Less than a week since launch, I've seen Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom builds I could never have imagined; from functional aircraft to space rockets to Korok torture devices to towering mechs (only some of which are equipped with giant, flaming genitals). I'm yet to jump back into Hyrule myself, and part of my reasoning for that is something bitter experience has taught me - that I'll never replicate anything half so impressive or imaginative as what I've seen the community create.
Many years ago, I lost countless hours to the early access version of Besiege. A physics-based puzzle game, Besiege gave you a collection of parts that looked like they might have been at home in the workshop of the 14th-century's most unhinged siege engine creator, and gave you a series of tasks to complete; destroy a castle, kill some soldiers, hit this target.
I had fun committing bizarre war crimes against the unfortunate cannon fodder pitted against me for quite some time. Two things eventually put a damper on that fun, however; the first was an update that introduced aerial siege engines, something I could never wrap my head around. Firmly grounded, I also struggled as the complexity of my flatmate's builds far outstripped my own. Confronted by my own incompetence, I turned to the Besiege subreddit for inspiration, but was met by people who had built working in-game Transformers, or an infamous sheep-destroying machine. Humbled and unable to progress, I moved on to something new.
A few years later, I turned to Scrap Mechanic. At the height of pandemic lockdowns, the crafting game had added a survival mode, in which you could build your own creations to grow food and gather resources. I spent hours tinkering with a little car that eventually functioned as a successful transporter for some of the wooden logs required for crafting other materials. In the same amount of time, one of my friends, playing on the same server, crafted a towering juggernaut of a creation - an industrial beast capable of tackling pretty much anything the game could throw at us. Once again, I turned to the subreddit, and found machines capable of reducing an entire tree to matchsticks in a matter of seconds, or creating an entire farm-to-table ensemble with the touch of a single button.
Tears of the creator
This time though, the initial step on my journey to creative disappointment has been skipped over. Normally I might spend hours trying and failing to create my own simple contraption before being confronted with the towering genius of the rest of the community. With Tears of the Kingdom, however, I've had no such luck. The creative force of an entire community has been truly unleashed, poured across social media in a way that ensures I know exactly what can be achieved, all while knowing from my time with Besiege and Scrap Mechanic that I'll probably never manage it myself.
The Tears of the Kingdom FOMO is a major factor, and it won't be long before I succumb to the constant barrage of builds on Reddit and Twitter and attempt to make my own. But it's not often that you approach a game knowing outright that you'll probably never be able to make the best of it. While Besiege and Scrap Mechanic might have been significant knocks to my ego, at least they should help soften the blow when it comes to Tears of the Kingdom.
Check out our Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom review for more about the building system I'll never master.