Thanks for your patience, and please enjoy!
Though the title says it all, I'll explain it a bit more. As I have just finished my Breath of the Wild review (which took longer than I imagined it would, as per norm), I finally have something to post! Being the first thing concerning Breath of the Wild that I've written, I now need somewhere to store it; to that end, you will now be able to find a section entitled "Breath of the Wild" under the Articles header. As I write more about the game, that is where things will be located, as with everything else game-related on this website. If you have any questions at all, don't hesitate to reach out.
Thanks for your patience, and please enjoy!
An Eastern Cottonwood in the Loess Hills of Western Iowa - May 2017
Summer for a teacher is a time of great freedom, but also of restraint. This restraint I speak of is not externally-imposed, nor is it truly binding; what I mean is that such free time must be guided by internal precepts and careful management: it is easy to let it simply slip away. Without goals and dedicated practice, summertime can pass in an eye's blink, leaving us with nothing but expended time. And, while there is perhaps nothing inherently wrong with comfort and relaxation, I tend to think that many people see this as the end goal of life. They mistake summers spent by the pool's edge or barbecuing (this obviously extends outside of summertime, and outside of these specific activities) for a good life, but this is simply a comfortable life. Comfort has a place -- the pool and grill can greatly augment time spent with friends -- but it is not the end for which we strive. I worry for those that spend life in such a way, but then get to life's end and have little on which to reflect seriously. And this may sound presumptuous coming from someone with such a limited perspective, but this is the life I see as lived by many around me. And it is from this perspective that I also worry about myself. With all this free time, am I using it in a way that is conducive to personal growth, simultaneously enriching myself and others? Could my time spent studying X be better spent pursuing Y? I'm not sure. I certainly have structure, and engagement with loved ones and projects bigger than myself, but I cannot help but ponder the intellectually-tempting if-then.
Strangely enough, for how arcane and, to others, "pointless" this website is, it has never been a subject of doubt in my mind: it is one of the few things I do that I am completely certain is worthwhile. It is a constant work in progress, and a project-without-end.  Furthermore, it gives me almost-limitless freedom to work in an intellectual space of my choosing. (I assume this is what university research is like, without the bureaucratic nonsense and scramble for tenure. And teaching. And office-hours. And grant-writing. So, perhaps it's nothing like that at all.) Regardless, this subject and the writings it has spawned have put me in touch with a host of delightful, intelligent people, as well as broadened my worldview greatly. In short, there is really nothing to doubt. Sure, perhaps these writings reach only hundreds of people (and fewer on a meaningful level); and sure, there are few things more niche and specialized than this area of discussion; yet, I'm not of the belief that something's worth is always a corollary of popularity or mass-appeal, and so there is a surety that exists behind this project that doesn't exist so solidly in my other endeavors.
On a final note, I am now finished with my (somewhat lengthy) review of Breath of the Wild. It is undergoing some editing currently, but should be posted within a week or so. From there, I'm going to jump right into the game itself; there is a great deal there, but I must start sometime.
If you have any comments on anything above, or if you have experiences with Breath of the Wild you'd like to share, feel free to leave them here or in the forum. I'd love to read them.
 The nitty-gritty grammatical changes, if you are interested: I've slowly been making some editorial (cosmetic, mostly) changes over the past few days: mostly concerning em dashes and ellipses. The em dash formats strangely on this website, however, manifesting itself sometimes as a long dash (as it is supposed to), and sometimes as a set of two hyphens (--); the ellipses should be headed from "..." to ". . .", which is more tasteful to me. The last cosmetic alteration has to do with citations; some of you may have noticed that my citations are a bit odd. I don't exactly follow Chicago-Turabian, and still less do I follow APA or MLA. Rather, my citations appear as  whether for notes or works cited. So, these are being standardized, as well. Apologies if things are rather messy at the moment, and please let me know when things inevitably slip past my eyes.
"When we first presented this to Mr. Miyamoto, he spent about an hour just climbing trees . . ."
- Hidemaro Fujibayashi, in an interview with Kotaku
If I had to describe my brief experience with Breath of the Wild in three adjectives, I would say it is vast, beautiful, and overwhelming. This has all been remarked elsewhere many times, but now I fully realize just what the reviews were saying. This map is enormous - and without barriers. Not only do I have to scale every mountain and hill, but I have to scale it from every angle, just to make sure that I don't miss something. I feel as though I could spend a month in each province simply walking. Miyamoto was absolutely right to spend an hour climbing trees. I have. And I expect to spend many more hours doing so.
