Breath of the Wild is not my favorite

It is the best game ever made, though

Malcolm Gladwell has said that “the music you listen to at ages 19 and 20 is the music that imprints itself most deeply on your consciousness.” Music you listen to as a young person ends up becoming your favorite music. It’s so true. My favorite albums are still Radiohead’s OK Computer, Jeff Buckley’s Grace and Starsailor’s Love Is Here. (Looking at this list, you’d think I graduated high school in 1997; nope, class of ’05, baby.)

Sure, I’ve listened to a lot of great music since then. Flying Lotus’s Cosmogramma (2010) and Tycho’s Dive (2011) are two of the best albums I’ve ever heard—but my favorite? Nope. I seem to be past the age where something new can become my favorite.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is simply one of the greatest games ever made. That’s the consensus from many reviews, and I agree: it’s the best game I’ve ever played. I mean, I remember playing video games and saying to my mom, “Mom, just one more minute,” then an hour would go by. Now, I’m telling myself, “Just one more minute,” then five hours go by. From the story to the mechanics to the graphics to the music, it’s just that engrossing. Amazing!

But my favorite? Nope, and it can’t be. That honor still belongs to Majora’s Mask. Here’s why I think that is.

I played Majora’s Mask on Christmas break in 8th Grade, between snowball fights, hanging out with my friends, and listening to Make Yourself (another favorite album). Currently, I’ve been playing Breath of the Wild starting at 8pm each night after putting kids to bed, between diaper changes, while paying bills, knowing I’m gonna wake up tired and have to prepare Sunday’s sermon. It is—truly—the best game I’ve ever played; however, I virtually grew up on Majora’s Mask. What you grow up on imprints itself most deeply on your consciousness.

This principle is true in many areas: movies, music, video games, food, humor, clothing style—growing up shapes these preferences. Nostalgia freezes them in time and ratifies them forever as favorite. That’s why old guys wear Wrangler jeans from the 1980s; they’re still their favorite jeans! (Where do they even buy them, btw?)

But one area is different: relationships. Preferences in relationships change over time, less susceptible to the frozen nostalgia of growing up, because relationships are the mechanism by which you grow up.

Here’s what I mean. I haven’t had a new favorite album in years, but I do have a new favorite person; her name is Bhritney, and she’s my wife. I may have known Starsailor for much longer, but she has caused me to grow up more than they or Radiohead or Jeff Buckley ever could (in fact, she introduced me to Tycho). The same is true of my kids, even my three-month-old Athen. He is relatively new to my life, but he’s already impacted me more than Zelda ever will.

This is most true of your relationship with Jesus. No other person more desires that you grow; no other person more challenges you to move from past favorites to the new and greater things he has for you. Stick with him, and you’ll never be frozen in nostalgia. Growing up might shape your preferences, but Jesus grows you up.

I am the Vine, you are the branches. When you’re joined with me and I with you, the relation intimate and organic, the harvest is sure to be abundant. (John 15:5, MSG)