The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time released on November 21,1998 to rapturous praise across the board. 17 years later, the game is still lauded as one of the best of its medium, and has subsequently been re-released on three different Nintendo consoles.
In honor of this incredible feat of creativity, here is my homage to the Ocarina of Time, one of the most magical stories in video game history, and an in-depth guide to a changing body and the fear of loss.
The Magnetism of Miyamoto
There are few people in this world that could make me place a hand on my heart and proclaim their absolute legendary status, because legendary status isn't something to be taken lightly.
The same goes for applying the same levels of adoration to video games, despite the releases and subsequent reverence of many an outstanding franchise.
But there is one man, the eponymous hero of our childhoods, the man who had a hand in creating some of history’s biggest gaming franchises that have continued to enthrall and excite gamers over the last thirty years, the man who catapulted Nintendo into the hearts and living rooms of almost 300 million people and families, Mr. Shigeru Miyamoto.
We've journeyed with Miyamoto-san's titular heroes through the lush and colourful playgrounds of the Mushroom Kingdom in countless Super Mario Bros. games.
Teamed up with a crack unit of humanlike animal pilots and laid waste to the evils of Andross in Star Fox and Lylat Wars.
Beaten up raptors and dudes made entirely of ice on top of urban skyscrapers in Killer Instinct and KI Gold
And…pulled muscles attempting the ‘downward facing dog’ in Wii Fit. This man’s influence knows no bounds.
But for me, there is one seminal Miyamoto moment that really sits heavy on the heart: the one misty Christmas morning in 1998 that I spent ripping at the wrapping paper which concealed my brand spanking new Nintendo 64 and The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time bundle.
From the game’s thrilling title screen which sought to introduce you to the new, ground-breaking three-dimensional Hyrule and Koji Kondo’s evocative opening score, OoT had me hooked. It was bold and ushered in a promise of adventures to come with its sweeping establishing shots of Hyrule’s vast terrain.
64 Bits of Fun
I was eleven when Young Link and I first embarked on our mission to save Hyrule, and, like many Harry Potter fans that began reading that series early, completely empathized with the young hero because I believed we were the same age.
The advantages and disadvantages of Young Link's small frame aligned perfectly with mine. I could just about carry a school bag packed with books and gym attire, let alone the Hylian Shield.
And the shock of having to leave the Kokiri Forest, where its varying cast of lost children would remain forever innocent, aligned with my beginnings in high school and the impending shedding of childhood.
The ailing Great Deku Tree made me think of my grandfather who suffered a heart attack earlier that year and never wholly recovered from it. It’s almost as if Miyamoto-san reached out from my TV and said “I know that feel, lil’ man”, whilst patting me on my tiny shoulders.
I aided Link in his journey of understanding the grown up world and he aided me in the understanding of mine. Thank you, Miyamoto-san, for creating my seminal gaming experience.