This is Captain Gamer, superhero and columnist. On the side, he works at a five star restaurant called the Pixel Palace, substituting for the regular bartender Dominic when needed. There, Captain can meet his old video game friends when they come in to have a drink. Sometimes, they share stories and even secrets. For as we all know, what the bartender hears is confidential... isn't it?
So I'm sitting there tending bar when in walks someone who's... earned a bit of a reputation around these parts. For me to be talking about it so delicately, you know it has to be Link. I've never really seen him myself. At least, not since he's been acting... that way. But when the door opened and I that that silhouette, I can't but think, "Oh, boy."
And yet when he walks in on this day, I know something is up. He's nothing like what I'm told. He's moving carefully and looking around like he's seeing everything for the first time. He makes a slow beeline for the bar and sits down to make his choice. Hasn't said a word. Hasn't acknowledged anybody, and I don't think he scoped out a single rump on his way over.
My benefit of a doubt kicks in. I say to him like I would to anyone else, "Evening, Link. What can I get for you?"
He gives me this look like a warning. Sort of screws up his courage - hah - and takes a breath. He then says - and pardon my attempt at a Hylian accent here - "HAAAAAAH!"
Naturally I'm taken back by this. First, because it was a sudden loud noise. Second, because I don't think I ever heard Link speak like that since coming to our world. He's been capable of regular speech all along, or at least I thought.
He's got this flustered look like he didn't know what he was expecting. I was about to have him just point at his order to move things along until I heard this really deep voice. "Little man's gonna have a coffee with Irish cream."
The voice came from the general direction in front of me so I look to see if there's anybody behind Link. Sure enough, right from Link's hat, there comes out a green Zelda-styled fairy. But that voice was deep, so I wasn't...
Then I hear the voice again say "Sup?" and the fairy sort of bobbed in time with it. So now I know. I've seen stranger.
I say to them, "Coffee. Irish cream. Got it." And I start on it.
Meanwhile I see Link and the fairy talking amongst themselves. Or rather the fairy is talking and Link is nodded or shaking his head to the conversation. Whenever Link would try to vocalize, it came out as one of those grunts or yells from the Nintendo 64 days.
When I'm done and I hand it off, I'm just too curious, I say to the fairy, "Have we met?" Well, of course we haven't. But it gave us an opportunity to get familiar. He introduces himself as Troy, Link's rehabilitation fairy. And that just sets me off, "Rehab? What's that mean? What's going on with Link?"
"A'ight," Troy says, "I'll lay it down. Link's been in a video game character correctional facility for a few months, now. He's been treated with Silent Protagonist medication, so I'm talking for him until he's better."
And I say, "Wait, wait, wait. Video game character correctional facility? What even is that?"
Troy gathers his thoughts and he finally says, "Nintendo keeps a close watch on its characters. And for the most part, they're cool about it. But if one of their characters step out of line and starts being a bad role model, they ain't havin' it. First off 'cause it's bad for business, second 'cause they really are concerned." So I ask him if that's where this correctional facility comes in and he replies, "Yeah. Any Nintendo character gets out of line, they grab 'em with a Wallmaster and take 'em to the facility."
I take a look at Link and he doesn't seem to be having any trauma from the whole thing. Either that or he's hiding it really well. Back to Troy, I say to him, "So what exactly happens at the facility? You said something about medication."
And Troy says, "Yeah, the Silent Protagonist medication does what it says. Does something to the vocal chords so they can't talk. Just, uh..."
To illustrate, Link says "TSEYA!"
"... that. 'Cause you know, the point of a silent protagonist is to show their personality through their actions. That's why Nintendo heroes mostly don't talk in their games. Even nowadays. But, uh, what happens in the facility, that depends on how bad you have it. And most times it isn't even a character's fault. The more frou-frou and fantasy a character is, the worse they have it adjusting to the real world. You know Princess Daisy?"
I say "Yeah, of course."
"She got addicted to political talk shows and action movies. Suddenly she has herself believing in conspiracy theories and starts pathologically lying all over the place." That whole bit seems a bit familiar to me, but that's beside the point. "She had to go through shock treatment. Turns out she couldn't tell the difference between what she knew for a fact and what was in her imagination."
