There’s a moment early in The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, in one of the very first shrines, when I felt a shiver of pure thrill run through me. I had been presented with a simple task: get to the other side of a fall-to-your-death deep chasm using the new Ultrahand ability and an assortment of wooden boards, stone hooks, and a single fixed rail. The solution was clear enough, so I used Ultrahand’s ability to essentially super glue anything to anything else and pieced together a square board for Link to stand on and a stone hook to connect to the rail. I then hooked my crude contraption on the rail and climbed aboard. Everything worked exactly how I expected it to, and I was able to cross the chasm easily enough. Yet this simple act of seeing the problem, literally building the plan, and executing the solution felt so satisfying that by the time I had crossed the chasm, I had broken out into a face-swallowing smile.
Though there were many similarly satisfying moments after, I would never smile like that again, and that initial thrill would be slowly replaced with a gentle and familiar pleasantness.