Apologies to my employers, but I have to check out of work for the next three months or so. Blame Nintendo, which released the most-anticipated game of the last five years earlier this month. And not only is the new Nintendo Switch game engrossingly, all-consumingly fun, but The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom is also a part-time job—in a good way.
Tears of the Kingdom, which debuted exclusively on the hybrid home/handheld console May 12, demands all of your attention. I’d expect nothing less from the follow-up to 2017’s The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, which offered hundreds of hours of content, thanks to all the tasks you could assign yourself—from cooking strength-boosting treats to seeking out the rarest of items. The result was a game that pushed the medium to its creative limits, a masterpiece of game design. Breath of the Wild received accolades aplenty, and it was recently voted by a panel of game developers and critics as the greatest game of all time, in fact—only six years after its release.
Tears of the Kingdom, as any worthy sequel must do, obviously ups that ante. Like Breath of the Wild, this game is so uncommonly rich in activities that it is nigh impossible to put it down. By giving Link new capabilities—he can now build his own vehicles, swim through ceilings, and fuse different items together to create absurd weapons. (I’m fighting off monsters with a sword made of a dead skeleton’s arms and a gigantic boulder right now.) There are new ways to take on every impasse, and Tears of the Kingdom actively beckons you to do more, find more, try more,
Doing and finding and trying more is all I have mental energy for right now, because the possibilities do seem infinite. All the crafting I’m doing doesn’t feel like a chore, but it does feel like labor that should benefit me more as a person than it currently does. Sure, Link gets to reap the benefits of my efforts to beef up his strength and stamina. But I go to bed buzzing with that energy that only finding success in a game can give you—which is really doing a number on my sleep. I still log onto work by 9:30 every morning, despite going to bed at 3 a.m. every night, helping Link try to reunite with Zelda.
My Tears of the Kingdom adventure is getting to the point where I think Nintendo should compensate me for all the work I’m putting in. I spent at least 25 hours last week sending Link into the dark, flame-ridden depths of Hyrule Kingdom, where any wrong step could burn him to a crisp. I took many wrong steps, killing Link an untold number of times, all to locate a temple that my new friend told me to visit. If my friend asked me to endanger myself for hours every night, after an exhausting day at my real job, I’d be asking them to Venmo me first. But alas, Link only has 300 Rupees (Hyrule currency) to his name right now, and he needs to spend them on a shirt that will prevent him from catching on fire immediately.
I’m far from the only member of the Tears of the Kingdom internship program, whose population is already in the millions. Nintendo reported worldwide sales of more than 10 million copies of the game in three days—that’s a lot of us spending nearly all of our waking hours doing Link’s dirty work for him. The reviews have been glowing across the board, and I agree with the praise wholeheartedly; this game is incomprehensibly large, which is as daunting as it is thrilling. Because there is strength in numbers, I believe we players should band together and demand that our workplaces allow us to devote even more time toward surmounting the game’s all-important quests. There’s even one that involves helping out with a local area newspaper; Tears of the Kingdom wants to help me get better at my full-time job.
So I beg: Let it be my full-time job for a bit. I’m spending all my working hours thinking about the game anyway—my salary is effectively funding this video game project. And the more time I’m allowed to spend immersing myself in the grand depths of Tears of the Kingdom right now, the faster I’ll be able to get back to caring about my professional responsibilities. Just give me 200 hours or so.
If anyone needs further convincing that this new Zelda game is deserving of all my energy and attention, look no further than the chaotic hijinks other players are getting into. That includes creating absolutely absurd machines and outsmarting monsters by making them blow themselves. This is the important stuff I am spending all my time on now and I hope you will accept my proposal to make playing the game all day my real job.
Now I’ll get back to work—but I’m not telling which kind.
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