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Aaron Waite Aaron Waite
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The Legend of Noel

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Where Christmas and gaming combine

It's staring at us, mockingly existing in the digital space, taunting us from its fortress of my parents' 32', 4,000 pound CRT beast. The gentle Wii menu music chimes around our mental anguish, flowing like a river around two stones. We know it has to be done, but we fear pain, we fear frustration, we fear defeat. We aren't the stone-cold bundles of reflexes and Pixie Sticks that we once were back in the mid-'90s, when it was still okay to have an NES and 'Boy Meets World' was still in production. It's haunted us for years, a black mark on our gaming records, but today, we move forward unto a new dawn.Today, we shall play 'Zelda II: The Adventure of Link.'

It's become something of a holiday regimen for my sister and me to haul out some classic NES games and make our way through them over the course of Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, New Years, etc. We have an insane need to punish ourselves for not beating certain games from our childhood. The last time around, it was Bubble Bobble that we battled through, and this year, we're taking on 'Zelda II.'

Now, it's not that we never tried as kids. On the contrary, we threw ourselves at that proverbial brick wall over and over again, but we never quite managed to beat the incredibly frustrating odd duck of the 'Zelda' series. So now, armed with the power of the internet at our fingertips and with GameFAQs at our beck and call, we've made the decision to kick down 'Zelda II's' door proper this year.

However, it's not so much about the game as it is about us as siblings.

When we were younger, we really didn't play many multiplayer games. It usually consisted of my siblings and I crowding around a singleplayer game and collectively working our way through it. My fondest Christmas memories are of playing games to kill the agonizing hours of Christmas Eve, or waking up early on Christmas morning to quietly enjoy an RPG while waiting for the rest of the house to stir.

So this year, Ami and I will be tackling one of our biggest rivals of the eight-bit era, glaring at the TV while the fireplace will pump out the festively warm air, heedless of our frustrations with a well-aged classic game.This is Christmas to me, where swords, dinosaurs, damsels in distress and stereotypical stoic heroes mesh with eggnog, caroling, lights and mass consumer consumption. Is it a little unorthodox? Maybe. But I wouldn't trade it for the world.

Now, if you'll excuse me, a random townsperson told us we have to find the candle in Parapa, wherever the heck Parapa is. It's not like they gave us a map this time around.

Aaron Waite is in a perpetual state of mediating fights between his inner child and his latent responsibility.


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