It's a Long Way to the Top
As cold winds bluster and nights grow longer, we seek comfort in the things which bring us warmth. For some that is an indulgent meal prepared with love, ‘tis the season for roasted duck and ham. For others it may be a favorite movie with familiar blanket; chocolates cozied up on the couch. Yet for more than a few of us, it is that radiating computer screen pouring out retro pixel perfection. A promise of adventure, a figurative window into the lands beyond and time-before, with limitless possibilities - The fire of competition. Over twenty years ago, our guest today was being shown that same window through an oft forgotten source of warmth; family.
Frequently we begin our journey to the Top at a young age, bumbling through handholds and down ledges as we learn what lets us climb higher, and likewise our pitfalls back. It isn’t usual that we are given a guide or shown how to achieve our ascent, but rather have to persist through trial and error in an effort for conquest. That is what initially stood out to me about this particular summit achiever, they did receive that aforementioned guide. So, join me today dear reader, as we talk with Olafur, and learn about his enduring journey to The Top.
Olafur - Currently #1 in Nintendo DS Achievement count, points, and masteries
Current game of choice: The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask
In both my previous experiences, my guests were apt to never waste a moment or let an opportunity where they could be performing slip through their fingers, "Currently I'm playing through some jigsaw puzzles on the DS. Yeah, like something very light. Small and doesn't take my concentration too much, ya know?" multi-tasking was clearly a regularly practiced skill. Wanting to understand where Olafur got his start I began, "What are some of the earliest memories you have around gaming?" "That would probably be my older brother and the N64. It came out around when I was born - mostly it would be him playing, but I started playing too, when I was a couple years old." looking for more, I pressed "An early start! Was there anything particular he or you would play?" to which he offered "Mostly Mario 64 and Ocarina of Time. In fact, even at one point he actually recorded for me- like, just for me; an entire playthrough of Ocarina of Time." the last part said with incredulity evident in his tone still decades after the fact, "Oh wow! Just to show you how to play it, or?" leaving it open ended, "Kind of, but also just because you know, I liked it. I was mesmorized by all the story and graphics and music and- just everything about it!" recanting the first time he truly saw the previous figurative window of warmth, "Also, Majora's Mask. That is my definitive childhood favorite, it had a huge impact on me." inquiring "What stood out to you for it to be so important?" without hesitation "Honestly it's the setting. The whole despair look and feel, the moon looming over you about to crash and kill everything." sensing a lead "So this was probably your first experience with media that could be dark or desperate then?" "Yeah, there's a lot of things in it that would scare the crap outta me, but I learned to love it more and more as time went on." his trait of overcoming what brings you fear is admirable.
I found through my research that Olafur was already aware they were at the Top, not wanting to waste any more time I addressed it directly, "So, you've clearly been gaming for a while. It is partly what has me reaching out for this interview. You are leading the pack for Nintendo DS masteries" immediately he stated "Yeah, I noticed actually a couple months ago. Then thought like, 'hey, cool! I'm at the top!' and decided to keep at it." following up I prodded "Do you consider yourself competitive overall then?" a second to pause "Eh, not as much. I just want to do my best, and I don't really care about what happens." leaving him in silence for a moment he went on "Well like, I care somewhat - but I don't try too hard, I'm going to try and keep my title for long as I can. I suppose that's it: I'm going to try and maintain my title as long as I can." I could see the tug-of-war going on internally with him, "Being at the top makes you want to retain it then." "Exactly." Wanting to know more, "What drew you to the DS specifically?" knowing it can be difficult for some when emulating, "I guess it's like the touch screen thing. The fact I can use it with my mouse instead of using my controller." I was floored but kept it hidden "You actually have really good success with the mouse? You don't use a tablet or anything, you are still using the mouse?" I didn’t hide it well "Yeah, pretty much!" a huge grin evident, knowing that isn’t an easy feat "Wow! So using your mouse for most of your input, are there any games you steer away from that may be too much without actual hardware?" I dug in for some professional insight "Yep, heck yep. Pokemon Ranger, I don't think I'm gonna touch that with a ten million foot pole. That and like Mario Party DS was way too much for me. The staircase rail game. Basically, anything that needs several strokes at once or spinning in circles? I just can't do that" he continued "But like, if it's more tap here and here, yeah I can do that." which prompted me to ask "Knowing that, is there anything you keep an eye out for when choosing games?" "Really anything that looks interesting, anything that looks fun." I turned up the heat "And what is 'fun' to you? What does that look like?" but Olafur was used to the high temp "Fun is in the eye of the beholder. You take a look at what seems interesting, be it gameplay or achievements." he paused, then admitted "although you have to pay attention to the missables. That can be really annoying at times." something that I’m sure has bit us all once or twice.
Since we had opportunity to learn from the best I sought on, "Would you have any techniques or advice for people who would like to see themselves perform better at the console?" "Most importantly is keep at it, but also if you shrink the screen as much as you can, you can quickly tap here and there." which on mouse would be all the more valuable to keep in mind. "So you have a couple of people that could be wanting to take your title from you. Anything you'd like to say to them?" starting with a snicker, "Well, I'll just say do your best. I'm not gonna make it easy for you, but to quote Kaito Momota from Danganronpa, "The impossible is possible, all you gotta do is make it so!" Good luck!" Clearly he had a good nature and unrelenting confidence. Choosing to take the heat born through that glowing screen, and shape it into his own warmth; as his brother showed and did for him all those years ago - A fantastic quality to see on display when you represent the Top
Getting to sit down with Olafur was an absolute treat, and showed me that even in the face of competition you can be kind and graceful. I thank him for his time, and you dear reader for coming along with us. Keep striving for that next great milestone, and you may be featured in a coming interview, just remember:
It’s a Long Way to the Top
Addendum - It is important during this time of year to remember others, and extend a genuine heartfelt kindness where able. Nobody should feel alone in the cold. If you can be somebodies warmth I implore you to be, and if you are yet cold: let us all do a little more to improve for one another.