What this gets at, of course, is the simple fact that this game is positively delightful. It is a sheer joy to play. It is complex, intricate, and rich in detail, while at the same time allowing the player to enjoy the simplest things: walking, cooking, nature-gazing. Thus far, about fifteen hours in, I can't think of a single major complaint. Perhaps the story is a bit loose, but that's probably an inevitable conclusion with such a large, open world.
The main question I have at this point is: how am I going to effectively and meaningfully cover this game? This game's version of Zora's Domain seems bigger than all previous incarnations of Zora's Domain put together. Plus, the screenshot feature isn't the best, which means coming by pictures might be difficult. But, in all, it has so far been an absolute pleasure.
Some of you may already know this, but I was recently interviewed by William Audureau of France's Le Monde, talking about architecture within The Legend of Zelda - its past, present, and future, particularly as it concerns Breath of the Wild. Not much needs to be said, as it is probably best to simply read the article, which I've posted a link to below. And, for those of you that do not speak French (like me, sadly), I've included the English translation beneath that. Please enjoy! It was an incredible honor, an enjoyable experience, and a great surprise.
Link - http://www.lemonde.fr/pixels/article/2017/03/10/jeux-video-l-architecture-des-zelda-nous- ramene-au-stade-de-l-enfance_5092669_4408996.html
Yesterday it was almost seventy, and today it is just barely above freezing, with overcast skies and a rain that searches for the center of your bones. A changing climate is truly an interesting thing.
Anyway. With Breath of the Wild about a week away, I've been hurrying along in my Twilight Princess play-through, attempting to finish before the release date; I'm currently in the Temple of Time, with only a little to go! All the articles up to Snowpeak have thus far been polished up, with nicer pictures, new details, and better wording (at least in my opinion). I've even written a new article on "A Bathhouse in Hyrule" on the bathhouse near Zora's Domain from Twilight Princess. I didn't want to put it in the Twilight Princess category with the "serious" articles, however, so I placed it in the "Random Articles" category. So, I hope that makes sense. I am also wanting to write a short article on The Cave of Ordeals near the Arbiter's Grounds, and someone has asked that I do a tiny writing on the final boss fight's location from Skyward Sword. It seems as though there's always something to do, though I'm certainly not complaining.
When Breath of the Wild comes out, I'm incredibly uncertain of how I will cover it effectively. I've read that there are far more than one-hundred shrines within the world, as well as many dungeons and temples, so I obviously would be buried with work covering each and every shrine. While I think, at this point, that would be an impossibility, I guess we'll see what transpires.
As always, comments and suggestions are appreciated, and if you, too, think there should exist an article on something not yet covered, please feel free to send me a message letting me know. I also like riddles, so let 'em fly.
One day warm, and one day cold,
As I am currently playing through Twilight Princess HD, which has thus far impressed me greatly, I decided to take it upon myself to take as many screenshots as I can during my play-through. I've gathered about one hundred images thus far, and now I am putting them to use. I have been looking back over my old Twilight Princess articles from a few years ago, and I am now updating all the images found therein; and, as I discover new things, I am also re-writing much of the articles themselves. While not much is changing in the way of content, I am altering some of the writing, and adding in quite a bit of information concerning the new images. This play-through is proving to be incredibly worthy of my time, and the game itself is an absolute joy to play.
The second update I have is that my friend has just released another chapter of his Zelda novelization, The Hero of Time, on his website, and is currently working on the second chapter. It looks like a chapter will be released perhaps every three weeks - though take that message with a grain of salt (or two, or three). As always, I hope you give it some of your time.
Again, the link to his website is this: http://hyrulehistorical.weebly.com/
Stay warm, wherever you are,
Hello, everyone -
My good friend has just published the first installments of his novel, The Hero of Time, in an online format. It is going to be released serially, over time, and I hope that you will all give it a read. It is certainly going to be a long work, but it is wonderful, and a meaningful adaptation of the universe which we all love. The link can be found below. Please do enjoy, and don't hesitate to contact the author with any questions or comments you may have.
My constant best,
With the semi-final literary polish put on my article: On Spider Houses and Greed within The Legend of Zelda, I have just about finished with everything I have planned concerning Termina and the story of Majora's Mask. The one thing that remains to be done is a playthrough of Majora's Mask 3D, and a documentation of major architectural and design changes in the updated game. Once that is finished (I have just rescued Epona and am off to Great Bay!), I will post a pretty informal enumeration of changes in the Majora's Mask category, with any pictures I can find. (Finding adequate pictures from games has long been a challenge for me, and any assistance in that area that anyone can render would be greatly appreciated.)
