Alex Phillimore: (alex.phillimore-deleteme[at]-deleteme-direman [dot] com) 2013-04-18 17:41:00
The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker and Minigames
Th' Legend o' Zelda: Th' Wind Waker on th' Nintendo Gamecube be hardly short o' things t' do. Th' amount o' minigames alone could occupy a player's time fer countless enjoyable hours. One o' th' best an' most enjoyable minigames be th' seafarin' hearty-themed 'Sinkin' Ships' game on Windfall Isle. In this game, th' player had t' fire cannonballs at squids in a parody o' th' famous Battleships game. What made 't entertainin' be Salvatore, th' man who ran th' game. He be a fascinatin' specimen o' a man; a bipolar scallywag who seemed t' sublimate his tired existence wi' that o' a sea-farin' hero.
Enterin' Salvatore's homeport, he appears bored. He be sleepin', in fact, until th' player wakes th' lad up, an' e'en then he seems t' be havin' woken up on th' wrong side o' th' bunk. He grunts a wee garbled noise at Link an' appears altogether unwelcomin'. That be, at least, until he makes Link a proposition - he asks fer treasure in exchange fer a go on his game, th' aforementioned 'Sinkin' Ships'. If th' player declines Salvatore goes back t' his borin' desk job; a guy workin' nine-till-five, who once had big dreams but ended up stuck on a remote isle, arrr, his best voyages behind th' lad.
If th' player pays up, however, then Salvatore's eyes light up; he stops slouchin', removes his chin from its lazy position restin' against his clenched fist, an' he pulls ou' a cardboard cut-ou' o' a seafarin' hearty, th' seafarin' hearty he once dreamed o' bein'. He maintains his reverie by adoptin' an altogether diff'rent accent, talkin' t' Link as if he be some sort o' nautical authority. Salvatore be a tragic character in this regard - he desperately wished t' be a sea-farer. Prior t' that, his hope be t' be a painter, but that dream didna work ou' either. Now he be limited t' tailorin' amusin' wee games fer children on desolate isles. An', when a child such as Link enters his store an' pays th' toll, all o' them dreams Salvatore envisioned fer hisself he sees within Link. Link becomes th' character Salvatore wished t' once be, an', as a result, he receives a short burst o' happiness. 'Tis fleetin', but only durin' th' time Link plays 'Sinkin' Ships' can Salvatore be truly content.
Durin' this time, Salvatore adopts his alter-ego, Admiral Dolvalski. He imagines hisself as th' protective bulwark o' Windfall Isle, arrr, defendin' 't from swarms o' giant squid. Dolvalski dasn't show much concern fer th' adults o' th' isle: like him, they be lost souls stranded on a rocky outcrop, nereto leave again. But he does show a profound interest in protectin' th' children o' th' isle, arrr, suggestin' once again that he sees children as bein' like himself as a youngster: full o' potential.
Sadly, Dolvalski be rather insane. Years o' runnin' his game has caused him t' develop multiple swabbieality disorder, an' he talks t' hisself through a series o' abstract soliloquise, durin' which time he adopts th' persona nay only o' th' ship's captain, but also o' th' jacks defendin' th' ship. He be both master an' servant in this transaction; a slave to th' maritime machinations o' his fragmented mind. As he watches Link play, he does so wi' noticeable rapture:
"Kaboom!" he exclaims when ye land a direct hit.
"Sploooooosh" he laments when yer cannonball misses.
If ye're victorious, he regresses t' his youth, 'ere he used t' watch dashin' sea captains protectin' th' port o' his homeland an' dream o' sailin' off wi' them. He replaces th' cardboard cut-ou' o' Admiral Dolvalski wi' that o' a child who be elated t' ben saved from a shoal o' squid. Th' child Salvatore keeps a peace o' heart, representative o' his own love fer bein' a successful jack, which he gives t' th' player fer beatin' his game. 't be all a test; a test in which Salvatore could deem yer worthiness t' become th' hero o' th' ocean that he always wished t' be.
Afterwards th' character panels be thrown t' th' deck an' Salvatore returns t' his grumpy, normal state. Th' adventurous glint in his eye has gone, an' his monotonous tone returns. He only opens up again when th' player scores well enough on th' mini-game t' receive a booty chart. At that point he be convinced that Link be th' boy he could o' ben if only he had been more impulsive an' adventurous as a kid. He wishes Link all th' best in locatin' th' booty illustrated in th' chart that his father undoubtedly passed down t' him. 't be his life goal t' make his father proud an' locate th' booty, but wi' Link as his trusted confidant, he can rest easy knowin' that his father's legacy will nay be forgotten, an' that th' booty o' th' Sploosh name can be unearthed once an' fer all.
When Link leaves, th' player thinks that they be havin' merely passed a couple o' minutes in a tacked-on minigame designed t' slightly increase th' longevity o' a game. But minigames be much more than that. T' swabbies like Salvatore, they be a glimpse into th' future, an' a throwaft t' th' past. They be a way o' revisitin' old memories, blowin' off th' dust an' ruminatin' on how things could o' ben. Ye would be forgi'en fer thinkin' that 'Sinkin' Ships', an' th' countless other minigames ye be havin' encountered in video games be barely worth yer time, but ye need look nay further than Salvatore t' be seein' how important they truly be.