Recently I’ve been thinking of the usage of Iron Boots. Exciting life, I know. There are a lot of bizarre items in games and when you start thinking about their in world usage, you can be pondering for ages on the basics alone. In journalism you have the 5 W’s: Who, What, Where, When and Why. We know the What and the Where of the heavy Iron Boots but the rest is a bit up in the air. Gaming isn’t factual but it is fun to speculate so today, I’m going to be guessing the Who and the Why of the Iron Boots.
What kind of person requires the need to sink like a boulder? At first I thought for marine exploration or treasure diving but then the person still needs oxygen! I don’t know how long Hylians can hold their breath for but for the average human it’s about a minute. Perhaps the creator of the boots has strengthened their lung capacity enough to last longer than that. So let’s say 3 minutes. That 3 minutes still has to include the descent and ascent when underwater. By the time you touch the bottom of a lake you have to start thinking about ascending. Link had the Blue Tunic which allowed him to breathe under water like the Zora race. But the way to buy the Blue Tunic in the Zora Domain shop was blocked off by boulders which Link destroys with bombs. Boulders I imagine have been there for some time so I know just by that alone, that Hylians don’t visit the Zora domain often. You’d think garments that let you breathe underwater would be a popular item but there seems to be a race barrier in Hyrule. That’s another topic altogether though.
So we have a marine explorer/biologist or even treasure diver as our main creator. Then you have the fact that the Iron Boots are found in an Ice Cavern within the Zora domain. I know my simple science and I’m well aware water can become ice and since a lot of Zora’s domain has frozen over that makes sense. But why are the Iron Boots in the Zora’s domain? Zoras can breathe underwater. I’m pretty sure they can anyway, they have gills and in Majora’s Mask when you become one, there is no oxygen gauge. My hypothesis is, either the Zoras created the Iron Boots or they took them from the creator as they believe water is their turf and not for Hylian meddling. That leads me to the Why!
If we go by the idea that Hylians created the Iron Boots, the reason for this is kind of obvious. As humans we are constantly trying to explore the depths of oceans so I completely understand why Hylians would want to. But we have diving gear in real life! In Ocarina of Time I don’t remember diving gear. Correct me if I’m wrong though! So they have several minutes underwater tops. That’s enough to get a few samples or collect some fish. I would suggest that hiring Zoras would be a lot easier but like I said, race issues. I’m not going to mention the fact that the sheer holding of the Iron Boots should weigh you down but Link has magic pockets and so for arguments sake the rest of Hyrule has magic, weightless pockets too. That’s a discussion for another Inventory Time.
So the idea that the Zoras pinched the Iron Boots just seems mean! I know they’re quite a high class society in terms of how they appear and see themselves. They have a regal kind of quality. I won’t call them thieves and instead let’s think of a reason why Zoras would create Iron Boots for themselves. My main thought is for underwater construction or demolition. The Zoras live in a water domain and there is a lot of opportunity for housing in underwater spaces. I imagine most of us have been in a swimming pool and thrown a punch or tried to attempt Ryu’s Hurricane Kick from Street Fighter 2. Just me? Alright then, your loss. You feel like you’re in The Matrix but there’s very little power behind your actions. When you push against a wall underwater you can propel yourself quite easily, you see swimmers do it in the Olympics. It doesn’t require much strength to do that. If Zoras were building underwater, the simple act of pushing or swinging tools seems difficult. The Iron Boots would be a great benefit in this situation. It wouldn’t stop the strength decrease but with firm footing you can perform these actions easier and more effectively.
Do you want to know my dark theory? That’s rhetorical, of course you do. Brace yourself. Zora Mafia!
Zora Gangsta: ‘ey boss. That cheap Hylian skimped on his Tuna quota again.
Zora Gangsta Boss: Well I think it’s time for our friend Mr. Cheap Cheep Cheep to sleep with the fishes. And I don’t mean Princess Ruto’s slumber party.
Bam! Reusable cement shoes. Saves the Zora Mafia a fortune! Then after a few hours they just swim back down and retrieve the shoes. Ah, but then the body has no weight to keep it submerged…….maybe not the fool proof business venture I thought it was. I better cancel my Shark Tank appointment.
Anyway, thank you for reading my innate ramblings. No idea what I’m going to do next or even if I’m going to do more of this. I have a few more inventory based speculations in mind but we’ll see. Thanks for reading and sound off any theories you have on the Iron Boots in the comments.