And, at this point now, I am rather at a loss as to my direction. As I see it, there are two pretty obvious choices I can make, though they are starkly different: I can choose to find another Zelda game worthy of exploration and analysis (though many of the earlier games would be almost impossible to analyze meaningfully), or I can simply sit back and wait for Breath of the Wild. In my opinion, analyzing the major console games was always going to be the purpose of this website, simply because I connect more with those games - they are generally richer, more thoughtful, and more well-conceived than many of the handheld games, which are more geared toward informal, on-the-go play; because of this, they almost all lack depth or substance. Perhaps that is a controversial statement (one could argue that A Link Between Worlds breaks with that trend), but it is, generally speaking, how I feel.
If anyone has comments on this, or suggestions as to where to go from here, please do let me know. I am also not opposed to revisiting the games I've already covered - especially if I have missed something critical or interesting.
My best on this cold day,
To be brief this evening, I have just created a sub-heading under the "Home" category where I intend to feature links to websites that I find particularly noteworthy. These websites contain information, theories, or analyses that stand above the rest, in terms of craftsmanship, intellectual rigor, and overall design. As of now, I have but one link (with the generous permission of the author), but I am open to looking into any suggestions that readers might have.
If you think you have another blog, website, or author that deserves some recognition, please don't hesitate to contact me through the form provided.
All the best,
“We need the sweet pain of anticipation to tell us we are really alive.”
- Albert Camus
After having had the blissful opportunity to peer however briefly into the window of a new Zelda experience, the above quote - which speaks about anticipation - struck me as a perfect truth. What I saw was beautiful and expansive, and it awoke my imagination from its slumber. Even now I am longing to head out into the wild with nothing but a hardened ax, some home-spun clothes, and mountains in the distance. But it appears that I will need to wait until next year to do so. But, with patience, the apple will eventually fall into your hand.
Overall, my impression of the game is highly, highly favorable. The pastoral art style is akin to that of Skyward Sword, which I highly enjoyed, and the updated graphics and vast landscapes simply add to the enchanting nature of it all. The survival aspect to the game will be a radical change in the erstwhile formula, and that, along with customizable weapons and outfits, will be intensely interesting to watch with a historical lens. In addition, the continuation of the stamina bar and the introduction of both climbing and jumping mechanics excites me to no end; there were so many places in previous Zelda titles that I longed to explore, but found myself trapped within the narrow confines of a pathway or temple passage. But, this game promises complete and perfect accessibility, which may prove as wonderful as it is rare. As I was watching the several hours of game play that has been uploaded thus far, I got strong reminders of my journeys across Hyrule Field in Ocarina of Time, and this sense of adventure is something I have missed greatly in past titles.
While certain things like health bars and voice acting (by far the most out-there, for me) are minor, I am not quite sure how to feel about them; they lend a mainstream RPG feel to the atmosphere of the game, which isn't what Zelda has always been about. The subtle way in which enemies would act or change fighting style based on their health is apparently going to become much more overt. Concerning my bigger hang-ups, I am not sold on the technological aspects of the game that have been shown to us; while magic has always been present, and technology has become more and more prominent in recent games (think back to Wind Waker, Spirit Tracks, and Skyward Sword), there has always been favor shown toward magic and the inexplicable. If this truly is the first Zelda title to place technology at the fore, I am highly skeptical of it. The last thing I want is a game that borders on science fiction. That isn't in the spirit of The Legend of Zelda.
The biggest potential issue I can foresee, though, is tied into the biggest strength of the game: the open, non-linear world. While this is liberating, exciting, and adventure-friendly, it also means that plot (by nature a linear storytelling device) may be put on the back-burner. I absolutely do not want that to happen, as in the first two titles in the series. Plot has been hugely important in recent games, and has opened up new histories and myths in each age of the Zelda world. A non-linear world hints at more episodic storytelling (or perhaps the story will continue the same for everyone, but in different locations), which is by nature more fragmented and less cohesive. Yet, by this same token, it may allow the developers to introduce vast amounts of lore passively, through the environment, villagers (and other NPCs), and built constructs. I hope they take the opportunity to create a rich in-game world that pulses with cultural life, so that we can start to fill in the gaps within our current knowledge of the series.
Finally, I am also going to open a thread in the forum about this new game, so that people can discuss what they think of it. Hope to see you there!
The universe of The Legend of Zelda is replete with multifarious architectural oddities, beautiful and resonating structures, and ineffably-mysterious temples hidden in the remote corners of the world. It is my hope to explore said places, shedding light upon some of their salient features, and fulfilling the goals laid out by the introduction, the main goal of which is to help people understand and appreciate the unspoken, yet deeply-felt, allure of these locations and structures.