Perhaps the greatest thing about being a kid is how oftentimes things seem larger than life. Your imagination will go into overdrive and fill in blanks that aren’t even there, and worlds will manifest themselves as a result. This same phenomenon is what happened to me when I played Ocarina of Time for the first time as a kid. Everything was so new and so unique. The world felt truly large in a way that I could only describe to you from the imagination of my 8-year-old self.
One of the key moments of grandeur that I felt when playing the game occurred very early on: When I first met the Great Deku Tree.
Ocarina of Time was first released in Japan on November 21, 1998. This month, we celebrate the 20th anniversary of one of the most beloved games of all time. Two decades on, Ocarina of Time is still widely regarded as not only the pinnacle of The Legend of Zelda series but as one of the greatest achievements in video game history. Throughout Ocarina Month, we’re going to be looking back on the game that shaped childhoods, defined the action-adventure genre, and introduced a generation to how magical exploring a 3D world could be.
Yuga’s Art Gallery is a series in which we highlight our favorite artwork from The Legend of Zelda community, as well as some official artwork from the franchise from time to time. Zelda is a series that is constantly changing its style, and after over 30 years of evolving and shifting its visuals, it continues to inspire endless ways for artists to interpret their favorite characters and moments.
From the opening cinematic to the constant talk of his importance from the Kokiri, the Great Deku Tree already seemed to be an imposing figure. I’d already gotten a glance of him and was excited while being a little nervous at what meeting him would be like. When the time finally came, I was in awe. For the first time, I experienced something that I almost couldn’t fathom thanks in large part to Ocarina of Time being a 3D game. From his status as a sort-of father figure to the Kokiri to his use of old English, the Great Deku Tree always stuck out in my mind because of his stature.
I hadn’t thought about these memories until I saw this piece called “The Great Deku Tree Fanart” by DeviantArt user jbrown67. Everything about this piece encapsulates the word “breathtaking.” From the amazing usage of colors to create a mystifying atmosphere to the wonderful perspective that gives a great sense of scale, this is a piece I could stare at for hours and never grow tired of it. I also enjoy the creative liberties taken with this piece such as the inclusion of puddles of water, giving it a bit of a different feel that wasn’t in the area from the game.
The scale of this piece is also impressive; it gives a great feeling of how Link most likely felt looking up at the Deku Tree as he tells Link of his important quest and his ultimate destiny. This is an important scene that sets off the entire game, and this piece gives that feeling of grandeur and a feeling of something more important than even Link could have imagined when he was summoned to meet the Deku Tree on that fateful day.
Art has an amazing way of reminding us of a feeling or a memory we may have locked away or simply forgotten. From the simplest things to the most contrived of feelings, art can achieve great things. What jbrown67’s piece did for me was remind me of a feeling I had as a child I had since forgotten. I’ve been so used to the sights of Ocarina of Time that I had forgotten why I loved it so much as a child. His artwork of the Deku Tree reminded me of the awe I felt all that time ago, and I like to think perhaps he felt the same way when he encountered this scene for the first time as well. I have a newfound appreciation for something I hadn’t had in a long time, and I’ve got jbrown67 and his art to thank for reminding me of a long-lost feeling.