Recently Megan of A Geeky Gal nominated my blog for a Real Neat Blog Award and to that I want to say thank you.
It’s nice to know my ramblings about games are neat enough for a mention and not just me whinging to myself. I mean, they are me rambling or whinging but as long as it’s neat too that’s a good start. Megan set me and a bunch of other bloggers a difficult but fun scenario to theoretically survive. It’s a bit of a doozy and I’ll get to that but first, I want to give a mention to Megan and her great blog. A Geeky Gal is one of those blogs that I read a lot of on my commutes. The posts are just the right size and to the point which makes them perfect for a short ride to work. Specifically the anime related posts which I highly recommend if you’re like me and you like to watch anime but aren’t clued in to what’s good or not and tend to only know of the big name shows like Attack on Titan or One Punch Man. She recently did a 30 day anime challenge which was a fun read and I highly recommend you try that out if you haven’t. In fact here’s a Link for day one of that. So, thank you again Megan and let’s begin your scenario.
Display the Award Logo.
Thank the blogger who nominated you and post a link to their blog.
Answer the questions of the one who nominated you.
Nominate 7-10 bloggers.
Ask them seven questions.
The great and wise Megan has thrown me into a very interesting scenario:
Setting the scene: you’ve just woken up in the hospital. You don’t remember who you are or why you are there. The hospital is completely empty… You dress and head outside into the unknown. You must make some life or death decisions now.
Along with this, A Geeky Gal has provided 7 questions for me to answer and hopefully guarantee my survival. The first one is:
1. You need a partner for the apparent apocalypse that has taken place during your coma. Which video game character do you choose?
My answer is Elizabeth from Bioshock Infinite. Not only is she just a great person to be around but as she as spent most of her life locked away, an apocalyptic world would still be full of wonder to her. I want that level of optimism in my life as no doubt I would be a moody bore pining for my PS4 or Netflix. To Elizabeth everything is new and exciting and I want someone to imbue me what that same energy, if I am going to survive I need to be raring to go and hopeful. Now on to a more practical side of Elizabeth, as I said she’s spent most of her life in a library. With the would reduced to a more basic state, that wealth of information in her noggin is bound to come in handy. With my knowledge of how the world was and Elizabeth’s knowledge of the base fundamentals of the world, I think our chances of basic survival are strong. Then there is her reality manipulation powers! With her powers I could bypass A Geeky Gal’s entire scenario by exiting to a new reality. But that’s no fun so we won’t do that. Nevertheless, Elizabeth has a knack for finding useful items either from her current reality or an arm’s length away in another. An invaluable skill for the apocalypse if I’ve ever seen one.
2. Great monsters are now roaming the lands you used to call home… what fearsome video game creatures do you see on the horizon?
Honestly with this one I was torn. Giant beasts similar to Deathclaw’s in Fallout would absolutely terrify me but I’ve always thought in games, books or films that even though post apocalyptic monsters are scary, it’s other people that truly are the monsters. That’s why I’ve gone with a more Mad Max approach and chosen the No More Heroes rogues gallery of disturbing and psychotic assassins. These freaks lived their uncivilised lives in a civilised world previously and they were dangerous enough then. They killed for the thrill and to be number one in some weird assassins league that didn’t even seem to have an end goal. I don’t even think there was a prize besides a title! Imagine the lengths they would go to in a world with limited resources. I think this would be their paradise. No rules of society or even the rules of the United Assassins Association to determine who could fight who. It would just be a free for all with murder being their main desire and survival being just a necessity so that they could keep murdering. You wouldn’t want to run into one of these weirdo’s in a dark alleyway.
3. You must pick a weapon to defend yourself with. What video game weapon do you choose?
I’ve actually had this answer in my head for a long time. The book, The Zombie Survival Guide mentions this and from one type of end of the world crisis to another, the crowbar is the weapon for me. First off, it’s intended use of prying open things. With lots of building’s to loot and resources to gather, the crowbar is the best way to get the job done (besides the key obviously) effectively and quietly. It doesn’t require ammo or petrol to function and requires minimal maintenance. It also functions as a blunt and a piercing weapon. Sure it means you have to get up close to whatever still exists in this world or a No More Heroes assassin, but I would rather trust a classic bonk on the head to a potential rusty gun jamming or a blade being too dull. And the best aspect of a crowbar? I get to pretend to be Gordan Freeman, scientist extraordinaire!
