Maya and I spend some time together playing Nintendo’s Legend of Zelda Twilight Princess. In this game the character Link wakes up in a small village where he lives in a tree cottage. He gets to walk around town and look for what he is supposed to do.
The funny thing is that there must be something wrong with my version of the game. The programming must be off because, for example, let’s say I want Link to go to the town and buy a glass jar as everything in the game is telling me to do. Well, when I try to do that Link does not respond to any of my controller’s “commands” and instead just lies in bed until noon, then looks for something to eat. Whenever I try to get him back on task he goes off on his own and ends up talking to one of the village girls who is obviously not interested in him.
After a while of this I contacted Nintendo and asked them what was wrong. They told me that this was a very common problem but there was nothing I could do about it short of deleting the game and downloading it again. But they explained to me that even this wouldn’t take care of the problem. They said that it would be quickest to just let Link do his thing until he gets so thoroughly bored with himself he finally gives up control, and he lets me follow the heroic role he is fated to play.
So that’s what I did. I deleted the version of the game I had and downloaded a new version of the game (each time I re-download it takes several hours). This time Link had no problem doing what I wanted him to until he met the Mayor’s daughter. They got married and had 4 kids, and Link died a grandfather of 12.
Then I downloaded it again and Link never left the woods by his house this time. He was so interested in the trees, vegetation, insects, and animals that surrounded his immediate dwelling. He categorized every species and then wrote a book about the nature in the village, and got an adjunct teaching position at the local community college.
The next download was rather quick, Link got a pretty nasty addiction to an herb that he studied in the last version. It had a narcotic effect when he smoked it, but it killed him off before the day was over.
We went through many hundreds of downloads, where Link was a girl, the village Doctor, a blade of grass, part of the military, a fireman, a speech-therapist, an insurance agent, a mayor, a magician, an oceanographer, and then finally a rather dramatic fashion designer. All of these versions were quite entertaining, and some quite likable, but none of them where what Link was made to do.
Finally, this latest version of the game, Link didn’t feel like doing much at all. Nothing seemed to interest him. He found himself quite detached from all the hustle and bustle of the village. Other characters around town gossiped that he was depressed and maybe just needed to “get over it.” Link knew however that there was something deeper going on. He turned and looked right at me through the screen and as he spoke the subtitles typed below, “I now know that you are the real me. I want you to take over my life. I have looked everywhere for my purpose in this place and cannot find it. You take control, enter my life as you wish, and take me to my destiny.”
His lack of ego was refreshing. I was finally free to follow the game as Nintendo designed. Things were not perfect, he lost some battles, got turned into a wolf, and he got lost a lot, but he grew in strength and courage and eventually became the hero of the land, saving the world of light from the enemies of darkness.