth wide open in a yawn and her little fists rubbing wildly on her eyes. She looked up, smiled, and came right to me, and I could tell immediately -- as she flung herself over the arm of my chair and into my lap -- that she wasn't going back to bed anytime soon.

"You should go to bed, daddy," she said sternly, mimicking my wife's corrective tone.

"I just got home, sweety," I said.

"Are you playing your game?"

I nodded and started a new game, figuring that Zelda was a safe choice to play in front of a 3-year-old. Sure, there's some swordplay, but the cartoon look and classical storyline seemed right up her alley. And it has a princess! She might dig it, I thought. At least it's not Resident Evil.

"Daddy?"

"Shhhhh." I cradled her in the crook of my arm and gently pushed her head against my shoulder. She'll go right back to sleep, I thought.

"Daddy, what is this?"

"It's Zelda," I said. "It's a story about a little boy named link and a princess named Zelda, and they go on a long adventure."

So I started reading the storybook opening to her in soft voice, stopping on occasion to explain about the lost kingdom of Hyrule and the hero Link and the evil Gannondorf. I could see right away she was fascinated. As a veteran of Disney films, she was quite familiar with the archetypes at work in the Wind Waker, and, as I had suspected, she took right to the story.

So we played together. I was in charge of reading the text and moving the control stick. She was in charge of pushing the A button and asking, "Who's that?" and "Why does he have a booger in his nose?"

By the time poor little Aryll was kidnapped by the "mean birdy," my daughter was fully engrossed, calling out directions, offering her own made-up sidestories and making excited exclamations at each new discovery.

She'd never really played a game before. My wife and I figure she's just too young to expose her to what is often a complex and violent medium. We're careful about what and how much television she's exposed to, and, though we bought her a V-Smile for Christmas, she had hardly played it. So at first, her excitment confused me.

But then I remebered my first gaming experience. My closest friend had recently received an incredible birthday present: an Atari 2600 and a copy of Riddle of the Sphynx (our parents were just clueless when it came to games). We didnt' understand the game at all, but we loved it. It was like our daydreams being played out in full color before us. It was a living fantasy. And we had control.

Now, more than 20 years later, I was reliving that experience with my daughter. I could feel her wide-eyed imaginative joy, her happiness at watching these living cartoons respond to our wills. We were crafting the storybook even as it unfolded before us. And we were both happy just to be together, staying up late in secret, sharing something that both of use could relate to well, if for very different reasons.

It was the best multiplayer gaming experience I've ever had. And it reminded me why I love games. Beyond the textures and bump maps and polygon counts and processor speeds, there is a simple story, a play world, a picturebook. And you get to direct, to be in control. It's a meeting of imaginations: the gamemakers', my daughter's and my own.

After nearly two hours, and despite her protests, I saved and shut it down. TIme to go bed. For both of us.
 
May 9, 2006
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Someday I want to do this with my own children. Passing on a lifetime of games that we grew up with is our duty to the world. If we don't do this, the future generations of gaming could be in danger. This would indeed be a great way to relive our own memories of gaming's past.
 

ghostlyjoe

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Oct 14, 2005
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SantaCruZer said:
It's just some musings. I thought it might spur some fond gaming memories in others, and, more than that, I was excited by the experience and just wanted to share it with other gamers.
 

SantaC

Gold Member
Jun 11, 2004
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ghostlyjoe said:
It's just some musings. I thought it might spur some fond gaming memories in others, and, more than that, I was excited by the experience and just wanted to share it with other gamers.
ok i read through it this time. I thought it was some fanfic story at first. Good job.
 

ghostlyjoe

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Oct 14, 2005
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SantaCruZer said:
it's allright. We all love Zelda. It sounded a little too gamefaqish for my taste though.
I honestly have no idea what you mean. But, then, I've never hung out on the GameFaqs boards. So be it. I'm no Hemingway, but I did my best to relate the feeling of it.
 

SantaC

Gold Member
Jun 11, 2004
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ghostlyjoe said:
I honestly have no idea what you mean. But, then, I've never hung out on the GameFaqs boards. So be it. I'm no Hemingway, but I did my best to relate the feeling of it.
yes sorry. I read it through now. I thought it was some gamefaqs fanfic story at first. I apologize.
 

bard

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Aug 19, 2006
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Asheville
www.bardinelli.com
Really great story, thanks for sharing it. Reminds me of how magical video games were to me when I was younger. I hope she remembers that as she grows up. I think Miyamoto would love to hear that (we're old fishing buddies, you know).