4. You and your partner are seeking shelter for the night after a long day of fighting. What video game house/apartment/place do you bunker down in for the night?
This was the toughest of the questions for me. I originally thought of DK’s cabin in Donkey Kong Country simply because it comes with a stash of end of the world bananas! Then I remembered that they usually get stolen and also bananas don’t last very long before they go super mushy like baby food. It’s the end of the world so beggar’s can’t be choosers but still….yuck. More on that food issue later though. For my final answer I’ve gone with Sigismund Dijkstra’s Bathhouse from The Witcher 3. Whether the bathhouse is functioning or not, this place still works as a sanctuary that I would consider keeping as mine and Elizabeth’s base. If the water is still running or at least there, that is ideal for us adventurers to have a soak and relaxation after trudging the mostly barren land. The body can only withstand so much before it needs to be soothed otherwise it becomes stiff and rigged, which is terrible in a fight for survival. It would be a great place for a drink of water, to fill up containers and to clean our tools, clothes and gear. If the bathhouse wasn’t functioning as its name implies, it’s still a secure place with big wide rooms which make it ideal to spot any intruders. There is also a secret tunnel which connects to the sewer system for safer traversal in or out. A handy place for the night and possibly longer.
5. You’re getting awfully hungry battling those scary creatures. What video game food is in your pack?
Cans and cans of pickles from Deadly Premonition. Known as The Pickles. Not the tastiest of food but super useful for the current situation. Being in cans, the food is protected from outside damage and also has an extended life compared to those pesky free range pickles. The can itself could also be useful afterwards as either a container or potentially the metal could be used as a weapon of sorts. The brine is also a super useful bonus. Brine is essentially salt and water. It’s used to preserve food for longer periods of time. If me and Elizabeth kill an animal for survival or an assassin for their meat. Again, I’m going to stress this is a hypothetical situation! Would I eat a person? That’s another question for another day and depending on what marinade I had with me. But if me and Elizabeth had too much meat to consume, it would be a shame to let it go to waste. Meat would be hard to come by and a valuable source of nutrients. Brine to the rescue! After cans and cans of pickles our backpacks would be sloshing around with gallons of the salty stuff. Find a way to encase the meat and brine together and voila, longer lasting food. Might taste a bit of pickles but nutrients is nutrients. I believe that brine would function as a good source of drinkable water. Obviously you shouldn’t drink brine in its briny state but if you can separate the salt and the water then you’re good to go. Elizabeth, with her wealth of knowledge should be able to manage that. She’s essentially my Bear Grylls in this scenario and the longer she can keep us from drinking our urine the better.
6. You and your partner run across more survivors who ask to join your party, but one of them is a little shady. Which video game character is the wolf in sheep’s clothing?
Again, going with the No More Heroes angle, Travis Touchdown. Travis is one of my all time favourite video game characters but would I trust him on my team? HELL NO! The guy is out for himself. Yes, he has a weird morale code when it comes to who he trusts or who he has sympathy for but it is that very word, weird. I wouldn’t be able to process if I was on his good side or not and I believe he would cut me down the second I got in the way of his plans. In the No More Heroes world he wanted to be the top of the United Assassins Association simply because he wanted to be. In this post apocalyptic world, the league is essentially just survival of the fittest. He would still want to be number one of that and I would be a contender in his head. Not only that but you don’t trust a guy who buys a functioning beam katana off an eBay equivalent! You just don’t. Not only that but he worships wrestling, to the point that most of his fighting moves are wrestling moves. Have you watched wrestling before? The amount of turns and story plot twists are out of this world. In Travis’s delusional head, I think he would act in a similar manner just because he once saw it on TV. I can’t trust a guy like that. Also, he hides behind his shades, I don’t trust a man whose eyes I can’t look into. As much as I would love to have him on my team, he’s too much of a wildcard.
7. You hear of a place that’s been untouched by the apocalypse. What video game world do you hope it is?
This is short and sweet and pretty self explanatory. Super Mario Odyssey’s Luncheon Kingdom! It’s a kingdom of food. In a survival scenario it’s essentially the dream. Technically in the Mario universe it is a planet but it’s called a kingdom and so I believe it is accessible in my scenario’s reality. It would be the scenario’s version of El Dorado. There isn’t much opposition there either besides Goomba’s and if you pet them on the head they go squish so I’m not worried. My only hope is me and Elizabeth find it before those freaky assassins or before Travis ruins my day.
