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Triforce of Courage: The Links of History

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Legends say, that when the kingdom is on the verge of destruction, a hero clad in green will appear to repel evil and save the world. In The Legend of Zelda series that role always falls on the youthful and resilient Link. Time and time again, Link answers the call of destiny by taking up arms to slay whatever ails the kingdom of Hyrule. But Link is usually just retrospectively analyzed as one amalgamate hero, while actually he is so much more than that. Link is 15 different heroes, to be exact, and with each separate hero comes a distinct story and adventure. So, let’s give the heroes of Hyrule their due and appreciate their own unique contributions to the series as a whole.

The Beginnings of a Legend

Hylia’s Chosen Hero

Skyward Sword

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Chronologically, the first Link to ever take up the sword and defend Hyrule is Hylia’s Chosen Hero. Mentioned briefly in Skyward Sword as the reason for the Loft Wing Ceremony, Hylia’s Chosen Hero battled in a time when the earth was still in its infancy. The Goddess Hylia used the power of the Triforce given to her by the Three Goddesses, who created the world, to battle the scourge of monsters summoned by the Demon King Demise. Of course, even with the Triforce, this was a task she couldn’t handle alone.

Not only did she unite the world’s tribes, she anointed Link as her chosen hero to help her defend against the monsters, something he accomplished quite well. It was an effort accomplished so well that the Goddess herself gave him her blessed sailcloth as a gift of appreciation for putting his life on the line for herself and the world.

The Hero of the Goddess

Skyward Sword

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The same Link who was constantly bullied by Groose and his gang of ne’erdowells was also the first successor of Hylia’s Chosen Hero. In a time before Hyrule was even a kingdom, The Hero of the Goddess took to both sky and land in order to save the world from the returning Demise. In doing so, he forged The Master Sword and used it to slay the Demon King in a winner-take-all battle within the Sacred Realm.

Unfortunately for Link and Zelda, killing Demise placed a curse upon the two’s descendants. Those with royal blood and the spirit of the hero are fated to meet constant battle against the forces of evil for ages to come. But that’s a problem for future Link! Link and Zelda celebrated their victory by making home on the land below the clouds, planting the seeds for the beginning of Hyrule as well as the Hylian race.

The Hero of Men

The Minish Cap

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When the lands began showing signs of fruitful civilization, another scourge of monsters came and attempted to lay seige to the world. According to the prologue of The Minish Cap, a young man clad in green with long flowing blond hair came down from the heavens like a gift from the Goddesses themselves. It was The Hero of Men, and he did indeed hold a gift from the heavens.

The Picori Blade was given to him by the Minish, the descendants of those who remained in the sky during the events of Skyward Sword. With the mighty blade, Link banished the monsters within the Bound Chest using the sword as a seal. After saving the world, he vanished into the woods, never to be seen again.

The Hero of the Elements

The Minish Cap

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But all things can’t last forever, as The Hero of the Elements soon found out. During Hyrule’s annual Picori Festival, the evil Minish Magician, Vaati, came down to Earth and released the monsters from the Bound Chest. It was up to The Hero of the Elements to take up the Picori Blade and banish the monsters just as The Hero of Men had done years ago.

Link ventured through Hyrule, collecting the elemental artifacts as well as using the power of the Light Force to forge the Picori Blade into the mighty Four Sword, which held the special power of splitting the bearer into four. Of course, he did not venture alone. Ezlo, a former Minish turned into a smart-mouthed green cap by the evil Vaati, showed him the Minish ways of transforming into minuscule size to access certain temples, all while sitting comfortably on top of Link’s head.

But Vaati would have none of this nonsense. In the Palace of Winds, Vaati would be consumed by his dark powers and transformed himself into a hideous monster. However, the power of the Four Sword proved too much for Vaati as the monster was sealed away within the Bound Chest, but this time with the Four Sword as its seal.

The Hero of the Four Sword

Four Swords

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But alas, the seal of the Four Sword weakened and Vaati escaped his imprisonment. Vaati, who had lost all memory of his time as a Minish, began kidnapping beautiful maidens from all across Hyrule taking them up to his Palace of Winds.

