C’mon Link, let’s go sailing!

Sometimes, I’m kind of an idiot.  No, no, don’t try to defend me…it’s true.  I recently got Skyward Sword from Gamefly; and SS is a game that I have been wanting to play for a very long time.  Like two years…might as well be two centuries at this point.  It arrived in the mail and I eagerly tore into the mailer (Oh frabjous day! Callooh, callay!) and into the Wii it went. I sat down with rapt anticipation and started with the game’s control setup and…then…I got to the Wii Motion Plus set-up screen.  Oh.  Um.  I don’t have a Wii Motion Plus. Wait…? OMFG, for realz? I stared at the screen in full rage/embarrassment mode. I didn’t know that the game absolutely required a Wii Motion Plus.  As my anger rose, I faced one of those moments that made me question my very existence.  I thought I was pretty good at keeping up with games and their needs.  I thought I had paid close enough ATTENTION to all the stuff about Skyward Sword to know EVERYTHING about it.  Everything except for the MOST IMPORTANT THING…the goddamnsonofabitch Wii Motion Plus.  I don’t think I’ve ever been more angry at myself.

With a deep, stupid, and regretful ALL-CAPS sadness, I took the game out of the Wii, stuck it back in the Gamefly mailer, and sent it back the next day. Oh sure, I could have just gone out and gotten a Wii Motion Plus, but that’s not the point.  The point is The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker (2003).

The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker © Nintendo (source)
The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker cover art © Nintendo (source)

Wait…what, what, wha…???

Oh, you didn’t see that ingenious (read: ridiculous) segue now did you?  Well neither did I frankly.  But after my Skyward Sword incident, I had the sudden urge to play Wind Waker, my personal favorite Zelda game.

Exactly, only with steam coming out of my ears. (source)
I’m serious! [stifles laugh] Now quit it with your big, crazy eyes…! (source)
I realize this may not resonate well with hardcore Zelda fans, many of whom balked at the game’s cel shaded graphics and Link’s new, disproportionate form.  Personally, I simply adored this game on our happy, purple Gamecube; and I played it multiple times.  Don’t get me wrong, I loved Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask, but I never really wanted to go back and replay those titles.  They were grand moments in my gaming past that I’ll always treasure, but I just didn’t latch onto OoT and MM, both classics, the same way I did Wind Waker.

All the elements of our beloved Zelda games were somewhere, mostly, in Wind Waker: Link and his little green suit, Zelda (eventually), the triforce, exploration, rupees, Hyrule, a form of Ganondorf this time called Ganon, a special sword of sorts, and plenty of enemies to keep Link busy.  The story began, on all days, Link’s birthday, with his sister getting kidnapped by a giant bird! (Talk about fodder for therapy…) From there the questing began.  The game’s story was, as with most Zelda games, a bit baffling, but it mostly involved Link and a series of tasks/quests/battles to save his sister.  Along the way, Link met up with a band of pirates led by a girl named Tetra, spent time with a race of funny looking bird-people called the Rito, had to find a bunch of pearls, fight Ganon and almost save his sister, and then really fight Ganon and really save his sister. And riding on a boat. Yes, there was definitely a boat.

Oh yeah, and grass, of a grotesque size, was there too. (source)
Oh yeah, and grass, of a grotesque size, was there too. (source)

Traveling the “high seas” was whole lots of fun in Wind Waker.  And I can’t even really explain why I enjoyed it as much as I did. But I looked forward to discovering a new island almost as much as I liked setting off from them.  I guess I hadn’t done much, or really any traveling by boat in games before.  I didn’t even mind encountering the occasional enemy boat – they were fun to pick off with Link’s boat canon. Oh! And the treasure hunting!  You could upgrade Link’s boat to include a giant claw-link thing that retrieved rupees and other things from the sea floor.  I definitely enjoyed the treasure hunting.

When I first played Wind Waker on the Gamecube, I was in the throes of finishing grad school. My stress level was at an all-time high, and my workload seemed insurmountable.  Wind Waker provided a true escape from all the madness. I think that’s why it stands out as a favorite — sailing with Link from island to island gave me time to think, to forget, to do something other than worry about which part of my thesis was due next.  But after that, and after completing the game, I returned to it several times, and each time turned out more satisfying than the last.

Though the game was certainly weird at times. Take this guy who apparently just walked off the stage of Jesus Christ Superstar. (source)
Though the game was certainly weird at times. Take this guy who apparently just walked off the stage of Jesus Christ Superstar. (source)

Link and his big eyes, tiny feet, and cartoon-y actions will always be welcome in my world.   Well, expect when he’s on a train.  That didn’t work out so well; and it’s funny because I like trains even more than I like boats.