That was a great time! I really enjoyed those questions and I had a lot of back and forth on most of them. Now for my questions and scenario. Apologies for the lengthy questions but I wanted to set the scene a bit too much:
Scenario: You wake up to find yourself strapped to a cold metal table. You glance around and notice a lot of fancy technology but a bunch of stuff that bears a striking resemblance to video game consoles. You see a bunch of moving things in the corner of your eye. They turn to look at you as you quickly look away from them. You spy a window and quickly realise that you are flying through space. Then it dawns on you, you’re aboard an alien spaceship.
From the darkness you hear the things conversing with each other. It sounds eerily similar to a made up language you’ve heard in a video game. What games language do they sound like?
One of the moving things starts shuffling towards you, as it gets closer you start to make out its shape. You can’t believe it but it’s a being that you know from video games. What is it, from which series and why does that particular being terrify you?
The being realises that it has startled you. It clicks a button and begins talking to you in English. It explains that a translator has been activated and that it can still sense your duress. It says it wishes to play a song for you, a song of your choosing from video games to help calm you down. Which video game song do you pick?
After you calmed down, the being clicks a button and you are released from the table. The being explains that it has been watching Earth for a long time and their race has a fascination with Earth’s video games. They wish to join Earth in its gaming culture and the being explains that they love local competitive video games. The being requests that the two of you play a friendly match together. It requests that you pick any game that has existed on any gaming system (PC included) but that the game must include alien races, as the beings find the exclusion to be upsetting to them. It doesn’t need to their species but something beyond Earth. The being suggests that if you win the game, it will show you around the ship. Realising that this may be your best chance to escape, what game do you pick that you feel confident in winning?
After you win the match, the being praises you to all its fellow crew. They rejoice and hail you as Earth’s champion. The alien then requests you follow it around the ship. As you walk through the long corridors, you come across a wall of familiar weapons. On the wall is dozens upon dozens of weapons from video games. But, the weapons are half and half. The being explains that something went wrong and all the weapons were split in half and then merged with a random weapon. They all worked though and the beings liked the results so they kept them. Amongst the weapons you spot a weapon ideal for your current situation. You lunge for the weapon and proceed to go through with the act of escaping. What weapon fusion have you chosen and why? (For the sake of the following questions, it can’t be a weapon that would get you off the ship.)
After your altercation with the being, you make a dash in the opposite direction from where you woke. As you run you hear a blaring noise and realise that the alarm has been sounded. You enter a new room and before you you see an escape pod. You go to enter the shuttle but quickly realise that you best prepare yourself first. At the back of the room and spy a row of containers, each with a spacesuit. The beings have created fully functioning spacesuits from video games. Each one with the abilities of their video game counterparts and fully stocked with oxygen. How convenient, you think! Which spacesuit do you take and why?
After suiting up, you enter the pod. Before you is a mouse, keyboard and a display screen. The screen prompts you to press the Esc button to launch the shuttle. So you do just that. The escape pod breaks away from the ship and hurtles through space. The screen prompts you to type in your destination. EARTH you type. ‘Insufficient fuel’ the screen unfortunately tells you. The display then prompts a list of choices for you in the vicinity. It details a bunch of prototype worlds that the beings had set up. Each world has been created to resemble a video game world and has Earth’s atmosphere implemented on it. On the list you spy a place that you recognise from your games and you decide that that *Blank* Planet is ideal for you. What planet is it and why?
Favourite is a very strong word. It surpasses love or hate in terms of strength. I love shortbread. I hate heights. There are loads of things I love and hate but to have a favourite of something means that that thing is at the peak for you. The crème de la crème. The dog’s privates to put it in PG rating terms. For me, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time is my all time favourite game.
