Saturday, Jan 8, 2000:
Why Zelda is Great -- Part III
Quest is Everything, Thirst is Nothing.
Thirst is a hankering or scrambling toward some temporal goal driven by an itch more often than not localized either in the belly or some place just below the belly. Thirst is earmarked by terms such as bigger, better, faster, further, prettier, fancier, etc., etc., etc., -- basically different versions of how many, how much?
Thirst is hunger.
A quest is something much different. Not everyone is on a quest. Being bitten by the quest bug is a little bit good news and a little bit bad news. Suddenly one may find themselves yearning for something or out to accomplish something which drives one on ever restless.
But what would life be without a quest?
Imagine Perry without a need to make it to the Pole. Or, imagine Einstein without a desire to understand the Universe.
A quest will drive us to accomplish much beyond our organic destiny.
Thirst on the other hand is a tool of organic life used to remind you which part of your organic destiny you should concentrate on next. "Yeah butt-brain this is your stomach telling you to go get some fuel to keep this semi-stable accummulation of salt, water, proteins, fats, and carbohydrates you call home alive.", "Hey you, idiot, this is your groin. Don't you think it's time to propagate your species, let's go get some sex.", "Yo, boss, let's go do something impressive so the rest of the tribe will think we are hot-stuff and we'll get the better babes and maybe the others won't beat us up as much."
Thirst carries us through life. The quest can bring direction and meaning to a life.
Some games cater to thirst, some games serve to quest.
Most "Zelda I" lovers know exactly what we're talking about. You won't find a Zelda I lover asking "How many pixels in that monster?" Nope, they want to know how in the heck to handle the "Grumble, Grumble" dude that just sits there blocking your way in Level 7.
It's not that they are more tolerant than thirst driven players, it just doesn't enter into the equation.
In another example, consider Team Fortress. The folks you find playing TF these days find the good ol' Quake I version to be just fine. They don't require the bigger and better Quake II, Quake III, Quake IX, Half-Life, Full-Life, or any other of the new breed of online games. It's not the game itself that matters, it's what can be done with the game that matters.
Okay, maybe Quake I has fewer pixels, planes, clicks, chips or whatever you use to prove Quake III is better than the Quake I. Sure Quake III is bigger, better, and it should have the best babes in the tribe, get the first piece of meat off the downed antelope and have its fleas picked by the losers in the tribe. It is the top dog. But that is only from a "thirst" point of view.
For those of us who love to quest TF is just right. It gets the job done.
But hey, if you aren't driven to do anything other than fulfill your organic destiny, then relax and enjoy the show. The show is all you'll have, might as well make it good.