Why So Great?

So, I’ve paraded, stripped down, and viciously searched the game for all of you happily rested folk in order to make a point. What is that point, you may ask? Well, everyone really seems to want to know what makes Ocarina of Time the magnificent game that it is. People demand to know why it’s such a big deal that tomorrow, Friday, is the tenth anniversary of a bunch of zeros and ones making it onto our television screens. And, perhaps more importantly, the real question is why this game is so important I was willing to do this review knowing I would sacrifice my sleep. Why is it so important?

Ten years ago, I had no idea what The Legend of Zelda was. To me, the series might as well have been called Delicious Romps in a Green Hat While Saving A Stranger and it would have meant the same thing. Actually, it might have meant more, since I love the word ‘delicious’. I was just a little kid who really liked sitting in front of my television playing games with my friends. Then one day I went over to my friend’s house and we played Ocarina of Time together, and it was like a light switched on. I didn’t know anything about Zelda, but I knew I had to keep playing that game. So I did, I kept playing, and six years later I finished it, almost the same chronological time it took Link in the game to rescue Hyrule. Along the way I bought more games from the Zelda series, and I became entranced by each and every one of them (okay, maybe not Freshly-Picked Tingle’s Rosy Rupeeland).

Honestly, it’s difficult to classify what makes a classic a classic. Some people say it is the test of time. Does OoT pass that test? Well, the graphics are outdated, the audio is charming but old, and the physics can sometimes screw up, especially with dungeon walls. But its story, the story I’ve just explained and analyzed for you, I really think that’s what keeps people coming back to this game. It’s not the fancy colors or motion-captured imagery like the next generation of game design, but rather a timeless story that can be enjoyed by newcomers and veterans alike. And it’s one you want to relive again and again.

A contemporary example of the kind of game OoT is might be Fable. Both are action-oriented, but I think Fable fails in comparison, not because of the much more mature nature of its story or how much more intricate the character development is… Link is a different kind of protagonist. You learn through him to love the world that he inhabits, and are infused with his desire to protect it. Conversely, in Fable the quests revolve around the path your character takes, so it becomes a very character-oriented perspective, almost to the degree of narcissism. Link is a person utterly devoid of narcissism, so focused is he with helping others not for himself but for the greater good. I believe that people who love OoT see themselves in this and resonate with Link. We all want to help our fellow man, one way or another, but the selfless nature of the Zelda series’ protagonist strikes true in many.

  • Luisa

    Ah, OoT brings so many childhood memories… Best game ever, not only in terms of sentimental value. The storyline and everything, it boarders perfection. Oh how I wish Nintendo would make a remake of this game with graphics in TP style.
    This review is made of pure win, and I admire you for managing to stay awake for so long! But I should also thank you for writing this. It brought back many, many good memories. OoT will last forever.

  • a zelda trapped in a link’s body

    hey does anybody remember sinister? no? ok well I’m back and as the name I left suggests I’m going through some “changes” well I will be some time within six months (hmm wonder why I just did that…. oh well…) if anyone thinks they are like me respond to this comment and I’ll get back to you, now then that I’ve weirded a few people out I beleive I can speak for all those individuals of this generation within the community I have entered is that ocarina of time is certainly one of the best video games ever made I’d say second to final fantasy seven and if noone agrees with that I can assure you that sephiroth with the triforce is the most terrifying thing imaginable, though don’t get me wrong ganondorf is an ok villain, and honestly I don’t know who is a better hero in comparing link and cloud.

  • Best game ever made, end of story. Also the game that gave inspiration to the creation of this very website.

  • kate

    the u.s. naruto website is going to start showing dubbed episodes of naruto shippuuden in january!!!!!!

    • so? we’re talking about OoT here, not naruto episodes.

  • Feere Gorone

    A beautifully written tribute to a great video game. As I said commenting on Lefty’s article, I was only four when OoT was released so the first time I played it it wasn’t as difficult as older gamers will remember. Still, it captivated me and entertained me, and it’s one of the best damn games I’ve ever played.
    And kate: What???

  • a zelda trapped in a link’s body

    you know what would be great?
    ocarina of time DS
    come on they did it for ff iv and soon v as expected and as someone in the game hints at so in other words… please nintendo, ocarina DS and maybe majora’s mask or… a link to the past… with ocarina of time’s graphics on the DS… oh so many ideas… (insert maniacle feminine laughter… stupid male form…)

  • Average Gamer

    Barinade’s a tumor, not Jabu-Jabu’s brain.

    Great review, though I really think you should have done this in advance so you wouldn’t lose sleep and have to rush this.

  • King Valhelhelm

    Ah, Pfft.
    Wind Waker and Twilight Princess were better.

    • Teacher

      you fail…
      the wind waker was ground breaking in size and scope but you never really connected with that link and twilight princess was a disappointment. OoT really made the player feel connected to Hyrule, Link, and all his encounters. the story was top notch, and the emotions the game provoked were stunning seeing as it was made in 1998. i just want to say that i disagree with you and your opinion sucks, it isn't valid, and no one cares about your existence anymore. have a nice day.

  • a zelda trapped in a link’s body

    HERESY!!!!! I beleive this speacks for anyone who reads your comment, pfft? PFFT? tww is paled in comparison to ocarina now though my ranting may suggest otherwise I actually do have a life so I will not argue and let the other old school gamers rip you into peices (insert maniacle feminine laughter…. stupid male body)

  • Andy

    I just finished reading the review, and I thought it was very detailed and insightful! I used to play OoT when I was little, and reading this brought back a lot of memorable moments, like the death of the Great Deku Tree. Kudos for you! I would also like to note that your humour and extensive use of vocabulary was top-notch! As for the person who said “Pfft”, I’m going to shred you into pieces!!1!!!

  • a zelda trapped in a link’s body

    nicely done andy… ha ha ha (insert maniacle feminine laughter… stupid male body…)…. (yes that is sort of my thing….)

  • tendorphin

    This was a great game, and a great review. The only thing I feel you looked over was the story of the creation of Hyrule. That cinematic was, for me, the point of no return. I have, since about 2 years of age, romped in the lands of Hyrule. However, up until this point, it was just a virtual place on my tv screen. I loved it, don’t get me wrong. I have always been in love with Hyrule, but after seeing the creation. The care the goddesses took to make everything, and their selves that they gave up to give it the life they so desired was immensely immersive for me. The fact that Miyamoto, and the others, went to the lengths to give us this background which was wholly unnecessary to the plot (except for connecting us more with Hyrule, as you have stated) filled me with awe. It was that point which I realized this wasn’t just a story. It was a world which the creators loved, and wished for me to love as well.

  • Have a very happy new year 🙂

  • bidaman

    oh man! you didnt have to walk all the way from hyrule foeld just to get saria's song.. you just have to burn the bomb blocking the way in goron city.. use a deku stick for this and you'd be fine.

  • Zarco

    I am so angry… it won't let me get to any of the other pages! I can't read it- anyone know why/how to fix?

  • Erik

    I'm having the same problem as Zarko… does anyone know how to solve this?

  • Oh my goodness! an amazing article dude. Thank you Nonetheless I’m experiencing concern with ur rss . Don’t know why Unable to subscribe to it. Is there anyone getting similar rss downside? Anybody who knows kindly respond. Thnkx

  • kek12

    This was my favorite game from my childhood and I actually just replayed it recently! Still great! Awesome review!!!!

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