Fairy Tales are for Grown-Ups Sep28

Fairy Tales are for Grown-Ups...

“Without the dark parts it’s just some silly f—” Chronicler froze halfway through the word, eyes darting nervously to the side. Bast grinned like a child catching a priest midcurse. “Go on,” he urged, his eyes were delighted, and hard, and terrible. “Say it.” “Like some silly faerie story,” Chronicler finished, his voice thin and pale as paper. Bast smiled a wide smile. “You know nothing of the Fae, if you think our stories lack their darker sides.” Not long ago, I was reading The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss, and I stumbled upon this quote. A rush of mischievous emotion washed over me, and I caught myself cracking a wide smile. Two things dawned on me that day, which I swear I’ve known and forgotten a thousand times: 1) I was reading a fairy tale, and 2) Fairy tales are not just for children. My favourite half-memories are from when I was a child visiting a carnival. The world was new to me then, and I was just beginning to develop an understanding of its shape and turnings. There was not yet enough room in my expanding imagination for things so alien, exotic, and joyful. Flashes of neon illuminating the dusky dark; the atmosphere of popcorn and hot dogs; the Ferris Wheel under starlight; the taste of danger and adrenaline on the roller coaster. I don’t see this as running away from real life, but rather deepening my appreciation for it. This was a time and a place where the barriers between the worlds of child and adult were thin. The giddy anticipation and the thrill of discovery were electric, euphoric. The English language does not seem to have a word to fully capture what it was like, although “nostalgia” comes...

Small Worlds, Big Stories...

It’s a good time to be a Zelda fan. I’m elated to finally know something real about The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. After years of teasing, we can finally see what a Zelda game will be like in the style of Skyrim, Fallout, and Metal Gear Solid V. I recognize that I might be tying myself to the tracks of the hype train by saying this, but I was secretly hoping Breath of the Wild wouldn’t be open-world. I’m not trying to trash the glorious reputation of open-world games. Rather, the reverse. Everyone knows how good these games are. They’re everywhere. Their quality is self-evident. Instead, I want to prove that linear games are great too. Not better, just different. Like, a better sort of different. Here’s why: I’ve found that a story is a finite thing. If you want to stretch it very wide, you must accept that it can’t go deep. Breath of the Wild’s long development process and release on two consoles parallels my experience as a teenager waiting for Twilight Princess to come out. When that finally arrived, I cried watching Link ride across the sunset-washed title screen for the first time, in spectacular 480i. (That was a big deal ten years ago, wasn’t it?) We don’t like being unable to choose, even though we rarely can. Twilight Princess was massive. But outside of the vast main quest, there was not much to do. Back then, I was disappointed—I thought there was potential to fill the game with so much more. In retrospect, I think I was missing the forest for the trees. The things that make me truly, truly feel like a part of the game, are when the story sinks its teeth in, when the...