Graham's Blog

Finding Home in Hyrule

May 22nd, 2023

5 years ago I underwent a big change in my life, my girlfriend of 8 years and I split up. One of the things that got me through that particularly tough change was a little game called The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. I had played it the year previous on the Wii U, but I had finally upgraded to the Switch and was in the middle of my second play through when it all went down. I would spend a couple hours every day just aimlessly wandering around Hyrule, it made me feel a strange comfort. My sadness about the situation I found myself in melted away whenever I took these little virtual treks across the map, finding little nooks and crannies I’d never seen before.

Fast forward to last week, and I underwent another drastic life change; I moved from the apartment I’ve lived in for most of my adult life to a totally new place in a totally new city. I was, and still am, overwhelmed, homesick, and questioning all my decisions that led me to this point. Coincidentally, a little game called The Legend of Zelda Tears of the Kingdom dropped the day before I was to embark on this IRL adventure.

My first night in the new place involved staying up well past midnight diving into Hyrule once again, but this time it brought be a different kind of comfort. Fortuitously for me, Nintendo decided to reuse the world map from the previous game and just build upon it, and that has made this game feel a lot like coming home to me. Hyrule was a world that got me through a rough point in my life, and here it is again giving me a little taste of familiarity, of home, at a time when I need it the most.

Last night I made a point to find a place Hateno Village, a town where you can buy a little house in Breath of the Wild. I wanted to visit it again, and see what had become of this virtual home-away-from-home. So, over the course of the evening I made my journey, and eventually came to the little house, sitting there at the edge of the village. I walked inside, and, for the first time in a week, I felt at home.

Gaming Mental Health