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In Zelda-land, the grasses have to go

Zelda screenshotI spent a few days recently in Grand Junction, Colorado visiting my cousin and her two sons. One of them recently turned 11, and the booty he took in from the celebration included a copy of The Wind Waker, part of the Legend of Zelda family of video games. “Genie, and you know what else? If you come watch me play, you can see the monster that looks kind of like a warthog.”

Can’t argue with that invitation.

I curled up on the couch in their basement and watched him as he directed Link, the small, blonde character on screen, to run down a wooden dock, leap into the water and swim up to the beach. Link ran up the sand, leaving wet footprints in his wake before approaching a stand of grasses.

Thwack-thwack! With a swing of the sword, my cousin’s son had used Link to eliminate the nagging horticulture. Thwack-thwack! Another few clumps disappeared.

“Why are you cutting down all the plants?” I asked. My eleven-year-old companion did not answer. He was too absorbed in mowing down everything green in his path.

Up a hill from the beach stood a scowling adult male character up to his thighs in a huge patch of green clumps. Link approached the character, who made some sort of electronic noise in his general direction and waved his arms about robotically. Then my cousin’s son directed Link to cut down almost all the grasses. Thwack-thwack! Thwack-thwack!

Then a clump fell, exposing a floating green gem – a rupee, in the game’s parlance – which Link retrieved. My cousin’s son’s score moved up by a point. It seems the grasses hide the gems.

“That gardener was mad at you for cutting down all his plants,” I said, later, to the eleven-year-old gamer. “He wanted you to leave them alone.”

“No, he didn’t,” said my cousin’s son. “He just wanted to tell me where the rupees were.”

“I don’t know,” I said. “He looked pretty scowley to me.”

But the next night, when once again, my young gamer buddy coaxed me back to the couch for another mesmerizing session of game-watching, we did, in fact, go through the part of the game where Link receives instructions from a different, yet equally ill-tempered gardener: Cut down the grasses. Find the rupees.

Mystery solved. I guess the gardeners in Zelda-land are much more forgiving than gardeners in real life. Can you imagine encouraging someone to cut down all your plantlife and take your cash?

12 Comments on “In Zelda-land, the grasses have to go”

  1. #1 steven
    on May 8th, 2007 at 11:49 am

    I spent a portion of my morning as Link, chopping down grass, looking for rupees so I could buy a slingshot. With the new Nintendo Wii, you actually have to make the physical motion of chopping at the grass and frankly my arms hurt too much to go out and W(ii)eed for real.

  2. #2 inadvertentgardener
    on May 8th, 2007 at 11:54 am

    Steven, you must seriously live the life…video games all morning and then you get to skip the weeding portion of the day? Life of leisure, to be sure. :-)

  3. #3 Karen Ledebur
    on May 8th, 2007 at 12:08 pm

    If only that gamer would actually contribute to the real yard work around here. Not even a rupee motivates him. He prefers electronic gardening. Nice piece! Come back for more material my roses are almost in bloom and everything is now green and lush around here. :)

  4. #4 inadvertentgardener
    on May 8th, 2007 at 12:49 pm

    Karen, maybe one of these days he’ll be tempted by American rupees…you never know! Like I said…the game’s pretty mesmerizing…I can see why he prefers it to the real yard. :-) Wish I was there checking on your roses with you!

  5. #5 Sylvana
    on May 8th, 2007 at 11:12 pm

    You must have missed the part where you chop down trees and flowers, pick up rocks and farm animals and thrown them around, as well as go into people’s homes and smash their pottery to get things like rupees. I always felt like such a hoodlum playing Link!

    Windwaker was awesome but Twilight Princess is DA BOMB!!
    Best.Video Game.EVER.

  6. #6 Sugar Creek Farm
    on May 9th, 2007 at 8:57 am

    I wish someone would come and thwack down my plantlife. We haven’t had time to mow the lawn yet this year and it’s getting quite lush, to put it nicely. Fortunately we bought a four-legged lawn mower this weekend and she’s in the backyard as I type, taking care of the grass stand back there. (And we are maybe hillbillies now, letting a horse have at our yard.)

  7. #7 inadvertentgardener
    on May 9th, 2007 at 9:01 am

    Sylvana, I didn’t get to see that part — just the grasses. I do admit…I was a little taken aback by all the smashing of pottery and trespassing, too — you’re right….Link can be a little hoodlum!

    Kelli, your new four-legged lawnmower is quite lovely and not hillbillyesque at all! Plus, I assume if you let her thwack down your plantlife, that’ll keep her feed bill down, right?

  8. #8 Karen Ledebur
    on May 9th, 2007 at 11:38 am

    Steven the 11 year old gamer has learned that lifting small weights daily builds up arm strength for the Wii and the weed whacking. He doesn’t know about the slingshot but he’s crazy about slingshots so I will have to pass this information on. His last slingshot came from Mexico where he and a character named Laif haggled for it. That could be an idea for a new video game….hmmmmm!

  9. #9 inadvertentgardener
    on May 10th, 2007 at 12:55 am

    Karen, I don’t know…sounds like a really fun video game to me. :-)

  10. #10 bright strangely
    on May 10th, 2007 at 4:16 pm

    i can’t help it, this just reminds of this creepy little film i saw a little bit ago…
    http://www.videosift.com/video/Rabbit-Award-winning-animated-short-820

    but hey, kudos for trying to impart a little morality! the boy who lives next door is always beating the bejesus out of the plant that sticks over the fence. perhaps he’s just a zelda fan. maybe i’ll get him hooked on guitar hero for the cultural value and the arm strength. i’m sure the wii must be fun and all, but you weedwhackers know you want to ROCK!

  11. #11 inadvertentgardener
    on May 12th, 2007 at 8:58 am

    Bright Strangely, I’m all for getting him hooked on Guitar Hero, but as a former band member, I wish there were versions that hit the other instruments in the band — everyone wants to be the guitar player, and there always seems to be a shortage of drummers! But back to plants…how is this kid beating on the plant? With a stick? His hands? Inquiring minds want to know.

  12. #12 bright strangely
    on May 14th, 2007 at 4:50 pm

    loudly! i don’t know if he has an implement or not… he might be wrestling it for all i know. it’s just breathless grunts and shuddering leaves. i should give the poor thing a cigarette!

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