December 29, 2006

Chillin' in the city

I'm hanging out in Ravenswood right now at my annual pilgrimage to Zachfest (recently relocated from central Urbana).

After a quiet Christmas Eve ending in a really awesome High Mass at midnight (aside from the bizarro train wreck of a Gloria), Kathy and I followed a longstanding family tradition and stayed up all night playing video games---in this case, Mario Kart Double Dash. It turns out this is way better when you're doing Mass on Christmas Eve and can sleep in in the morning. Go figure. Then, Christmas Day was spent hanging out with guests at the house, and the day after I found myself lacking in things to do; I had miscounted days and thought the 26th was the day to visit my cousins, but that would be the 27th.

So about 3 in the afternoon, I started playing the GameCube's Zelda game (Wind Waker). Kathy gave it a lukewarm rec, because the plot was good and play decent, but "you spend the whole damn time sailing." It's 'cause she was doing it wrong (selon moi): although previous Zeldas were equally amenable to the play-the-plot-through players and those that search for side quests, this one really only works for the latter group. When you are taking notes, a sail from the bottom of the map to the top (which might otherwise take fifteen minutes!) can become a zigzag up the map following various side tasks. Great fun, and only mild camera-angle problems. With only food and bathroom breaks, I played through to 11 the next morning!

After a nap, we headed over to my cousins' in the city. At one point the plan had been for me to go straight from there to Zach's, since it's only a couple miles away, but about 4 or 5am I decided that might not be a great idea. So instead? I went home and played more Zelda, from say 9pm to about 6am. (I had intended to just play a few hours and cut out after the next big dungeon crawl, but it took a while to get to a dungeon... and then I had to play it....)

And so it was on just twelve or so hours of sleep over the previous three days that I came to Zach's gaming party yesterday. No huge marathon games started, which was ok because I was able to play more of them; this went through 4:30am with a brief break to hit the Moroccan restaurant with the couscous and the fabulous tea. Today is movie day, although we got a late start; inertia and various technical issues meant we didn't start watching anything until 4, and then we had to wait for the movies to go be rented, so we watched the first two episodes of Buffy (which were fabulous, of course). Then Shaolin Soccer, which is hilarious but only if watched in a large group, and TransAmerica, which is a pretty awesome movie and, from what I hear, a very thoughtful and accurate depiction. They're watching Hotel Rwanda now, which I've seen before so I ducked out to check email, fix a snack, and post this, although I'll head in there for the second half. I wonder what will be next?

"That [virginity] pledgers who have sex are likely to be contraceptively unprepared is to be expected, for it is hard to imagine how one could both pledge to be a virgin until marriage and carry a condom while unmarried." --Federal study on virginity pledging

Posted by blahedo at 11:54pm on 29 Dec 2006

Despite having an overwhelming majority of friends who also think Windwaker is either so-so or outright horrible, it is by far my absolute favorite of the series-- second only to A Link to the Past (SNES). While others find the frequent sailing tedious, I love the opportunity to really relax in between active sessions of game play. Of course as Don points out, there is plenty to do for the gamers who prefer the "100% complete" style of playing videogames. The side quests are so numerous that half the fun is plotting a course that will carry you past as many of the islands you need to visit as possible on the way to your ultimate destination.

Not only that, but simply keeping a watchful eye for the pools of light that signify treasure will ensure that you are well occupied along the way. My girlfriend and I actually played through the first time with me at the controller and her at a laptop, keeping track of the various tasks and goals that had been mentioned in the game but that I wasn't yet capable of achieving. She had as much fun watching the story unfold and participating as a kind of "first mate" as I did playing.

All of this depth is on top of the great story line (which is a given for any Zelda game), and absolutely beautiful graphics. I personally feel the cell shading serves the Zelda universe well, unlike the more photo-realistic look that more recent games like Twilight Princess have tried to adopt. As an owner of the aforementioned game as well as the requisite Wii, I can tell you this newest version does not disappoint (nor does the system in fact), but it hasn't [yet] managed to claim the top spot in my mind despite the innovative input and superior hardware.

I could go on and on, but I've satisfied my urge to contribute to any conversation that includes Zelda, so I bid everyone a happy new year.

Posted by beporter at 5:53pm on 30 Dec 2006
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