Oh, and another thing...
*forwards story to Tack Jhompson*
 

theREBELins

Banned
Mar 22, 2005
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Good read. I recall a thread where GAFfers described how they'd introduce games to their kids. I picture most screaming orders while blowing a whistle behind the scenes as their poor child plays Zelda on NES. Glad you got the idea right! (and that it worked out well)
 

BocoDragon

or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Realize This Assgrab is Delicious
Dec 5, 2005
51,671
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ghostlyjoe said:
Thanks for the kind words, guys. I half-expected to laughed off the Internet.
It started off and I thought it was one of those AICN-style "reviews" where you blab about your day and how you saw the movie/game... but it actually turned into a cute story.
 

ghostlyjoe

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Oct 14, 2005
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Buttonbasher said:
You mention that your daughter would push the A button. I could see something like that being cool with the Wii. One person would do the Nunchuck stuff, other would do Wiimote stuff. That'd be fun.
That might work. But they're tethered together rather tightly, no?

I can tell you this, the only people I'm willing to share a controller with are my wife, my daughter and my son. No way I'm hugging up next to a buddy.
 

thestopsign

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Jun 2, 2005
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ghostlyjoe said:
Thanks for the kind words, guys. I half-expected to laughed off the Internet.
When I get older this is how I always imagined showing gaming off to my kids. I think Wind Waker is possibly the best game for kids. It has a storybook feel, but is also epic at the same time. Great read.
 

Archie

Second-rate Anihawk
Oct 15, 2005
29,654
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awwwwww. :) This thread is nice change of pace from all the fanboy bitching that normally goes on.
 

ghostlyjoe

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Oct 14, 2005
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Beezy said:
:lol :lol :lol

Nice story though.
Well, she's been watching them since she was 1. Thanks to her grandparents, she has quite a collection: Snow White, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, all the classics -- all on VHS. She absolutely loves them. She fancies herself a little princess. We went to Disney World in January and she strutted around the castle like she owned the place.
 

pitt_norton

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Oct 22, 2005
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As I sat here, my finger gently massaging the scroll button on the mouse, I felt the curious urge of a ravenous tiger to scroll down the page to read a fairytale on GAF. As the illuminous light danced off the computer screen and bathed my face, creating a glow that could be seen in the twinkle of my little brother's eye, I thought, "Such dramatic elequent language to explain an adorable origin story of a child's gaming awakening."
 

ghostlyjoe

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Oct 14, 2005
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pitt_norton said:
As I sat here, my finger gently massaging the scroll button on the mouse, I felt the curious urge of a ravenous tiger to scroll down the page to read a fairytale on GAF. As the illuminous light danced off the computer screen and bathed my face, creating a glow that could be seen in the twinkle of my little brother's eye, I thought, "Such dramatic elequent language to explain an adorable origin story of a child's gaming awakening."
:lol Nicely put. I tend to get a bit wordy at times, I guess.
 
May 27, 2006
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pitt_norton said:
As I sat here, my finger gently massaging the scroll button on the mouse, I felt the curious urge of a ravenous tiger to scroll down the page to read a fairytale on GAF. As the illuminous light danced off the computer screen and bathed my face, creating a glow that could be seen in the twinkle of my little brother's eye, I thought, "Such dramatic elequent language to explain an adorable origin story of a child's gaming awakening."
:lol :lol

PS - Nice story OP, remind your daughter of this event in the future.
 

RyuHayate

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Nov 25, 2005
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Great story! There's nothing like bonding with a loved one while being immersed into a joyful, interactive experience.
 

mCACGj

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Sep 4, 2004
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Beezy said:
:lol :lol :lol

Nice story though.
My 2 year old niece sings along with the Lion King. She begs for Aladdin, or Toy Story or Beauty and the Beast to be put on. It's very common for youngions at the ripe age of 2 or 3 to know Disney very well.
 

Mallrat83

Banned
Jun 9, 2004
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Taishi said:
Someday I want to do this with my own children. Passing on a lifetime of games that we grew up with is our duty to the world. If we don't do this, the future generations of gaming could be in danger. This would indeed be a great way to relive our own memories of gaming's past.
 

ZeromusMog

Member
Jul 17, 2006
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Ah, you know the reason I myself consider Windwaker to be one of my top favorite games of all time is because of who I played it with--I was living in a certain terrible state at the time and only had one or two friends I could relate to, one of which I'd play video games with frequently. We played Windwaker together and still to this day have a ridiculous number of inside jokes from it.

I'm looking forward to the Wii and a lot more of this next generation stuff because of the increased connectivity; I'm sure nothing will compare to playing together in person, but I have so many good video game friends who don't live near me that something that allows us to connect and play together easily can make things a lot more fun :)
 
May 9, 2006
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Mallrat83 said:
http://z.about.com/d/french/1/0/N/D/g-ilchante.jpg
Think what you will, but someday we all will be thinking about what we want to pass on to our children. Didn't really expect anyone here to think about it seriously though. Afterall, it is GAF. Heaven forbid a man of all people have a heart and care about that stuff.
 

Xdrive05

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Nov 1, 2005
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Excellent story. This reminds me of my first experience with games. I was five years old and my parents bought me an NES with the Mario/Duck-Hunt cartridge and light gun for Christmas. There were lots of family members visiting, but I insisted that we hook up the NES and try it out ASAP.

