When’s the last time you stopped to take in a video game while playing?

I’m just under 35 hours in Zelda: Skyward Sword. My best guess says I’m 60% finished and there is substantial road still ahead. Hundreds of miles worth, considering all the side missions and extra treasure I still want to pursue.

Simply put, I have never been this interested in a single player game for this long. Never. Not even close — not in my 27 years as a gamer. I want to see the finish line, but I don’t want it to end.

Moments ago, after unlocking the next quest by learning a new song on the harp, I had to stop to take it all in. I just quit advancing the text prompt, let the beautiful music play — there is a lot of it; this is the best scored video game I’ve ever played — and just thought about all the great moments I’ve had leading up to that point.

“This is why I play video games,” I said to myself, “to find this exact game. Those hundreds of hours playing lesser games in recent years was all worth it.”

So far I’ve played the best boss battle I’ve ever played. I’ve experienced the best power ups I’ve ever used in a game. I’ve listened to music I hope to buy and loop on iTunes. I’ve traversed the most inspired level design I can remember… 10 hours ago!

Not only that, but the world the geniuses at Nintendo have created is like G-rated Grand Theft Auto, only with more purpose. As the game says in pursuit of optional Gratitude Crystals, “Helping people feels good.”

And to think I still have a massive chunk of remaining great moments to take in boggles the mind. I’m blown away. Tonight I’m proud to say I’m a gamer.