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Sad Zelda Dad is still playing Tears of the Kingdom, but his marriage is doing better

Also, he changed out of his work clothes

Oli Welsh is senior editor, U.K., providing news, analysis, and criticism of film, TV, and games. He has been covering the business & culture of video games for two decades.

If, like me, you got a little bit overinvested in the sad plight of the central character of one of Nintendo’s launch ads for The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, then here is some balm for your soul: Sad Zelda Dad is back, and things are looking up for him.

Nintendo Australia has made a sequel to “Rediscover your sense of adventure,” the viral commercial featuring an extremely tired, middle-aged office worker whose job and commute were grinding him down and leaving him little time to connect with his family. Alone in a dark living room, Sad Zelda Dad booted up Tears of the Kingdom, and immersing himself in its magical world rejuvenated his outlook on life.

In the new follow-up (titled “Decide your own path”), Sad Zelda Dad is still playing the game, five months later. He hasn’t even picked up much better gear for his Link. (This is another example of the realism that earned the original ad its only partly tongue-in-cheek acclaim: In the real world, Extremely Tired Dads like our hero play video games in increments of about half an hour per week.) But there’s a big difference — this time, his wife, instead of bidding him an early goodnight and disappearing, is sitting alongside him on the sofa.

Sad Zelda Dad still isn’t very good with Ultrahand, though. His wife chips in to help with a shrine solution. They hear the familiar piano jingle, and beam happily at each other at the shared accomplishment. Cut to the kitchen on a subsequent night. Finishing the dishes, Sad Zelda Dad, who has changed out of his work clothes for once, smiles as his wife heads to bed once more. But wait — plot twist! — she has actually gone to fetch her own Switch so she too can play Tears of the Kingdom on the sofa next to him. And she’s figured out an alternative solution to the same shrine puzzle, because she is better than him.

“Nice,” says Sad Zelda Dad, who doesn’t seem very sad anymore.

Once again, Nintendo Australia’s advertising bears out my own personal experience, which is that the route to marital harmony is two Switches and two copies of Tears of the Kingdom. Oh, and sharing interests, finding time for each other, not letting work rule your life, all that stuff. Like the man said: nice.

The next level of puzzles.

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