Tales from Hyrule: Stories with My Daughter

john_head By: John

Playing: Pushmo World       Watching: Luther


 

The world we live in is getting more technologically advanced every single year. And every year as that happens our options for consuming entertainment become both more varied and more portable. My children can curl up in bed at the end of the night with the iPad or iPhone and have access to thousands of cartoons, songs and videogames accessible within seconds at the press of a button. The possibilities are practically limitless. It blows my mind that they live in an age where they can browse a complete catalog of every episode of every cartoon I enjoyed as a child. But as this happens I wonder if maybe we’re losing touch with something. An important form of entertainment that years ago used to be just about your only option. Storytelling.

 the_winder_waker_tribute_by_adam_leonhardt-d6jlhhh

art by: Adam Leonhardt

And when I say storytelling I’m not talking about reading books to your children although I think that reading is incredibly important and is an option that more and more parents are passing over in favor of a digital alternative. I’m talking about making up a story. Sitting next to your child as they fall asleep and pulling a story out of thin air. I know that it’s not as easy as reading a book but there is something so rewarding about creating a tale from scratch. The story flowing and changing depending on your childs reactions. Watching their eyes light up with each new twist and turn.

As my daughter gets older she is beginning to watch her mother and I play games more and the one series that has grabbed her imagination more than any other is The Legend of Zelda. She loved sitting in my lap and watching me play A Link Between Worlds and is now watching Mom play Wind Waker HD. She is mesmerized by the fantastical world and the colorful characters and even told me the other day she wants to be Princess Zelda for Halloween. So when I first started telling her stories at bedtime it seemed natural to create one within that world. It was a natural fit considering the games reinvent themselves with each new entry so there were no rules or specific details that you had to adhere to. And the world is so vast and there are so many characters that you can draw from all sorts of resources to sculpt your own unique tale.

It has now become a tradition of sorts that every once in awhile she’ll ask me to tell her a Zelda story at night. Each time I’ll start from the begining, crafting a new and unique origin for Link and Zelda. It’s always familiar but always different from the last time. And these stories that we create are epic. We’re not talking one night here, these stories will go on for multiple evenings in a row. Each night ending in a heart racing cliffhanger. Will Link escape from the Water Temple?! Will Zelda find the last piece of Tri-Force?! Without a doubt my favorite part of telling her these stories is just how involved in it she becomes. Gasping at an exciting part, hiding under the sheets when it gets scary, guessing what she thinks is going to happen next. She becomes so invested in these stories that I can’t help but go on and on even when I know we should probably turn out the lights and go to sleep.

Childhood goes by quickly and those special moments you get to spend with your children are precious. Telling stories of Link and Zelda to my daughter has become one of those moments. One that no app on the iPad can replicate. It’s a time for the two of us to get lost in an epic adventure together. An adventure that will never be repeated again and is unique to those nights sitting together in the dark. And that’s fine if once the story ends it’s gone except in our memories. It doesn’t matter if we can’t recall all of the details from our last trip to Hyrule. Because the next time we can just start again, from the very begining.

Once upon a time…

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