  1. […] Okay, I have to admit that I struggle to start the conversation here for a number of reasons, the most blatant of which calls back to that opening paragraph. While I don’t hate Ocarina of Time, I also don’t personally like it as much as other Zelda games, and I’m having a very hard time setting those feelings aside. i.e. saying, frankly, if you must play a Zelda game, make it Wind Waker. […]


  2. […] Wind Waker – My favorite entry in the Zelda series, followed by the Phantom Hourglass. Not everyone liked Link’s new cel-shaded look, but I’m not everyone. I loved it and though it added to the charm of this wonderfully fun game. I’m not at all tempted to shell out $350 for a WiiU to play Wind Waker HD. Well…maybe I am…a little… […]


  3. I’m such a newbie at gaming. I haven’t ever played any of the Zelda games. But lucky me I have great friends who are gamers and they know what games to buy me for birthdays and Christmas that they think I will like and should try out. I actually got the 3DS Ocarina of Time for my birthday last year, but haven’t gotten around to playing it. I have heard good things about the Zelda games and I can’t wait to dive in.

    Also, sorry to hear about your disappointment in not being able to play Skyward Sword due to the issue of no Wii Motion Plus. That is very frustrating. I actually had a similar experience when I was gleefully buying games on the Wii Shop Channel. I was downloading the classic console games like Mario and Street Fighter. I was all set to play one of these games until I found out that you needed a regular controller and not the Wii Remote to play them. I was annoyed that I had to buy an additional controller, but I did. It’s one of those small things that is easy to overlook.


    • I’ve heard that OoT on the 3DS is supposed to be pretty good. Good luck with game once you get to it — the original was loads of fun!

      As much as I like the Wii, it’s peripherals are something else. In some games you can use an old Gamecube controller in place of the Classic Controller…but some games only take the Classic. It’s all a bit much to keep track of.


  4. No, no, no!!! So close to “Skyward Sword”! You must get that Wii Plus controller or the world may end! Or not! But still! I got the bundle that came with a Wii Plus controller, so I was all set. It was gold. So pretty.

    Anyway, Wind Waker. For a while, I wasn’t a big fan of this one, but I’m finally warming up to it. It’s a fun game. I like Ganon more in this one, too. Towards the end, he actually gives a somewhat valid reason for wanting Hyrule, which made him more interesting and human. I still am not a fan of the cell-shaded graphics whenever I’m outside and it’s daytime. It’s so bright! My eyes, oh! They are actually fine elsewhere, though. Now I admit that they often do look quite nice. Overall, I now like “Wind Waker”. But, I still like “Majora’s Mask” and “Skyward Sword” most. They are truly awesome, and I can’t understand when people say “MM” was terrible. Those people must be working for Ganondorf. Who is just mad that he didn’t get to be in that game.


    • I’m planning on getting Skyward Sword AND a Wii Motion Plus…soon. I can’t give up after getting so close! I also liked Ganon in this game, but I also didn’t mind the silly pirates so that might not be saying much.

      I can’t say a bad thing about Majora’s Mask. It was dark for a Zelda game but very creative. It’s great that Zelda’s creators were and are willing to take risks with the series. Ocarina of Time was fantastic, but I wouldn’t want to play endless sequels of it.


      • Weird that a game that was basically 90% recycled assets from Ocarina of Time ending up being so tonally different from OoT. Aonuma and Koizumi knew what they were doing, clearly.


        • I didn’t know that. Could WW then, in a very loose sense, be considered an OoT “reboot?” From what I recall, the controls and play mechanics were pretty much the same to what we had in OoT and MM. It was really just the look and story that were different.


  5. I think the community’s view of Wind Waker has shifted perceptibly since the extreme negativity following the game’s announcement way back when. I keep seeing it show up on lists of “top underrated games,” and a surprising amount of people are claiming that it’s their favourite Zelda game of all time. When it came out, I begged my parents for a sailboat so I could go chart Pacific islands (GREAT idea, fool), and I recall my sisters and I spending an inordinate amount of time drawing maps of imaginary oceans. It may not be my favourite Zelda game (Majora’s Mask gets top honours), but it’s certainly the one that clicked with my imagination the most.


    • I really need to replay Majora’s Mask sometime. I know I liked it enough back on the N64, but I just don’t have very strong memories tied to it. Wind Waker was almost goofy compared to its predecessors, but I think that’s why I loved it and still love so. But comparing Wind Waker to “traditional” Zelda titles is like comparing apples to pears — they grow on similar types of trees, and both have their merits, it just depends on your taste. I’m glad to know the game has gotten more love in recent times, hindsight being 20/20 and all, I guess.

      And if Wind Waker isn’t enough to inspire one to ask for a sailboat, then I don’t know what is!


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