March 2017

All articles posted in March 2017.

Return to Hyrule with the Zelda Symphony in 2017

The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses

Zelda fans find their seats at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre for the 2016 concert.

Vancouver Zelda fans, get ready for another musical adventure with The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses. The popular concert is back again and touring more cities across Canada, the United States and Europe for 2017.

Enjoy an evening of 30 years sights and sounds with this classic video game franchise. This year includes selections from the recently released The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and additional songs from The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword.

The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses stops in Vancouver on Thursday, November 30th, 2017 at 7:00 pm PST at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre. Other Canadian cities include Quebec City, Toronto, Edmonton, Calgary and Montreal.

Tickets are available in advance online through the concert web site.

Welcome spring with Sakura Days Japan Fair 2017

The Tea Ceremony in 2016

The tea ceremony is the embodiment of poise and hospitality.

After a long, cold and snowy winter, the bright pink blossoms of spring are just around the corner with the Sakura Days Japan Festival. Returning to VanDusen Botanical Gardens, this two-event celebrates everything Japanese in a fun festival atmosphere.

Spend the weekend with Japanese culture through live performances, music, food, arts, demonstrations and crafts and more under the pastel sakura — the Japanese cherry blossom. The gardens host this celebration from 11:00 am PDT to 7:00 pm PDT on Saturday, April 8th and from 11:00 am PDT to 5:00 pm PDT Sunday, April 9th, 2017.

As the festival takes place in the outdoors, bring appropriate attire as it may be raining. Parking is limited, so save the hassle and take transit (either the #17 bus, or walk from the Oakridge-41st Avenue Canada Line Station west along 41st Avenue, and then north along Oak Street) to reach VanDusen Botanical Gardens (about a 15-20 minute stroll).

Paid admission is required and tickets are available for purchase online.

Dates and countries revealed for 2017 Honda Celebration of Light

The United States of America's show in 2016

The United States of America’s show in 2016

This summer, the evening skies over English Bay will light up with a trio of pyrotechnic performances for the 2017 Honda Celebration of Light.

The three teams representing their countries in the annual fireworks competition are:

  • Akariya Fireworks for Japan on Saturday, July 29th
  • Jubilee Fireworks for the United Kingdom on Wednesday, August 2nd
  • Royal Pyrotechnie for Canada on Saturday, August 5th

On each day of the fireworks, live music, food and other activities are available to entertain the crowds. In addition to watching (for free) from the beach, there’s paid seating available.

The organizers behind the event are hosting a vote for the top three Canadian songs as part of Canada’s 150th birthday. To cast your ballot, visit the Honda Celebration of Light web site.

Source: Honda Celebration of Light

First experience at playing Breath of the Wild

Nintendo Switch demo

A Nintendo Switch with a demo of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.

I had an opportunity to play the demo of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild on the Nintendo Switch earlier today. One of the most anticipated titles announced for the Nintendo Switch, the hype around Breath of the Wild is all real. Nintendo teased Zelda fans with videos to show how much detail went into developing this title and promised the most open and expansive adventure in the franchise yet. They’re not wrong about that.

First, let’s look at the Nintendo Switch itself. The whole console is the size of a Wii U tablet, but is easy to hold in handheld mode. I played The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild with the pro controller, which is Nintendo’s interpretation of an actual gaming controller like those on a PlayStation or Xbox instead of the smaller Joy Con that snap to the sides of the Switch. The pro controller felt light and comfortable; the buttons are easy to reach, and it’s wireless.

The game itself has a 20 minute limit. I didn’t make it far in the allotted time, wandering around, picking up items and cleaving Bokoblins in two, but it opened my eyes to just how massive Hyrule is. The game begins with Link waking up from a deep sleep. Before heading out into the open, there’s a couple of treasure chests containing items of clothing that can be worn. It’s important to remember that the environment affects Link now more than ever before. Certain clothing must be worn to keep him from overheating or freezing — a temperature icon exists onscreen to alert you to this.

A new item called a Sheikah Stone is an accessory that acts as a map and compass. Because the world is so immense, map points make it easier to set locations to come back to later. I’m sure its purpose expands as the game progresses.

Once out in the fields, it’s just breathtaking. The horizon is endless, mountains, rivers, forests, ruins and towns all as far as the eye can see. The first NPC (non-playable character) I met was an old man seated under a cliff with a roaring fire, cooking apples. After picking up a branch, I took some of that fire and proceeded to set some of the grass field on fire. Unfortunately, I had done so at the edge of a cliff and couldn’t escape and thus succumbed to the flames. But it was testament to how interactive the environment really is.

Seizing an abandoned axe, I promptly proceeded to cut down some trees. The axe also proved helpful defeating some of the roaming Bokoblins — a few swings easily felled these creatures. Upon expiring, they leave behind either horns or teeth which are collected for a later use. Apples are plenty, taking the place of hearts to replenish Link’s health.

Gone are the days of speeding across Hyrule as Link now tires after continuous running — a green circle appears when the B button is held down and depletes the longer it is held. Link can now jump on command and climb walls, no more vines or exposed brick to ascend or descend. It all adds to the experience.

I got a little confused using the in-game menus. Items acquired are stored in this menu, but the control sticks navigate these sub-menus where as the L and R shoulder buttons switch between the menu screens.

Another neat feature is the auto save. No more will you have to save your game (or forget to) as the game will periodically record your progress with a visual reminder to show it is doing so.

The graphics are beautiful; sticking with the cel-shading that first appeared in The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker, Nintendo has refined the look to improve the visual experience. 20 minutes is not enough to take in all that is The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. I look forward to playing it fully and enjoying the fruit of Nintendo’s labour.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild goes on sale, Friday, March 3rd, 2017.

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