170 hours into The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, there’s not much stuff to do that’s actually interesting. I’ve done all 120 shrines, all of the Trial of the Sword, and completed every side-quest. But I’m not done with the game; I’ve just changed the way I play it.
My method for how I try to break my backlog has changed a bit from the last time I wrote about it. The general structure is the same, but I’ve gotten rid of some of the rules and introduced some new ones. Basically, I have one console game (PS4, Wii, Wii U, Switch) and one portable game (DS, 3DS, uh... Switch). That way, I have two different games to play, but they never compete for my attention. I’ll play the console game (currently Horizon: Zero Dawn) at home, and the portable game (currently Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia) on the go. The Switch is perfect because, as previously mentioned, it can mold into whatever is lacking. If I don’t have any other portable game I’m playing, it can become that, or vice versa. There could even be times when I’ve beaten a portable game and put a console game on the stand, but the same Switch game would stay on and just change its role from console to portable!
But that still leaves room for the third game, which I like to call my “chill” game. Video games are fun, (duh!) but they can also be really stressful. Constantly waiting for the perfect time to strike in Horizon or perfectly strategizing exactly where to place all of my units in Fire Emblem takes mental energy that I might not have, depending on the day. And that’s why I have my “chill” game, which is currently The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.
Breath of the Wild starts out at the very opposite of “chill.” You’re super squishy, and everything is trying to kill you. The further you get in the game, the more easier these enemies become, but that just means that you can take on larger challenges. Eventually, however, I got to the point where the game couldn’t keep up with me. I now have some of the best gear in the game, and I die only if I do something very stupid, especially with Mipha’s grace refreshing every few minutes. And all I have left in the game is the stuff that doesn’t seem very interesting at a glance: mini-games, all 900 korok seeds, armor upgrades, and 100% map completion. It’s mainly just going through the game with a fine-toothed comb to find everything that I missed before.
But I love this version of Hyrule so much! It doesn’t matter if I’m just knocking out korok seeds left and right; it’s a virtual place I can enter to relax and do some monotonous activity. The korok seed puzzles are repetitious, yes, but that repetition takes me to a state of relaxation. It’s my form of meditation: Go to Breath Companion (an app that has all of the korok seed locations), mark seed locations on map, go to locations, solve puzzle, take markers off in-game map and app-map, repeat.
And I’m well on my way to actually completing this game! I have my map completion at around 60%, and I’ve just hit 450 korok seeds collected, meaning that I have all of my inventory slots maxed out and that I’m halfway done with collecting all 900. While it’s not the exact same activity over and over again, it’s similar enough that you could call it grinding.
And that’s okay! To relax, some people sew. Other people doodle. I grind in video games. What’s wrong with that?