It’s the one that I always think about when asked what my top game is. It isn’t my most played and if I played it today I wouldn’t be as blown away as I was when I was a kid. However, it’s the first game I remember amazing me with its scope and scale. I didn’t have a PC growing up so I missed a lot of the earlier story driven games. For me a story in a game was an opening text saying your princess has been stolen or an opening text crawl explaining the state of the world and your mission. The main story was always in the manuals. I used to read those in the car while my mum went food shopping. Hoping she’d do a quick shop and not bump into a neighbour and get talking for hours. All so that I could play my brand new shiny game. Those minutes felt like hours and those hours were excruciating. Before I begin I just want to say that as you’ll see in what I write, Ocarina of Time was a first of many things for me. I believe that game is a masterpiece but a lot of my personal reasons for why it’s my favourite game is because it was the first to introduce me to many new experiences in gaming. A lot of these points will seem trivial now but back then it was the opening of many possibilities to me. Not in what I could achieve but in what gaming could accomplish and what the future could improve upon. Zelda was a technical marvel as well as an astonishing game to little optimistic me. With that said, let’s start at the very beginning.
One of the first things you see when loading Ocarina of Time is Link riding Epona across Hyrule field at sunrise. This sweeping music I instantly feel in love with. I would leave it on loop sometimes and just watch as he rides round the land of Hyrule. It just sets the tone perfectly. It’s whimsical, enchanting and you just get a fantastic sense of the vastness ahead of you during this brief opening. At this point I had only played a few 3D games. Goldeneye and Mario 64 being the ones I can definitely recall playing before Ocarina. When I saw Link riding across seemingly endless fields, my little mind was exploding. ‘I can ride anywhere. This is a full world.’ I was so use to levels in games that the concept of an open world wasn’t available to me. It’s weird to think of it now when nearly every game released is an open world game but back then games were mostly level based, their experiences broken into chunks and not one continuous venture. Sure in Ocarina you have loading screens disguised as area transitions but I always knew where I was heading. Before the loading of the next area Link would be running up a hill or onto a sandy area, when the scene re-opened he would still be on that hill or on a beach. In games with levels the 2 separating levels may share the same theme and world properties but I never felt like they were directly connected. I always imagined a short interlude of Super Mario World’s Mario walking a further 10 minutes or so till he got to the new level. And I know Mario 64 had a hub area but the paintings you jumped into were always wacky locals that would never be anywhere near the castle grounds. So the prospect of a world with free rein was almost unthinkable to me. Still, I hit Start and entered my name.
I never played a Zelda game before this so I had no idea Link was his real name. I hadn’t read the manual for this game as I believe it was a birthday present, one that I had repeatedly pointed out. I didn’t leave game choices to my mum and bless her she always made note of them rather than saying she’ll remember and buying Clayfighter 64 instead. When I unwrapped it I didn’t waste any time in tearing that box open and starting it up. I remember thinking Link was a weird name and that it was just a random default placement. I changed it to my name and my adventure began. Cutscenes are everywhere in games now, sometimes too many or too long like Metal Gear Solid 4 but I don’t remember full on cutscenes before Ocarina. Sure the sprites would move during a scene or the camera would fly through the map until it crammed itself into the back of James Bond’s head in Goldeneye but nothing on Ocarina’s level. The following happens within 5 minutes. We get told about the Kokiri, children of the forest who all live in a village. They each have a fairy as their guide in life, all except one. Link is then shown lying on his bed, seemingly crying! The hero of the game is a lonely sad child. I was so used to sprightly plumbers and the Contra men that a miserable child was not what I was expecting. Then the following scene is Link stood in the rainy darkness next to a castle. Hang on, he’s got a fairy now! Wait who are those 2 on that horse? Who’s this sharp nose scary guy with the malevolent music!? Navi? Talking tree? Evil sweeping the land? Then you have this jaunty little ditty as Navi sweeps across the village in first person yelling at the villagers before telling Link that the Deku Tree wishes to see him. There’s a lot to unpack there for a 9 year old.
Firstly, it does a great job of setting the scene and telling you the of the dangers ahead without really explaining what they are. There’s a lot of mystery in the air. We get our first look at Ganondorf and even though I didn’t know if that was a dream, past event or future occurrence, I knew he was bad news by the low angled camera and ominous music. Disney had trained me well in spotting evil incarnate. You have your first quest in the form of seeing the Deku Tree and learning about why he needs your help. Then you have the sweep of the village and it was only years later that I really appreciated how that tricked my mind. Not in a bad way! It shows the villagers going for a stroll, one guy attempting to lift a rock, a girl chilling on a rooftop. It conveys a sense of purpose. Each person is doing something rather than just standing there waiting for me to talk to them like NPC’s normally do. I thought all these characters had lives programmed into them. I didn’t think that in technical terms because as a 9 year old video games were the equivalent of science magic for me. But I believed that each person would go about their day as if it was real life. They wouldn’t, spoiler alert. That guy trying to lift that rock will continue to not lift that rock for hours but hey it fooled me. So on your quest you go! You get a sword, a shield some nuts and some sticks and you enter the Deku Tree as something inside of him is corrupting him. You go in and say hello to your first dungeon.
