Delighted that my latest piece of creative nonfiction titled “Journeys to HYRULE_” has found the perfect home with Newfound, a nonprofit publisher and publication that explores how place shapes, identity, imagination, and understanding: “We believe that a richer experience of place—spaces human-made, natural, conceptual, or otherwise—is requisite in understanding ourselves and our world. Newfound is passionate about positively transforming how we relate to our habitats and bringing about better stewardship of our homes, neighborhoods, communities, cities, nations, and the globalized world at large.” —Why is Newfound important? Inspired by Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities and Nintendo’s The Legend of Zelda videogame series (both of which I have written about here on Ekostories), “Journeys” is a rumination on the lifelong bonds I’ve forged with a certain virtual world. I was particularly interested in exploring the notion of attachment to a digital realm that is constantly reimagined with each iteration, along with the feeling of returning to a familiar place I have never been: “…This is not my story but I know its shape. I am not the …
MOTHER 3 tells a story most would not expect a videogame to tell. Written by Shigesato Itoi, an essayist, slogan maker, copyeditor, voice actor, famed blogger, short fiction collaborator (with Haruki Murakami), Iron Chef judge and fishing fan, MOTHER 3 is a deeply intimate tale that engages on both an intellectual and emotional level. Games essayist Tim Rogers believes that it represents the closest a videogame has yet come to modern literature. For me, MOTHER 3 is art.
Over the last week, I’ve been spending a bit of spare time playing Pikmin 3, the newest entry in one of my favourite videogame franchises. (You might have noticed that one of custom headers of Ekostories is currently Pikmin themed) It’s been nine long years since the last game, and I’m pleased to find that this newest title has lost none of the whimsy and charm the series is famous for. The premise is simple but unique: A group of tiny thimble-sized astronauts have crash-landed on a mysterious planet. To carry out their mission and return home, they must enlist the help of indigenous half-plant, half-animal creatures called Pikmin. The player and their Pikmin workers must work together to traverse through jungles, tundra, and gardens to discover food and equipment that will them along in their adventure.
With the end of 2012 and the Mayan calender on people’s minds, I thought it would be topical to explore one of my favourite stories revolving around the end of the world: The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask. Many consider it to be the most creative entry in the Zelda videogame franchise. Released after The Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina of Time, one of the most critically acclaimed game of all time, Majora’s unique narrative and deeply human characters help to convey mature themes of grief, loss, and mortality with a sophistication not normally found within the medium. Drawing upon elements of the fantastic and the grim, the disturbing and the absurd, Majora’s Mask shares many similarities with traditional fairy tales and ancient myths, evoking a rich full range of emotional responses within the player.
Having recently celebrated its 25th anniversary, the Legend of Zelda is one of the most iconic and celebrated franchises in videogame history. What I love about the series is that it continually incorporates inspiration from various real-life mythologies into its own world. Each mainline iteration is a self-contained story, but they can all be seen as discrete reinterpretations of one central legend, a core narrative that revolves around the hero of Courage, aided by the heroine of Wisdom, embarking on a quest to prevent the villain of Power from acquiring the Triforce, a sacred artifact that grants its wielder’s desires. Two games in the series struck me as being particularly intriguing in the content and delivery of their monomyths from an Ekostories perspective. The first I’ll touch on is The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, released for the Gamecube in 2003 and re-released as a HD remake for the WiiU in 2013.