The tale of The Hero of the Four Sword is told by those rescued Maidens. They spoke of a hero who broke into the Palace of Winds carrying a sword that split himself into four warriors. The split hero once again sealed Vaati into the Bound Chest using the Four Sword and hid it away within a sacred shrine.  And just as suddenly as the hero emerged, he disappeared leaving a grateful kingdom in his path.


The Four Heroes

Four Swords

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But, you guessed it, Vaati escaped once again! Upon awakening, Vaati kidnapped Princess Zelda, taking her to his Palace of Winds with the intentions of making her his dark bride.

Link, who had accompanied Zelda on their journey to check on the seal, grabbed the Four Sword and inadvertently split himself into The Four Heroes. The quartet bombarded Vaati, who vehemently protected his kingdom and bride-to-be, but succumbed to the mighty Four Sword once again.

With Vaati sealed in the Four Sword, Link returns to his usual whole self and The Four Sword Sanctuary is built to ensure the seal would remain unbroken by any and all outside sources.

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Gamer, Writer, and a lover of pro-wrestling. Being born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona he took up gaming and writing at a young age to shield himself from the blazing heat. Ever since he first got his hands on Sonic the Hedgehog 2 at the age of 3, gaming has been apart of his life and wishes to revolve his life around the industry and the art of writing. When he's not gaming, he's attending the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at ASU or watching some pro wrestling!

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Game Reviews

‘Coffee Talk’ Review: The Best Brew in Town

Coffee Talk is as quaint as your local coffee shop. It’s relatively short, wonderfully sweet, and absolutely committed to the art form of telling a story through a video game screen.

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It’s 9:00pm. The rain just started coming down softly a few minutes ago, and the street outside is reflecting the lights above it. Neon signs shine brightly in the distance, although it’s hard to make out the words. You unlock the doors to the coffee shop and wipe down the counters in order to get them clean for the customers. The rain makes a soft sound as it hits the glass and passerby speed up their walking pace to avoid it. The bells chime as a tall, green orc walks in and sits down at your table in silence. You wonder what their story is…

I wanted to set the tone for this review because of how important atmosphere and audio/visual design is in the world of Coffee Talk. While it’s easy to boil the game down as a visual novel-type experience, it’s honestly so much more than that. A unique cast of characters, incredible user interface, and a mysterious protagonist combine to form the most enjoyable experience I’ve had this year on Switch.

Coffee Talk
Some of the subject matter can be pretty serious in nature…

Coffee Talk is beautiful because of how simple it is. The entire game takes place within a single coffee shop. As the barista, you’re tasked with making drinks for the patrons of the shop as well as making conversations with them. The twist is that earth is populated with creatures like orcs, werewolves, and succubi. The relationship between the various races is handled very well throughout the story, and some interesting parallels are made to the real world.

Making drinks is as simple as putting together a combination of three ingredients and hitting the ‘Serve’ button. If a unique drink is made, it will be added to a recipe list that can be referenced on the barista’s cell phone. This is where the awesome user interface comes in, as the phone has a series of apps that can be accessed at any moment in the game. One app houses your recipe list, another acts as a facebook for the characters in the game, one allows you to switch between songs, and the other houses a series of short stories that one of the characters in the game writes as it progresses. It’s one of the coolest parts of the whole experience and helps it stand out from other games in the genre.

Coffee Talk is as quaint as your local coffee shop. It’s relatively short, wonderfully sweet, and absolutely committed to the art form of telling a story through a video game screen.

Coffee Talk cycles between talking with customers and making drinks for them. In the beginning, they will ask for basic beverages that can be brewed on the fly. Later on however, they may ask for a specific type of drink that has a unique title. These drinks often have certain descriptive features that hint at other possibilities in terms of unique dialogue. If the wrong drink is made, you’ll have five chances to trash it and make a new one. If the wrong drink is made, don’t expect the customer to be pleased about it.

The gameplay really is not the focus here though; it’s the characters and their stories that take center stage. An elf with relationship issues, a writer that can’t seem to pin down her next story, and an alien whose sole goal is to mate with an earthling are just a few of the examples of the characters you’ll meet during the story. There are tons of memorable moments throughout Coffee Talk, with every character bringing something unique to the table. The barista develops an interesting relationship with many of these characters as well.