I was in awe. I first tried Mario Bros. and got nailed by the goomba right away (OH! I can press this button to jump...). :lol I remember it like it was yesterday. The Mushroom Kingdom is just that much greater when you're a little kid seeing it for the first time. The catchy music. A jumping plumber? Biting plants come out of the pipes! It was like one of my imaginative childhood dreams brought to life.

Then I tried Duck-Hunt. It took me all of two rounds to learn the "gun against the TV" cheat. My uncle (who had been a hunter) had to give it a whirl, and he ended up playing it half the night. I remember seeing that laughing dog over and over again until I fell asleep in front of the TV around 2am. So much fun!

One of the few childhood memories I can recall to this day.

:)
 

ghostlyjoe

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Oct 14, 2005
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Xdrive05 said:
Excellent story. This reminds me of my first experience with games. I was five years old and my parents bought me an NES with the Mario/Duck-Hunt cartridge and light gun for Christmas. There were lots of family members visiting, but I insisted that we hook up the NES and try it out ASAP.

I was in awe. I first tried Mario Bros. and got nailed by the goomba right away (OH! I can press this button to jump...). :lol I remember it like it was yesterday. The Mushroom Kingdom is just that much greater when you're a little kid seeing it for the first time. The catchy music. A jumping plumber? Biting plants come out of the pipes! It was like one of my imaginative childhood dreams brought to life.

Then I tried Duck-Hunt. It took me all of two rounds to learn the "gun against the TV" cheat. My uncle (who had been a hunter) had to give it a whirl, and he ended up playing it half the night. I remember seeing that laughing dog over and over again until I fell asleep in front of the TV around 2am. So much fun!

One of the few childhood memories I can recall to this day.

:)
That's very cool. I was a bit older when I first played Mario Bros./Duck Hunt, but man, those games were mind-blowing, especially after having been weened on Atari games (Riddle of the Sphinx, Yars Revenge, Defender, Frogger, Kangaroo, heck, even ET). Not too many games can replicate that feeling of awe. Ninja Gaiden, Resident Evil 4, Viewtiful Joe ... heh ... that's about it lately.
 

RegularMK

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Oct 18, 2005
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Man, that story was particularly effective for me since I had just been playing Dead Rising for about 12 hours.

It actually brought a tear to my eye. Really touching stuff.
 

WordAssassin

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Buttonbasher said:
You mention that your daughter would push the A button. I could see something like that being cool with the Wii. One person would do the Nunchuck stuff, other would do Wiimote stuff. That'd be fun.
That's sorta how the multiplayer aspect of Super Mario Galaxy works. One player controls Mario with the Nunchuck and the A/B buttons on the Wiimote, and the second player controls the star pointer with a second Wiimote.

Awesome story OP. I too thought it was starting out as a fanfic but it turned out to be very heartwarming. :D
 

GaimeGuy

Volunteer Deputy Campaign Director, Obama for America '16
Jun 18, 2004
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Heh I think like 75% of people ran into the goomba the first time they played SMB. :lol
 

Oldschoolgamer

The physical form of blasphemy
Jan 29, 2006
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GaimeGuy said:
Heh I think like 75% of people ran into the goomba the first time they played SMB. :lol
:lol


This was a very good read. Nice to see you bonding with your kid.
 

Xdrive05

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Nov 1, 2005
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dreamkats said:
that story almost made me cry :( (personnal reasons)
For certain! Also, in reference to Zeromog's post, back when I was growing up, I had a very close friend with whom I played many video games and it kind of made a special friendship for us. We had many inside jokes as well because of those games, so I can totally relate. It makes me really sad because I haven't seen him or heard from him since high school.

:(
 

Scrow

Still Tagged Accordingly
Jun 6, 2004
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She was in charge of pushing the A button and asking, "Who's that?" and "Why does he have a booger in his nose?"
:lol

perhaps the most important question to ask about that game.
 
Jun 9, 2004
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A very nice wee story :)

I was a little older than three but it reminds me of playing Mario on the SNES with my dad, back when he was right into gaming before the new fangled 3d stuff hit.
 

keanerie

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May 14, 2006
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Wonderful story, man. It was refreshing to read and very heart-warming. And also a great reminder of why we all love games in the first place.

Miyamoto would probably cry if he read this anecdote, as I think the connection you experienced with your daughter, and the connection you both shared with the game, is what some designers aspire to achieve above all else, or at least that's what I hope.
 

bengraven

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Nov 28, 2005
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Best story I've read on GAF in a long time (although that "i slept with my stepmom" bit was interesting...)! :D

Now I'm suddenly reminded of myself, 7 years old, staring wide-eyed as my uncles played the first few NES games and even when I was 12 and a NES fanatic, how much I loved watching them play co-op Double Dragon 2, hitting each other and swearing, making a day of it. Awesome.