This was my first ever Zelda dungeon. I still wish I could erase all memories of Zelda dungeons and go back and play them as if it was my first time. Zelda dungeons are one of my favourite aspects of any games. Give me a good ole dungeon any day of the week. Locked doors, keys, mini bosses, treasure chests, a map, compass, a new weapon and a big boss. Salivating at the thought. It’s a tried trope but one I love. I enjoyed Zelda: Breath of the Wild but I still haven’t cleared it. I’ve one more Divine Beast to beat and I’m really struggling to go back to it. The game itself is fantastic and I spent so much time just wandering the world and exploring. But now that I’ve just got the main quest to do I’m bored. I found the dungeons and bosses to be really disappointing. They lack character, they lack that Zelda charm that I’ve loved for decades. I want the familiar in Zelda games. It sounds boring but Ocarina of Time set a formula that I absolutely love. Zelda for me represents comfort. Many complain that Zelda games need to update themselves and I disagree for the most part. When I buy a Zelda game I’m buying it because of that familiarity. I know I’m getting a simple story of evil roaming the land and something to do with a princess. There are people across the land that require help and by helping them I will gain access to dungeons which will give me the tools to defeat the evil once again. It’s not winning any awards for groundbreaking story but it doesn’t need to. I’ll let other games do that. New IP’s and games where a story is more of a centrepiece can reinvent the wheel but Zelda scratches that itch that I need scratching now and then. I want a good vs evil story, it’s a classic tale for a reason. There is beauty in its simplicity and I crave that now and then.
As I was saying about the dungeons though. Each dungeon is a highlight of the game. They will forever remain some of my most vivid gaming memories. They are all distinctive in their theme, their look and their music. Thematically wise, they are perfect representations of their surrounding areas. From the inside of a giant fish, to a spooky forest and finally the domain of an evil tyrant, Ocarina’s dungeons all feel unique and each tell a story of where you are. This is obviously accompanied by the visuals each dungeon showcases. The Deku Tree is old and decrepit, a tree on its last fall covered in spiderwebs. The shadow temple that exists at the back of a graveyard with its skull panelled walls and let’s not forget, a ghost pirate ship! Visually you can tell each dungeon apart just by looking at them. Even similar themed dungeons like the Dodongo caverns and The Fire Temple, both full of rock and lava but both with their own style. Then there is the music. My word, the music! I could talk for hours about the music in Ocarina of Time and frankly I may do in another post but today I’ll just say that Ocarina of Time has some of the all time greatest songs you will ever hear in gaming. I still to this day hum the Saria’s song for no other reason than it’s fantastic. Each dungeon has its own unique theme and even though I remember some less than others, if I heard 2 seconds of a dungeon theme I’m willing to bet I can name the dungeon and finish humming the song. The songs you play on the Ocarina are something else entirely. Each one a prelude to the dungeons you are about to enter and each song perfectly captures a taste of that dungeon. Nocturne of Shadow is beautifully haunting and then when you enter the Shadow Temple, you wish that Nocturne of Shadow was as scary as it got! The subtle slow drum beat is a great nod to the boss of this dungeon and ghostly wailing that quickly enters your ears and then seems to flee as if dragged back into the darkness. Oh I got chills big time. Speaking of……
Here is an embarrassing tidbit. Ocarina of Time is the earliest game I can recall that scared me to the point that I couldn’t progress for months. This game is scary! And it wasn’t the Shadow Temple as my previous paragraph would lead you to believe. No, it was the Forest Temple. This is going to be a bit of a personal tangent but I feel that it shows the strength of Ocarina of Time’s influence on me. I was petrified of this game but I desperately wanted to play it. With other games that scared me, specifically horrors I would just stop playing them. I remember my older brother got me good once. He had just got Silent Hill on the Playstation and I had no clue what this game was. He called me to our bedroom to show me this new game he’s got. I set my eyes on Silent Hill’s grey, murky screen for the first time, unsure of what kind of game it was but getting some unpleasant vibes. ‘Walk forward’ he says as he hands me the controller. ‘Why? Something’s going to happen isn’t it?’ I said innocently. ‘No, no just want to show you something. Pick up that radio.’. Me being stupid and feeling honoured to play big brothers new game I move a few steps forward and click on the radio. Giant bat thing jumps through the window and I jump out of my skin much to my brothers amusement. Back to Ocarina of Time though after explaining my scaredy cat level. So, I hate the ReDead’s. Hands down one of the scariest enemies ever. In Hyrule Castle Town when you play as Adult Link, the area is infested with them. Now if you play the Sun Song you can freeze the ReDead’s but I didn’t know this for a time so I used to close my eyes and run for the exit. I did it so often I had memorised the right path to avoid their grabs. It didn’t help to hear their shrieks but I couldn’t stand to look at them. As I mentioned above though, the Forest Temple was my nightmare and my inevitable downfall as I will get into shortly.