Coffee Talk
Appearances can often be deceiving in this game.

Even though serving the wrong drinks can change some of the dialogue, don’t expect any sort of options or branching paths in terms of the story. It’s not that kind of experience; the story should simply be enjoyed for what it is. I found myself glued to the screen at the end of each of the in-game days, waiting to see what would happen in the morning. The first playthrough also doesn’t answer all of the game’s questions, as the second one is filled with all kinds of surprises that I won’t spoil here.


Coffee Talk is as quaint as your local coffee shop. It’s relatively short, wonderfully sweet, and absolutely committed to the art form of telling a story through a video game screen. It’s an easy recommendation for anyone who loves video games, not just visual novel fans. There are characters in the game that I’ll certainly be thinking about for a long time, especially when the setting brings out the best in them. Don’t pass this one up.

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The Magic of Nintendo: How Mario and Zelda Connect us to Our Inner Child

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Magic of Nintendo

Nintendo is special. Many excellent developers depend upon story or progression systems to entice engagement, but not Nintendo. Nintendo games captivate because of their immediate charm. There is no need for a payoff. The games, themselves, are enough: they elicit feelings, hard to find in adulthood. Through intrepid discovery, playful presentation, and unfiltered whimsy, the best of Nintendo connects gamers to their childlike selves.

The heart of any great Nintendo game is discovery and no encounter encapsulates this better than Breath of the Wild’s Eventide Island. First, finding the island requires genuine gumption. Found far from Hyrule’s shore, the island is only clearly visible from other islands, and even then, it’s only a speck in the distance. Reaching the island requires players to brave the open ocean and head towards something … that could be nothing. Then, upon arriving on the beach, a spirit takes all the player’s gear, including clothes and food. Link, literally, is left in his underwear. From there, players must make clever use of Link’s base skills in order to steal enemy weapons and make traps. The scenario creates a marvelous sense of self-sufficiency brought on by one’s own desire to discover. The player comes to the island purely of their own choosing, tackles the sea, and then overcomes obstacles without the aid of their strongest tools. The game turns players into plucky children who are discovering they can take care of themselves.

The intrepidity of Breath of the Wild and other Nintendo greats mirrors the feelings Shigeru Miyamoto, the father of many Nintendo franchises, experienced as a child. “I can still recall the kind of sensation I had when I was in a small river, and I was searching with my hands beneath a rock, and something hit my finger, and I noticed it was a fish,” Miyamoto told the New Yorker. “That’s something that I just can’t express in words. It’s such an unusual situation.” In sequences like Eventide Island, players don’t just understand what Miyamoto describes, they feel it: Apprehension gives way to exhilaration as the unknown becomes a place of play.

 Nintendo’s intrepid gameplay is often amplified by playful presentation with Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island being the quintessential example. The game’s visuals, defined by pastel colors and simple hand-drawings, appear crayoned by a child while the celestial chimes that punctuate the jubilant soundtrack evoke shooting stars. The overall effect cannot be understated. It takes the surreal and turns it real, allowing players to interact, tangibly, with imagination.

Super Mario Odyssey Wooden Kingdom

Even if one removes the presentation and gameplay from Nintendo’s masterpieces, an unabashed creativity remains that bucks norm and convention. The arbiter is fun; reason and logic have no say. For instance, Super Mario Odyssey’s Wooded Kingdom, takes place in a post-apocalyptic setting akin to Nier Automata. Players explore the metal remnants of a civilization that has become a lush home to robotic beings. However, unlike Nier, the dark undertones of the past have no bearing on the game or those who inhabit its universe. The post-apocalyptic setting is just a fun backdrop. It’s as though a bunch of children got together, began playing with toys, and one of the kids brought along his sibling’s adult action figures. There is no attention paid to the context, only unfiltered imagination.

When they’re at their best the creators at Nintendo invite gamers to come and play, like a parent arranging a play date. Pulled along by joyful gameplay that expands in unforeseen ways, players desire to play for the sake of play. It’s a halcyon state of being: No messy thoughts or contradiction, just joy.

