We’ve been here before.
Remember that, as January fades softly into February and April looms bright and green in the distance, infinitely far when counting the seconds but next door to now if you pull back and look long at the whole year. Most northernly North Americans are currently looking ahead to the Spring, anxious to shake off the frosty weather and see grass grow again. There’s a certain restlessness that comes in the early year; Winter is tired, old, played-out… last year’s dance. I want sunshine and flowers and a blue sky peppered with birds.
Unlike most nothernly North Americans, however, my longing for Spring is not purely a product of Vitamin D deficiency. Because though Spring is eventual and inevitable, this year it also holds the promise of Zelda. Sort of.
We’ve been here before. Most recently this past November, when Twilight Princess was set to debut on GameCube in time for the ever-lucrative holiday season. What I remember from E3 2005 was an irrepressible excitement, all through the lead up and in the aftermath, as the teasing trickle of details first came as rumour, then flooded as speculations confirmed and dated, and finally flowed out on a promise – Twilight Princess, November ’05.
But as November came and went, Zelda never showed. Like that hottie who asked you to the prom while their friends snickered nearby, it was too good to be true.
It’s tempting to go all out and cry, “The HORROR! The HORROR!” But realistically it’s more like, “The BOTHER! The Mild IRRITATION! The HURRY UP, WILL YOU?” Lives do not hang in the balance; at a certain point, anyone who takes themselves seriously has to look at how much importance they attach to their hobbies.
Luckily, I am no such person.
I’m here to sing the Fanboy Blues.
The Blues is music born of oppression, suffering and the basic human will to triumph. It’s an odd mix of despair and soul, hope couched in hopelessness; it’s a testament to the spirit that when things look their worst you sing it out, and rise above.
These ain’t those Blues.
These are more the I-want-what-I-want-when-I-want-it Blues. All fans sing them to some degree. It doesn’t matter what the object of obsession is – be it film or music or sport – the song is the same. We want. We’ve found something that strikes a chord; we band together and form communities based on mutual interest. We buy, buy, buy, and once we have the whole history covered, we wait for the next installment with bated breath and open hands.
As Zelda fans, more often than not, our hands stay empty longer than expected.
At best, we get a sweaty little note scribbled on a napkin: Er. We’re sorry, but your game isn’t quite finished yet. Here’s another release date to hang your hopes on. Wish us luck.
Twilight Princess was delayed from November 2005 to “sometime first quarter 2006”, then, ominously, “2006”. We know it was near enough done at E3 for Nintendo to project a holiday release date; moreover, we know from Aonuma and Miyamoto that the delay is not because of problems, but rather an abundance of possibilities they were compelled to pursue to the fullest extent. A good game soon is fine – but even the most ardent fan has to admit a great game later is better. Lesson learned, Wind Waker.
It still sucks. Depending on the fan, it might be enough for good geeks to step on their own glasses and say to heck with it. I’m not a sportif, myself, but I know many a man who threw out a perfectly good baseball cap because they no longer believed in the emblem on its crown. Too many bad seasons, too many broken promises – too much stick and not enough carrot. It’s tiring, and after they’ve shrugged it off they realize it didn’t mean much to begin with.
These people don’t know the Fanboy Blues. The Fanboy Blues are for those who stick it out until the last, who may moan about delay but will sure as shitake be standing in line when Drop Day comes.
If you’ve been a regular reader of this irregular column, you might notice a minor obsession of mine – the culture of fandom. I find it fascinating (to be fair I also dig infomercials and mayonnaise, so, well, there you are), and BtR has allowed me the opportunity to examine its many permutations both as an observer and as a participant.
The past few months have been a little rough for ZU. There’s no news. A nibble here and there. When a game’s been delayed, regardless of the stated reason, and the new release date approaches, resounding silence is discouraging. Could mean they lied, and there are a whole slew of terminal problems getting in the way of release. Could mean they’re saving it all up for a big splash. Could mean they’ve forgotten us, or are taking our allegiance for granted. Whatever. What truly makes a fan is how you weather the silence. If you’re the kind to say screw it and walk away, fine; be gone and good luck. If you’re likely to throw yourself in front of a bus rather than wait another second, I recommend a nice cup of tea and a few calming chapters from The Tao of Pooh. But if you’re like me, content to pine away without knowing the outcome, I suggest you sing the Fanboy Blues.
It’s easy, and catchy, and makes the wait a little warmer.
I ain’t got no game to hold me down,
Like a fool in love I’m set to drown,
Until that day I’ll run this town
Singing Lord, give me a sign.
He’s a busy man, this Lord o’ mine,
But just a nod would do me fine,
And come that day I’m still in line;
I ain’t got no friend in time.
In my heart and in my head,
I know I ain’t no better off dead,
But nights awake lyin’ in my bed,
Is on the Miyamoto dime.
I’ll sing once and sing it twice,
I’ll sing it raw and sing it nice,
I’ll wait around and roll the dice;
It’ll all work itself out fine.
Yeah, it all works out in time,
And I still be waiting in line.
A little bit country, but you get the idea. Sing loud, proud and long. We’ve been here before, and we’ll be here again. At least we’re here together.
Keep the faith, fanboy.
PS: Bobslob did a bit of wailing, too – here’s his take on the Fanboy Blues, Robert Johnson style.
When’s it comin’ out? Wish I knew.
Uh, when’s it comin’ out? Wish I knew.
Got the low-down Zelda fanboy-blues
Went down to the store, they ain’t fixed no date
Wa-aay down to the store, ain’t fixed no date
Gotta get me some Zelda, before it’s too late
Thought, oh Lor’, that game’s pas’ due
I thought, oh Lor’, that game’s long pas’ due
I got me those low-down Zelda fanboy-blues