In the Forest Temple, there is a room where Navi abruptley says ‘Watch for the shadows of monster that hang from the ceiling.’. Excuse me, what?! You can’t just spring that on me Navi without an explanation! So, I jump in the room and I notice the shadow at Link’s feet getting bigger and a whooshing sound getting louder. Nope! Not happening. I leave the room and come back in. I just need to get to the other side of the room but I have terrified at this point. I decide to be brave and face my fears, after pacing in and out of the room for what felt like hours. So, I jump in the room and run around while the shadow gets bigger. Here’s where I mess up! The shadow got a certain size and I thought it was done expanding and nothing had happened. So, in my genius head, I decided to use to C button to look up. As soon as I did that, the Wallmaster grabs me! Well that was it wasn’t it. I couldn’t progress after that. I got so worked up over that damn Wallmaster that I actually asked my older brother to clear the temple for me. And here is where I messed up big time. See this was before I had access to the internet and before most people did. Accessing guides online wasn’t a thing then and I didn’t have enough money to buy a guide even if I wanted to. Too busy saving up my £1 a week for the next game. Took me a long time to buy games back then. The problem was that I didn’t watch my brother clear the temple because I was too scared. The boss of the temple is Phantom Ganondorf and the way you beat him is by hitting his balls of energy with your sword back at him. Like a game of table tennis. Fast forward to me getting to the final boss. Also, side note, the Shadow Temple, the horror themed temple, I got through that on my own somehow. No idea what happened but I suddenly got brave, go figure. So anyway, final boss, part one is Ganondorf. I don’t remember what Navi says, but she doesn’t give any hints as to how to beat Ganondorf. Now if you had beat the Forest Temple boss like most people would have at this point, you get explained how to beat it. It is the exact same method of knocking the balls back except I had never done this throughout the entire game. Cut to me trying every item I had. Switching to Iron Boots and thinking I could withstand the ball, trying to block it with my shield, launching arrows galore at every spot on his body. Nothing. I tried on and off for months, maybe even a year. It’s hard to tell as time as a child seems a lot slower but it felt like forever. One day I’m trying it again, desperately hoping that something would click when my brother pops in the room and starts watching me. ‘You not cleared this game yet?’, I told him no and that I couldn’t figure it out. ‘Can I try it?’ he says, so I hand him the controller, thinking that nothing would come of it after my months of failing. BAM! Ganondorf is stunned as my brother effortlessly knocks the ball back at him. My brother’s a genius! A gaming god! No he isn’t I later learned, after replaying the game and having a gumption to tackle the Forest Temple again I figured out why he knew exactly what to do.
