Potential for Addiction

Just one more round… – strategy fans know this thought very well, which only trivialises the actual addiction. I have internalised this behaviour over the last 20 years and even claim to have cultivated it excessively. The sunrise after a night of Civilization is not a reminder of my inconsistent attitude, it just demonstrates once more how much fun I had. For some people it is irresponsible to sit at school, college, or work when they are overtired. For me, it is irresponsible not to put a stop to the aggressive threatening gestures of the Egyptian ruler.

So far I’ve been met with a great deal of incomprehension for this behaviour. But recently I have found an unusual ally. When I was immersed in the new action adventure with Link, I was struck by the strong fascination of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild myself. This adventure playground just invites you to sink into it for endless hours without really having a feeling for time and space. The world is simply too vast and the possibilities are too diverse. But I only became aware of this potential much later.

My boyfriend doesn’t really play video games himself. And most of the games he started playing, he got bored of after a short while. Not to mention the overstraining controls, which are often very complex in modern games. I have internalised all this from an early age. I grew up with 3D games and know how to read a map with waypoints. I know what to look for when I walk through the world. And I know every Zelda game, its characters and rules. And yet, or maybe because of that, he sat in front of the television until half past four at that time, trying to finally leave the Forgotten Plateau. He had completely lost track of time. At least that’s what he claimed. He got a short fright and we went to sleep for a few more hours. I was completely fascinated by how he got sucked into that game. Even though it is no walk in the park. Although he always reached his limits, fights became too hard for him or he loses his orientation.

He had Zelda fever and fell in love with the Switch.

Shortly after this experience I wanted to go to a party with him. I was late and he wanted to take a bath first. In our phone call I said that was no problem because I was still on my way back home. But when I was at home (half an hour later!) I had to find out that he still wasn’t finished. He then claimed that we had just made a phone call. But a glance at the TV quickly told me where the real problem was: the adventure with Link was more important right now – and I suddenly found myself listening to all the nagging that I could always hear from my parents.

Now I could have clearly dismissed this as an isolated incident. But something very similar happened to a friend. His Switch was also occupied by his partner and he had to find another activity. By the way, we both agreed that it is hard to bear watching our loved ones while they play. Constantly this senseless exploring, this cooking and this inability. And then, best of all, talking to themselves: “Hmm, three baskets and in two of them there are apples – I wonder what that means?”, “Look, this room is a dead end” or, my darling: “The game is stupid, it doesn’t work at all!

And then there was my sister. On the occasion of her 30th birthday I wrote her a long and very personal letter. Among other things, there was also a mixtape in USB format – also very personal. Our relationship was always a bit difficult. We like each other very much, of course, and not just since our trips together on the various Nintendo consoles. As an older brother, I had a strong influence on her, but it wasn’t always fair. Well, I’m getting older, I’m more reflective, and somehow tried to show how proud I am of her – she’s really groovy

When I asked her if she had found everything on the USB stick, she simply wrote: “I already listened to everything that day and I still want to answer appropriately, but something always comes up… Buying a house, taming wild horses, paying for fire armor, killing myself x times by mistake – Breath of the Wild destroys my ability to set priorities. And yesterday I found out that the range of the Wii U Gamepad extends into the bedroom…”

It took weeks before I received an answer.

It was clear why the Switch was released with so few games: there wasn’t enough time for more than this one (to rule them all) anyway. And since the day my boyfriend finally finished game, I’ve been getting bombarded with questions about when the successor will be released. He still doesn’t understand my hint that development simply takes time. The addicts want more of the stuff. Nintendo, you have created a monster!

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild was released in March 2017 for Nintendo Switch and Wii U. In a sense, the action adventure returns to the roots of the series. It offers a large, open world with very purified game mechanics. And it is not without reason that this is one of the best games ever. The direct successor is expected to be released next year. If you don’t want to wait that long, you’ll have to be content with Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity in November.

This post is also available in: German