Hey, remember that excellent/tragic Zelda commercial from Tears of the Kingdom’s launch, where a middle-aged businessman rediscovers his love for life (and efficient public transport) through the wonders of a Nintendo Switch game? While it’s a cute little story, it wasn’t an entirely original tale.
As reported at the time, the commercial’s creators were inspired by, of all things, an Amazon review left under the game’s predecessor, Breath of the Wild. Written by a Japanese user, it told the tale of a “working adult” who spends his days “plainly wondering why I’m still alive”.
In the days since the Australian trailer’s release, a Japanese Zelda fan reading Kotaku Australia (what a world we live in) took the original story’s Google-translated version of the review and properly translated it so we can read and enjoy it in full. As you can see, while the new trailer isn’t a direct adaptation—the original Japanese user was single, for example—the vibes of a guy rediscovering a long-lost joy for not just video games, but life, are there.
I am a working adult, so-called businessmen. I’m jostled by the commuter rush, bowing down to customers and bosses, being forced to train junior staff and doing many things, and I end up working overtime every day. Even the mountain I see on my way to work, which I don’t even know the name of, irritates me. When I get back home I’m dizzy and have no energy to eat food, so I just drink alcohol and sleep. If I have time to play games I should be going to seminars or looking for a marriage partner, which makes me more impatient than I should be. I spend my days plainly wondering why I’m still alive.
I went to buy alcohol because I ran out and saw the Switch on sale in the shops. Then I remembered the day. When I was a child and really into Mario 64, my friend said, “lame to play Mario nowadays! Now it’s the era of PlayStation!” and I felt embarrassed. At the time, I didn’t want my friend to dislike me, so I also remember that I replied, “Yeah, you’re right. Mario is already old-fashioned!”
The beauty of FF7 at that time and the shock of being able to listen to the CD on TV… the recent kids may not understand these feelings. That’s how attractive and innovative it was for kids back then.
I’m still not sure why I picked up the Switch at the time. I just held a beer in one hand and bought the console and Zelda, thinking I could sell it if it was boring.
Yesterday, my work day, I looked out of the train window at a mountain I didn’t even know the name of and thought, “Looks like I can climb that.” At that moment, I burst into tears and couldn’t stop. The businessmen of the same age who were beside me must have thought, “What the hell is this guy.”
I would recommend it to all my fellow businessmen who are pressed for time and scrambling day after day to maintain the status quo, even if everyone hates you. Don’t say it’s just a game. We were born during the golden age of video games. Have you ever seen your family move their entire body when Mario jumps? Do you remember playing Mario Kart or Smash Bros with your friends bringing their own controllers? Have you ever discussed Chrono Trigger or FF7 strategies with your friends? Now I know. When I was a brat, my parents bought me expensive consoles and software for my birthday, Christmas and something. My parents, who were always nagging me, managed to raise money from their living budget to buy expensive games for me.
I’m touched to belatedly realise many things that I didn’t realise due to the busyness of living my own life. I should have been more filial.
The 5-stars reviews are all good ones, so there’s nothing for me to talk about now. This Zelda gives me the “challenge and reward” I forgot about. I can freely explore the world without maps, it’s an exciting adventure experience. People my age are sick every day to overcome tomorrow. But don’t despair of your life. The adventure I wanted was in such a place.
P. S. I feel like thanking this Zelda and I would like to apologise to the Mario 64 development team and Nintendo. I’d like to apologise for the lies I told that day, saying that Mario 64 was old-fashioned, even though I loved it. I am sincerely looking forward to Mario Odyssey being released this winter.
Postscript, 7 May: after 180 hours of play, I got all “recovered memory” and saw the ending. More than anything, I’d like to thank all the people who read my awful, long, cluttered and embarrassing review written emotionally. I’d also like to thank all the people who gave it a “helpful” rating, not only for reading it. I’ve never been appreciated by so many people even in my job. I really enjoyed my 180 hours spent running around Hyrule. I’d like to thank not only Nintendo but also all the Zelda fans who have continued to support Zelda. Thank you for a great adventure.
For all the similarities between this man’s tale and the commercial, the part where he apologises for abandoning Mario in the face of a PlayStation advertising campaign—I did something similar with Sonic 3 when my friends were playing WipeOut—hit hard.