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Tears of the Kingdom: Trying to Bring Smiles in Times of Darkness

by Shane Kelley

Shane shares how The Legend of Zelda series can connect us and heal us during difficult times.


So, most of you know that my first game in The Legend of Zelda series was Zelda II: The Adventure of Link at the age of 5. Because of this, I did not care too much for the series (very sad indeed). This was later changed by a simple act of kindness when I owned an SNES. My uncle, who I didn’t know was big into the Zelda series, lent us A Link to the Past. This deed was what revitalized the series for me and shaped my paths in life.

As I've grown older, I’ve enjoyed all sorts of Zelda games and experiences--from Day 1 buys, standing in line, preorder bonuses, and even going to E3 2016. Over time I became much more involved in the games, but I lost track of what my uncle had played or where he was in his journey of The Legend of Zelda. As time passed and I went through high school, college, career moves, marriage, fatherhood, and so on and so forth, I spent less time checking in on extended family because, of course, life is busy, especially with having over twenty aunts and uncles and 80-plus cousins. This is an unfortunate byproduct of a busy lifestyle.

In early 2022, I learned my uncle's wife had a form of cancer that gradually took its nasty and aggressive course and brought her to a better place. This occurred a few weeks before the holidays, so instead of celebrating with friends and family, we ended up mourning a missed loved one. I had not seen or talked to my uncle in a few years, and seeing him made me reminisce about when I was younger as well as feel so heartbroken for him and my cousins. One thing that is always hard about a situation like this is trying to talk to someone who is hurting and knowing you cannot fix what has already occurred. Mustering the courage to go up and talk to him and give him my heartfelt condolences led to what I hope will bring future smiles.

As I conversed with him, I felt the sadness that was understandably present. Because of this, I wanted to lighten that feeling and asked him if he had played Zelda lately. He said that he had not in a while, but he still had the NES, SNES, and N64 hooked up to his television because of all those games he enjoyed. He had not picked up a Nintendo Switch at all, so he had not experienced Breath of the Wild. I talked to him about the upcoming Tears of the Kingdom, and he sounded excited. I then said you can play most of the older Zelda games on the Switch as well. All this information really helped break the solemn mood. After talking to him, I felt as though he missed the series, and I immediately had some ideas.

I went over to my cousin and told him about my discussion with his dad. I suggested that maybe the family pick up a Nintendo Switch for him. I told him about all the Zelda games available on the system and that maybe it would make a great gift to help him through this time. He could catch up with most of the games he missed and be prepared for Tears of the Kingdom when it came out. My cousin thought it was an excellent idea and made sure to take some notes of what I had said. I hope that they end up getting one for him because he deserves to smile in times of darkness. It makes me smile whenever others enjoy a series that I do, too.

I’m sure many of you have experienced things in your lives as well that have caused you or someone you know pain. I hope you and the ones you love can smile once again in some form or fashion, no matter what has happened.

It doesn’t matter how you get there, but embrace the happiness you gain along the journey to recovery from the despair that tragedy leaves behind. Smile, my friends, and let the light take over.

Please follow me on Twitter @stillsaneshane.

Image Source: Provided by author


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