I have to admit, it's a lot to take in. But there are people out there even more out-of-touch with reality and they were born here! But I digress and so did Troy.
He keeps going, "Link here was more cooperative. Almost like he wanted to get caught. Or maybe he didn't want to get shocked. Took some doses of the medicine and all he needed was some counseling. Turned out-" He turns to Link and says, "You don't mind if I say, do you?" Link shakes his head. "Turned out the little man here is just looking for love in this big, lonely world. And it's even bigger and lonelier when you're used to being really important."
And in this humble bartender's opinion, that does make sense. Imagine living your life where every day and thing you do has great importance. Then all of a sudden, flip of a switch, everything is a lot less meaningful. It's a bitter pill to swallow. Nobody's going to make anything meaningful for you and you have to make your own purpose... I think I just described adulthood.
So Troy told me all this and I say off-hand, "I guess he didn't really look in the right places for love advice."
He says back, "Yeah. Googling 'How to find love' with the safe-search off didn't work out. Imagine that." We have ourselves a laugh, and he hovers in close to tell me, "By the way, don't say the 'T D of W' phrase. That kinda triggers a relapse."
I nod in agreement, then I notice Link casting his gaze off to the side a bit. Seems he's making eyes across the table with Soma Cruz - from the Castlevania Sorrow games. But they're kinda meek eyes. And it didn't seemed like the feeling was mutual.
So I say, "You know, being PC as they are, I'm surprised Nintendo didn't do anything to his sexual preferences."
Troy kinda tilts himself to the side - really hard to describe expressions on a ball of light with wings - and he tells me, "They're not gonna do that. It's about how to think, not what to think. Kind of a grey area."
I hear that. So I turn to link and I say, "Well... However this turns out, Link, good luck. I know it doesn't feel good to be told how you're acting is wrong. But if you really feel this is the second chance you needed, good on you. It looks like you're past making questionable decisions about the way you act."
Link gives me a smirk and raises his mug in a 'here-here' way.
Troy turns back, laughing, and says, "Yeah. That's what happens when you're raised by a tree in one life."
I suppose that's a joke. Troy certainly acts like it. Until a few moments after we hear a very stern, "Hey."
And we both look. I'm shocked to hear it, don't know about Troy. And Link's looking at Troy, not very happily.
Link is deadly serious, he says, "The Great Deku Tree was good to me. He wasn't like a father to me, he was a father to me. He taught me everything about valor and empathy. The correctional facility's counseling sessions started to remind me of his lessons, and that got my head out of the clouds. I know you were trying to be funny, but I won't have you or anyone talk about the Great Deku Tree like that. Even if you didn't mean it."
At this point, Link's probably feeling bold and making to leave. He just chugs the rest of his coffee right down. Unfortunately, it was still hot. So he starts coughing and sputtering. I would have fixed him a cold water if one didn't come right to him. It's Soma's. He glides right over and hands Link his side cup. Link takes a swig, all's well. And you'd think that would ruin Link's chances, but it didn't. Turns out Soma liked the dorky display. So the two of them take it back to where Soma originally was, at the end of the bar. Didn't even check with us.
And frankly, neither Troy nor I know what to make of everything that just happened ever since Link opened his mouth. Though it does seem like he could only open it for that one speech. He was back to nodding and gestures after that. And doing well for himself with just those.
So I turn to Troy and I say, "I think little man's going to be alright."
And he just says back, "Yeah."
You see a lot of strange things as a bartender. You see a lot of strange things at the Pixel Palace. So, I see a lot of strange things as a bartender at the Pixel Palace. And that's no lie. Swear to it.
Video Game Confessions featuring Captain Gamer: Link
Based off of Doug Walker's "Video Game Confessions" series at That Guy with the Glasses.
Based off of Doug Walker's "Video Game Confessions" series at That Guy with the Glasses.
A series in which I take my own crack at the Video Game Confessions formula with Captain Gamer as the bartender. My style gives video game characters more relatable issues with generally positive outcomes. However, don't count out the occasional zany and tongue-in-cheek moments that the original is known for!
P.S. This episode WILL require previous knowledge of Walker's original videos - primarily episode 3, Sheik/Zelda.
P.S.S. The idea of the Link x Soma Cruz pairing is a very specific inside joke.
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