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Games

‘Kingdom Hearts III: Re:Mind’: An Utterly Shameless Cash Grab

Coming in at a $40 price point (!!!) Kingdom Hearts III: Re:Mind offers an 80% recycled campaign, a boss rush mode, and some other trash.

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Kingdom Hearts III: Re:Mind

In the 15 year long history of DLC, we have seen some really shameless displays. The notorious horse armor incident of 2006 and a notable day one DLC for the ending game of a trilogy notwithstanding, few companies have had the utter audacity to offer so little content for such a high price point. Enter Kingdom Hearts III: Re:Mind.

Coming in at a $40 price point (!!!) Kingdom Hearts III: Re:Mind offers an 80% recycled campaign, a boss rush mode, and some social media nonsense for people who really hate themselves. That’s really it, that’s what you get. Honestly, Square-Enix should be utterly embarrassed by this DLC.

It’s been one year: 365 days, 8760 hours, 525600 minutes, or 31556952 seconds, since the release of Kingdom Hearts III. Let that sink in as you begin the meat of Kingdom Hearts III: Re:Mind. Think of it as the extended version of a movie you really like… you know, the kind where they add 4 minutes to the 120 minute runtime.

Kingdom Hearts III: Re:Mind

Yes, Kingdom Hearts III: Re:Mind, really is that cynical. I’m not kidding when I tell you that the game literally starts with an exact cut scene from the base game, and a cut scene that happens to be available from the theater mode of the main game that you’ve already bought if you’re playing this DLC. Yes, the introduction to this new content is… content you’ve already seen.

In fact, that’s kind of the sticking point here: most of what you get for your hard-earned cash is footage you’ve already seen, and battles you’ve already fought, and story you’ve already experienced, just with slight alterations for context. Remember back in the 2000s, when we were super obsessed with prequels? This is like that, except even more egregious.

Generally I’m not so unforgiving as to call a company out for a forthright cash grab, but that’s absolutely what Kingdom Hearts III: Re:Mind is. There’s just no other way to put it. You might find someone in the marketing department for Square-Enix who would disagree, but being a company that has faced just these sort of allegations for their last two major releases, Square-Enix either doesn’t read the news, or doesn’t care what people think of their products.

Kingdom Hearts III: Re:Mind

Square-Enix was roundly accused of shipping unfinished products in the case of both Final Fantasy XV and Kingdom Hearts III — their two most high profile releases of the last decade. I personally gave mostly positive reviews of both games for this very website but if you want ammo to suggest that this company is deliberately trading on the nostalgia and passion of its fan base in order to make financial headway, there are few examples you could draw from that are as obvious as this DLC.

Look, maybe you’re a really big Kingdom Hearts fan. Maybe you just really wanted to know what the context was for that cliffhanger ending in Kingdom Hearts III. Maybe you just don’t do much research before you buy something. Or maybe… you just really trust this company for some reason.

Hey, I’m not judging… hell, I bought this DLC for $40 same as anyone else. I oughta be honest that I’m not reviewing Kingdom Hearts III: Re:Mind as some holier than thou critic, talking down to you from my position of privilege. No, I’m an angry consumer in this particular case. I’m a person who spent enough to replace a flat tire on my car, or buy my family dinner, on a game that is clearly playing off of my love for a franchise, and using it to bilk me out of money in a method that is so clear, and so concise, that those involved in the entire endeavor should be totally embarrassed for their part in the creation, marketing, pricing, and distribution of this expansion.

Kingdom Hearts III: Re:Mind

Yes, fans had their complaints about Kingdom Hearts III. “Where are the hardcore boss battles? Where are the Final Fantasy characters? Where are the secret areas? Where are the hidden plot developments?” Still, to address these particular complaints by hammering a few minutes or seconds here and there into already existing content is truly like spitting in the faces of the people who have built the house you’re living in.

I haven’t sat in the board rooms at Square-Enix and I haven’t been in email chains about the planning of projects at their company but what I can say is that there is something rotten in Denmark if this is what passes for a satisfying piece of content for the wildly devoted fans of a hugely popular franchise in 2020. Kingdom Hearts III: Re:Mind is literally, truthfully, and succinctly, the worst piece of DLC I’ve ever purchased.

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