From Outset Island to the Lands Between, contributor Alexander Tuerk revisits departed family and vital memories of virtual worlds.
It's been a while since the last time we talked. Do you remember handing me my Gamecube, when I was six or seven? I can still see it there in its shrink-wrap. Two controllers and a game to boot. Your hands smelled like cigarettes there in the parking lot of a theater, my mom stood a couple feet behind us, and you were handing me magic from the trunk of a Ford, brushing lint off of the box. That moment, hot Maryland sun and all, glows like a lighthouse in my memory.
I mean, I was a kid. I didn't know how to interpret or even put words to the anxiety I felt, knowing it would be a month before I would see you again, bringing my Gamecube over to a friend's house and seeing both of their parents, laughing together. But when I had that controller in my hands, I felt capable. I didn't feel powerful or heroic — I felt capable.
You remember that Zelda game I told you about, probably a billion times over the phone? You're this kid, living on an island with your grandma, rounding up loose pigs and digging around for treasure. Then one day you get called to a higher cause. You find out there's a war between good and evil, the devil has returned, and you have to leave grandma behind, leave your island behind, and sail the open ocean in search of the key to victory against the shadow.