True adventure, I feel, is becoming an endangered species in our modern age. With satellites roaming the skies and instant access to the globe via the internet, there seems to be very little left to be discovered by the everyday man nowadays. We do, however, live in the golden age of story-telling, with movies offering ever more realistic looking worlds, that at last begin to match the images books have been conjuring behind our eyes for centuries. But I believe that the modern adventurer is blessed with an even greater medium for exploration — video games.
The first time we turn on a video game, take that controller in hand, and assume the role of our chosen protagonist, we are closer to a foreign universe than ever before. We’re given a freedom to explore, to meet with weird and wonderful inhabitants and even make changes to a world that, to us, is wholly new and undiscovered. We’re offered a level of immersion that movies and books will never be able to offer and truly, it is incredible.
There have been so many moments in gaming that have left me giddy with the excitement of discovering new lands and new mysteries. Of course, as Zelda fans, we’ve been offered the opportunity to explore some fantastic worlds through the years — from the flooded Hyrule depicted in The Wind Waker, to the twisted land of reflection that is Lorule, the cloud covered town of Skyloft and everything in between.
For me, no other moment matches the sheer wonder of a new journey as when I walked Link out onto Hyrule Field for the first time in Ocarina of Time. Looking back, I remember feeling that something huge was in front of me; that this moment was the beginning of something incredible and enormous. Hyrule Field felt like it was acres across and the sense of scale was only broadened as the sun crept across the sky and day turned into night, giving the impression that you had been roaming the land for days on end. As I explored, I found stone relics that I didn’t understand, terrifying and gigantic creatures that chased me across the plain and paths to places only the most bold and intrepid adventure might tread. The mountains and rivers and forests held a host of secrets just waiting to be discovered by someone curious and canny enough.
I also remember clearly the moment I was in the perfect place at the perfect time, stumbling upon the Princess Ruto’s bottled note in the shallows of Lake Hylia before Navi had even steered me to the south. It was a complete coincidence but one that gave me the feeling that this world was truly living and breathing and reacting to my actions. I got such a buzz from that moment of discovery that I’ll never forget it.
In hindsight, I realise now that the scale of Ocarina wasn’t nearly as grand as it had felt, but then, that’s the beauty of an adventure — getting caught up and swept along with the sheer joy of it.
This is a Throwback Thursday column that was strangely inspired more by the future of Zelda than the past.
Having been lucky enough to get my hands on Breath of the Wild at the recent Nintendo Switch premiere event, I was again met with that same feeling of being dwarfed by the land and the possibilities laid out before me. There was a wave of nostalgia followed by a real desire to strike out on my own and discover the battered remnants of this sprawling, forgotten kingdom. Nintendo have rekindled the sense of adventure from games gone by and supersized it, and I cannot wait!
They say that “those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it”, but in this case, is repeating history such a bad thing? Absolutely not!
Bring on the adventure, I say.