How Wind Waker Helped Me Cope With My Childhood Bullies

This story is this week’s Heart of the Revolution competition winner. For their moving tale about Wind Waker, GameRevolution Forum user Master_Craig won a game of their choosing from the GR goodie bag. Head on over to our forums to win next week’s prize!

In 2003 I was in my last year of middle school, on the cusp of making the transition to senior high school. I did not have a great school life. This is something I don’t tell people very often but to tell you the truth, there is no shame in hiding it anymore. I have Asperger syndrome, and growing up as a socially awkward and overweight kid at a private high school was tough.

During my middle school life (about four years in total) I had almost no friends. Whoever was my “friend” was either embarrassed to be seen with me or/and was more than happy to switch sides to the bullies when it suited them, and I was constantly tormented by other kids who would bully me, physically and verbally. It was a sad reality, but video games was my only way to escape. It might sound silly, but the only thing keeping me grounded was my family and video games.

My middle brother got a couple of GameCube games from our parents for his birthday; Metroid: Prime, Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem and of course, The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker. They’re all great games, but I completely fell in love with The Wind Waker.

The Wind Waker had an amazing soundtrack and despite the controversy before its release, its art direction and overall visuals were so bloody beautiful. The gameplay was simple, controls were tight, the story was good and the exploration was fantastic. One of my favourite aspects of the game was sailing.

When I sailed in the Wind Waker, all my problems would just seem to disappear. The digital winds would blow them away. When I turned the game off, my issues would slowly return, but when sailing across those cel-shaded waters, all the words those bullies would say to me would just drift behind me, and the pain I felt from my bruises would seem to numb. It was truly a world I found myself getting lost in.

Let’s fast forward to 2014, the year of the Nintendo Wii U. My life had got a lot better I went to university, graduated, got a full-time job, a car, I got active through judo, lost heaps of weight and even won some medals. I have a couple of circles of incredible friends and I met an amazing girl, and we’ve been together for over four years now. Nowadays, I’m doing pretty well. Some of you may remember that I made comics for GameRevolution too, so that’s an awesome goal to be kicked.

The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker got remastered for the Wii U during the console’s life cycle. I ended up buying it because of a deal Nintendo had going on — buy a copy of Mario Kart 8 for the Wii U and receive a free digital code for a game, so naturally, I got The Wind Waker.

Once again, sailing along those cel-shaded waters (in glorious HD) gave me a similar feeling and sensation to when I played as a kid. Except, I had somewhat different thoughts this time around. This time, I thought about those bullies from over ten years ago (at the time).

“What are they doing now? Are they better people? Are they the same? How are they going?”

I haven’t forgotten how those people treated me, and for a few of them, I haven’t forgiven them either. Will I ever? I don’t know. The way they treated me caused mental scarring that would cause further issues later on in my adult life. But in saying that, while sailing those colourful, blue waters, I did think of them, and I hope that wherever they are, they’re doing well for themselves. I also hope that for their own sake, that they’re better people then they were, back in the day.