Spirit Tracks: Blowing, Not for the Faint of Breath

Recently, I brought my car in for an oil change. Normally, since this place is right next door to a shopping development, I’d wander for an hour or so until it was time to come back and mosey on home. However, I decided to use this hour to my benefit instead of wasting it window shopping…or worse, actually shopping. So I sat uncomfortably in the dealership’s tiny waiting room and took out my Nintendo DS, the cartridge for The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks ready to go. All I had to do was ignore the blaring TV and few other waiting souls in the room. Easy enough to do…until I had to play the Spirit Flute to continue playing.

For those not in the know, the Spirit Flute is one of the first items you’ll receive in The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks. To play it, you have to slide the flute around via the touchscreen and simultaneously blow into the microphone to hit the different colored notes. Some songs will perform special actions in-game while other songs are vital to plot progression.

Unfortunately, the song I had to currently play to continue was not a simple one like the first two or three were. This song involved skipping a colored note and playing the one next to it. A tricky manuever, I can assure you. Why? Well, blowing into the mic and moving the flute around are two actions that work against each other because, naturally, you’re also trying to do a third: see. Yup, fight as you must, you will be trying to look down at the touchscreen to see where you’re moving the flute, and when you do that, if you’re exhaling, your breath will miss the microphone hole considerably, setting yourself up for EPIC FAIL. Well, maybe not that hardcore. I just never get to write EPIC FAIL, y’know?

And I was hoping to get it right on try #1…because, while simply playing a Nintendo DS in front of a bunch of manly men talking about gears and tire pressure and engine noises got me some looks, the ones I got for raising a tiny device to my mouth and then blowing at it like a candle gone wild were, more or less, variations of the following:

But I didn’t get it right on the first try. Or the second. Not even the twelth attempt. Practicing didn’t help much either. Each time I failed, I grew more exasperated, and I think one of the fellows sitting across from me suspected I was having a panic attack. I wasn’t. If only I could have told him the truth. If only the truth wasn’t so ridiculous.

So I stopped playing and wasted the next forty-five minutes watching TV.

I later got past the tricky song part when I was home, in the comfort and silence of my apartment, where the only mocking looks I got were the ones I gave to myself in the mirror. In short, I’ve never much liked DS games that implemented the microphone, and now I have another reason why to add to the list. The Spirit Flute is fine when used optionally, which most of the time it is, but a pain in the jaw when forced down our throats.

2 responses to “Spirit Tracks: Blowing, Not for the Faint of Breath

  1. I was a passenger in a car ride once while playing this game and the tire noise caused the flute to constantly play. Luckily I didn’t need to play that particular song on the trip.

    The game is the worse when you actually have to say words into it, like “CUTE” or “BOY”. I hate games that do that and can’t believe Nintendo went with it.

    • Oh wow. And I guess if it was a bumpy ride, that didn’t help much either. But yeah, Spirit Tracks is great, but the gimicky mic blowing and voice commands bring it down a notch.

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