Skip to the unrelated Top 5 if you’re not willing to bite on either of these. Both of these things perfectly explain why I’ve not written a Column in over a month.

Tears of the Kingdom

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild was one of the best games of all time. Easily in my Top 3 (if not Top 1) games I’ve ever \played. So when its sequel, 6+ years in the making, finally came out - you cannot imagine the expectations I had for Tears of the Kingdom.

And yet it surpassed those expectations.

It’s such an expansive, dense, interesting world. It is incredibly good at making you say “oooo what’s that over there?” and while you’re on your way over to the thing you say “oooo actually what’s this thing?” and having that happen again and again. It’s a non-stop chain of finding 3 interesting things while you’re on your way to the first one, then finding 3 more while you double-back to check out one of the others.

Breath of the Wild showed open world games how things could be done. It was the first game (that I’m aware of) to become massive for its “systemic gaming”. Nearly everything that happens in the minute-to-minute gameplay is a result of a complex series of in-game systems. Objects have all sorts of properties and behaviors, and they can interact with each other in numerous often incredibly complex ways. Each enemy is programmed not to fight you the player, but to fight anything that isn’t part of it’s group. So you can lead one batch of enemies on a chase to another totally separate type of enemy, then just hide out and watch them fight each other. Something as simple as “fire” has innumerable uses. You can warm yourself up near a fire, use it to produce light, cook food, create an updraft of warm air that you can ride using a glider, destroy wooden obstacles, and as a weapon. When it rains your fire goes out. If you build a roof over the fire, the rain doesn’t put the fire out. These are all things that we would expect should work in the real world, but actually having them built into a game is crazy. When you think of a solution to a problem, usually that solution does work… and often it’s probably not exactly what the game makers had in mind.

It’s super fun. Incredibly impressive through technical and artistic lenses. 10/10 all-around.

I need the game to be over soon. It’s taken a couple-to-a-few hours a day away from what were definitely better ways to spend them.

Zelda & Appreciating Life

It’s both funny and sad how much this game gives you a feeling like you’re a kid again. Everything is potentially cool and interesting. Everything is maybe fun. It’s all unknowns and it feels good to start to gain mastery over where you are, how you control as a player, and what you’re trying to do. I go explore Hyrule for hours on end, but haven’t yet gone to my local hiking trail. There is a review that I’m unfortunately unable to find right now that a man wrote about how he played the predecessor to this Zelda game and he realized how differently he was framing his real life to that of the life you experience playing that game. Around every corner is opportunity to be discovered. Everything there is has something that we could appreciate more.

Pick any arbitrary subject and there’s a vast and deep pool of appreciation that you’re probably not partaking in1. My spouse has taken a deeper interest in plants recently - it’s really cool when she gets excited about some particular variant I’d previously never even known to exist.

So much of life, if you’re not careful, devolves into ‘getting through’ things. Getting through doing your taxes. Getting through house work (see: below). Getting through a workout. Getting through going to the doctor. It’s nice to have something remind you from time to time that this whole thing is supposed to be fun. Maybe stopping to explore around a new corner in Zelda can help me remember to stop and smell the metaphorical roses.

House Work

Owning a house can be a part-time job. The house we bought two years ago has definitely been. In the two years we’ve lived here we’ve definitely put in more cumulative housework than we did in the 6 years we lived at our previous place.

Melissa and I sat down a month (or so) back and made a list of 50 house projects. From big things (one of which you’ll see below) to small things (like replacing a light switch). We’ve done an absolute blitzkrieg over the past few weeks and knocked out 10 of them.

Incomplete List of Projects Done

In the past two months we’ve…

  • fixed a backyard drainage problem (burying a small new pipe)
  • fixed a side yard and sump pump drainage problem (burying a large new pipe)
  • stripped and resealed our two decks (one of which is very large)
  • replaced the pump of our small water fountain
  • replaced the entire water feature, (burying 1000lbs of concrete)


  • amongst other things

Shoveled to Death

I properly messed up my back/neck area doing the concrete work. I’ve been out of commission for 2 full weeks now due to what’s likely a slightly herniated disc in my lower-neck/upper-back region. Turns out being physically fit isn’t good enough. I’m the opposite of that guy from The Mystery Men. I shovel bad.

Having a messed up back is a pretty good reason to sit down and play a ton of Zelda, though.

Top 5: Animal Types I’m Scared to Identify in Front of Others

5. Mouse and Rat

Rats are bigger… but how much bigger? Where’s the line? If I see a medium-to-large rodent I’m going to say “AHHH RODENT” instead of committing to mouse or rat.

4. Frog and Toad

Toads are bigger, and bumpier. At least in my head. Pretty sure.

3. Monkey and Ape

Apes are more human-looking? Also larger, I think. Monkeys have harrier faces or something.

2. Alligator and Crocodile

Something about their nose. Crocodiles are pointier?

1. Dolphin and Porpoise

I think it’s something to do with their nose? Dolphins are pointier?


Let’s use the silly flowers!  My 4 Year Old, who loves watching me play Zelda

  1.  As with all topics, there’s a relevant XKCD that comes to mind