New England Gamer
The Waiting Game
I am by nature an impatient person. I don't wait for things well. I am the type who,
upon deciding they want something, will go to unreasonable lengths to get it
simply because the prospect of waiting for something is more a burden to me than
the various inconveniences making an extra trip to wherever may wind up being. In
many ways, gaming is one of the worst hobbies I could have chosen to engage in
simply because so much of it is all about waiting. From the moment a new title is
announced, gamers are left at the mercy of its developers. Will it come out on
time? Will it live up to my expectations? Will it even be good? These are the
questions we have to sit and ponder whilst we wait through the months and often
years it takes to make a good game.
Nowadays this isn't nearly the predicament it used to be. There's rarely a month
out of the year that doesn't sport some shiny new release and this generation's
heavy focus on replay value (aka: multiplayer) has helped to stretch out the best
games so that the time spent waiting is rarely spent just waiting. Moreover, thanks
to that doohickey we call the internet, updates on new titles make it to gamers
generally the same day they make it to game journalists. We no longer have to wait
until the latest issue of Nintendo Power hits news stands as we did even just a
decade ago. All this said, with the days ticking down until the release of God of
War III, I feel more impatient than I have in years. Twelve years to be exact.
You see, back in the day I worshiped Nintendo. Were Shigeru Miyamoto to walk
down my street, I would have followed him, graciously kissing the ground he
walked on. He, and Nintendo by extension, were the idols of my young life, in my
eyes bearing the same sort of reverence that others might reserve for a religious
figure. And, if Nintendo was my god of gaming, then The Legend of Zelda: The
Ocarina of Time was my holy grail. To this day, I have never wanted any game
more than I wanted Ocarina of Time. When Metal Gear Solid 4 was nearing
release in 2008, I was excited. With God of War III almost here, I'm feeling
impatient. With Ocarina of Time, I was downright obsessed.
I followed the game like a stalker. Every magazine I could find about it, I bought. I
made a scrap book detailing the game's development, screenshot by screenshot,
that I still have today. I drew pictures, I wrote stories. I replayed older Zelda games
countless times wishing with every ounce of my young heart for the new one to be
mine. Nintendo was not kind to me. My obsession began in 1996, numerous delays
would keep it from me until Christmas of 1998.
In the present, I understand and even agree with delaying a game. I know now that
if a game is delayed, that more often then not, it isn't to jerk people around.
Making a game, especially a ground breaking one like Ocarina of Time, is a
monumental effort and it takes time if you want it to actually live up to its hype.
When I was a kid though, I didn't understand this. The game looked awesome in
the screenshots It sounded incredible in all the previews As far as I was
concerned there was no good reason why I shouldn't have it now. I became so
angry as to actually write Nintendo a letter berating them for their "lack of
dedication" to their customers. It was a letter I can only pray was lost in the mail.
Then time drew close for its actual release. Reviews began to hit, many
proclaiming it the most excellent game ever produced. Commercials aired and for
the first time I began to see the game in motion. My Dad, who in the past had
clashed with me over my love of gaming, reserved me a special edition copy for
Christmas. The last few days approached. Time seemed to tick by more slowly.
Torturing me further, the store at which my Dad had reserved it received their
copies (they may have just been empty boxes) and kept them lined on a shelf, each
one adorned with a post-it note declaring whom it belonged to. Mine sat up there,
the box glittering in the store's fluorescent lighting. I honestly think I would have
killed just to get it a day sooner.
Christmas Eve came and it was under the tree. Christmas Day followed and it was
To say that Ocarina of Time was an incredible game would be an understatement.
To date it is still one of the most highly rated video games in history. The graphics,
the gameplay, the story; even today they are fantastic, easily representing the peak
of the Zelda franchise. That morning though, it was more than just an incredible
game, it was the fulfillment of a promise that had stretched on for years. I was in
bliss. I had achieved the gamer's equivalent of nirvana. Put plainly, the waiting
was finally over.
It's been more then a decade since then and as tends to happen, I've grown up. I no
longer feel angry or depressed about having to wait for a video game. After all, I
have bigger concerns like student loans, health insurance, and whether or not any
of the dozen or so jobs I applied for this week will actually lead to something. That
said, next week when I finally get to bring home God of War III, I know that a part
of me is going to be giddy in the same way that I was as a little boy unwrapping
the latest Zelda on Christmas Day. It will be fantastic, it will be incredible and I
have no doubt that the waiting will have all been worth it.
Read more by Stewart Shearer