Incredibly long life story over but I just wanted to show how much I loved this game. Most games I would have given up after days of trying but I really loved this game and needed to see it through to the end. I hadn’t felt that strongly about a game before and one of the main reasons for that is the story. This is the first game where I can remember a full on story full on submerging me in its world. Sure Bowser is evil and him kidnapping the Princess is bad news but it was just a little romp through the lands to rescue her back. Nothing major. In Ocarina of Time there is death, there is a malicious evil who intends to drown the world in darkness and enslave the world. The stakes are high in this game. This is also the first time I remember a plot twists and shocking revelations in a game. Sheik is Zelda?! Not only that but the villain, actually has a plan and wins for 7 years. He waits for you, as Link, to gather the 3 stones and the titular Ocarina of Time and waits for you to do his work for him. He then blasts a child with his warlock skills and leaves you for dead. This is grim stuff. I thought at this point in the game, that the game was over. I thought it was the beginning of the ending. Those 3 dungeons were essentially the prelude. I never picked up on the fact that Link in the opening before the game menu was Adult Link. I didn’t process that that was technically a spoiler. Seemed cool to me and I liked the music. Link then wakes up 7 years older and is told that he lost and that Ganondorf has plunged the world into nightmare. How often does that happen in games? Specifically before Ocarina? Where the good guy loses, against the big evil to such an extent. Sure an early boss fight sometimes happens where the villain is clearly superior to the main character. But I never experienced on this grandiose scale until Ocarina. When you leave the Temple of Time, Hyrule is still there but there are no dancing couple in the village or small dog following you around. Just those scary ReDead’s looking to jump on your shoulders and munch your brains.
As a 9 year old, I don’t think I was ready for the scale of Ocarina’s story. I don’t mean that in a bad way like it caused me harm or made me sad. Just at that age I was so used to light hearted stories. And I know things like the Lion King are bleak, the hero’s loss followed by his triumphant victory is nothing new but in gaming it was new to me. I had more of a connection with Link than Mufasa or Simba because I was playing him. I was that character and I just got bamboozled by Mr Warlock. 9 year old me was honestly flabbergasted when it happened. Then i realised something amazing. This game that I was loving and thought I was about to clear just told me that I had 5 more dungeons and the final boss to beat. I was…..to put ecstatic would be an understatement. Not only that but I got to play as Adult Link. A character ageing in a game was a completely new concept to me. Character growth was expected in a story but not a literal character growth. I wasn’t ever expecting to play another iteration besides Young Link. And the fact that this actually becomes a gameplay aspect is a superb decision in my mind. Only being able to use certain items as one version of Link and only being able to access certain areas as another adds a great deal of depth to the world. It’s why the Spirit Temple is such an amazing concept. You get to experience 2 sides of a story, 7 years apart but as the same mindset. Not only that, but being able to return to Young Link and see the Hylians, Zoras, Gorons and Gerudos enjoying themselves before their world is decimated by Ganondorf, it really ups the hero’s mission for me.
It’s funny, I set out with this article to point out the key aspects of Ocarina of Time that make it stand out and for half the article I’ve done that. The other half is just me reminiscing about what a brilliant game it is. I kind of went off track but I think that speaks higher for the game than me pointing out each reason why Ocarina is a masterpiece. I can’t seem to write an article about it without raving about my experience of it. Most games I can’t say that for. Not only that but I remember key moments and how I felt during those moments. This was close to 20 years ago! I don’t remember conversations I have with my partner sometimes or what I had for dinner on this day last week. Yet I can vividly remember the songs, the interactions of between characters, that GODDAMN OWL, the animation and facial changes of Windmill Man.
There is just so many things that I should have forgotten about Ocarina but decades later they are fresher than most things I’ve done this year. I have a lot of games I love and a lot of those games are constantly in my top 10 list. But depending on the day and how I’m feeling, they’ll swap places. Not Ocarina of Time though. It’s always my number 1 spot and I don’t think I’ll ever experience a game that’ll topple it. That sense of wonder and amazement has been filtered now throughout my years. Due to maturity and better understanding of how things are accomplished but also just because games have come such a long way now in terms of scope and story telling. I didn’t even touch upon how great Ocarina of Time plays and how the Z-targeting was revolutionary at the time or how the dual Lizalfos fight is one of the best representations of hype in gaming. I believe the gameplay is the least important factor of the game. While the gameplay is fantastic, the visuals, world, audio and story just elevate this game above all others for me. I do hope one day I’ll experience that feeling again and I have felt it with other games just not on the same magnitude as Ocarina. We tend to remember our first of something better than subsequent experiences of the same thing. Ocarina was a first of many things for me and those firsts remain the purest form of those experiences. It’s going to be hard for a game to best them but it’s a win/win situation if they do.
Thank you for reading my long breakdown/worshipping of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. I hope you enjoyed the read and feel free to leave your thoughts and experiences on this game in the comments.