My story of The Legend of Zelda.
So this is a topic inspired by a recent event where I found myself crying at something that triggered some very deep emotions. To be honest I never realized how important this was to me until I recently had this surge of feelings wash over me. It was in fact the 25th year Anniversary of the Legend of Zelda game universe last year, 2011. And if you think about it, I'm only a year older than that game franchise, so that thing has quite literally been with me my entire life.
Watching this right here still makes me tear up even today.
First off though, I would like to avoid anyone thinking "awwww" or "loser fishing for sympathy" because quite honestly, I accept the way things worked out and even if it wasn't necessarily an overly happy childhood, as a result it is what has made me the person I am today, as a good example we have the fact that all those movies and all that tv has made me get a pretty near perfect English. Most people think it's because I am English, but I lived in Norway all my life growing up so yeah. Also my parents always spoke Norwegian to me.
Anyways, so I was a relatively unpopular guy growing up, I didn't have many friends, I was bullied in school, and the highlight of my day was actually coming home from school, sitting down watching tv shows, movies and playing videogames on our Nintendo. At this point we only had the original Mario, eventually super mario and a few other games. So most of my days were spent watching tv/movies/playing nintendo.
You get the picture.
Skip forward a few years here and I had gotten quite comfortable in my "miserable" existence.
I had a good life outside of school. I had a few friends I visited ever so often, mostly to play games with because we didn't have that much money growing up so we couldn't afford many new games, which ties in to the next part of my story.
So my mother at some point eventually buckled under the pressure of us kids harassing her for a Nintendo 64. We were tasked with finding a cheap one, used. And we being extremely motivated did indeed find a local girl that was selling her N64 plus one game, Yoshi, My sister especially loved this. She played for many many hours. Now keep in mind this was at the time the only game we had on the N64. Eventually we managed to harass our mother into buying a few more games for the system. My mother, brother and sister went to the shopping mall without me and came home with 007 Goldeneye and The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (OOT).
I hadn't ever heard of Zelda before so I kindoff got pissed at the fact that they didn't get the game we had previously agreed on. Honestly I can't even remember what game that was now. Regardless, I thought 007 Goldeneye was AWESOME. I mean you were an AGENT and you had all kinds of awesome GUNS and Gadgets like the laser watch-thingy! I played it for many, many, many hours and completed the campaign a whole bunch of times. I played so much multiplayer with my brother and friends that they all eventually got tired of me beating them all the time.
Keep in mind that all this is what made me happy, beating other people in 007 Goldeneye was a very good feeling for me. At this time I didn't really have much of anything, if anything that made me feel good about myself except this, right? I went to school, came home and just sat in playing games. I really didn't have much of a life outside of the pixels.
So as the story goes, I eventually started playing OOT progressively more and more, I remember thinking it was a cool fun game, but at this point I hadn't even finished the Deku Tree (first dungeon). I remember being stuck at one point in the game, where at the bottom of said dungeon there was a huge cobweb covering a hole in the ground down the center of the tree which you couldn't get through. But at the top of the tree there were these jumping platforms, type of diving boards. So eventually I figured out that if you took a running jump off of one of these platforms you would fall down on to the cobwebs and break it, unlocking the downstairs area of the dungeon.
As I fell down and fell into a puddle of water I found an entire new area, and in this place there wasn't much of anything. There was a door covered in cobwebs that I quite honestly must have spent well over a week trying to figure out how to get past. I slashed it with a sword from every angle, I rolled into it, I smacked this wooden stick I had at it, threw deku nuts and shot it with a slingshot, nothing worked at freaking all. I got frustrated and gave up. So a few days later I was at a store, I remember specifically it was this video-rent store that my friends family ran and they had these huge collections of videogame magazines, all glossy and fancy, cost a freaking fortune for poor little me, and you know on the top row you had these fancy glossy magazines with interesting stuff on the cover with these nice big ..letters. If you know what I mean ;)
Anyways, I took a look at these gaming magazines and saw that one of them had a The Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time Strategy guide. I almost jizzed in my pants as I saw that but then immediately got super sad because I had no money to get it. Anyways, I picked it up, and remember this was all covered in this plastic so I couldn't open it. But I picked it up, and looked on the back, and you know what I saw?
I saw Link (the main character in the Zelda games) holding one of those wooden sticks with flames at the tip of it. And then it dawned on me, how the freaking hell could I have been so stupid? There was a brazier/torch thingy in that room on the other platform!
So I immediately ran home, got out my Deku Stick and put the tip of it to the flame.
It caught fire. I was ecstatic!
I jumped across the little platforms and climbed on to the one with the cobwebbed door, put the fiery end of the stick to the cobwebs and watched the flames engulf that horrible cobweb I had been struggling with for like 10 freaking days! Now I had never before played a Zelda game, and I can imagine since this was the first 3D Zelda game I can imagine I'm not the only one not used to thinking in this way. But after that single revelation I pretty much finished the entire game singlehandedly. I just needed to learn how to think and what to look for.
But I'm skipping ahead here.
So I finished up the Deku Tree (first dungeon) got the first magical stone thingy.
I left the first area and came in to a hallway type of thing.
Out of nowhere an Owl started taking to me, sitting just on the edge of this next area.
Man, that freaking Owl. NO I do not want to hear all that again. Freaking Owl.
If you don't get that inside gag, try looking it up if you're interested.
So, I finished up talking to that owl after failing like, 3 times in a row and getting slightly annoyed. I walked forward and the camera panned up and gave me a view of the entire Hyrule Field. It played the Hyrule Field theme epically loud and I just sat there gaping. I swear. I could feel my jaw hitting the floor in pure awe. This was unlike anything I had ever even dreamed of before. This game was so massively huge. I was guided to the Map Screen and I could see how huge this world really was.
I hadn't looked in my inventory status screen much before now but there I could clearly see that I had one stone out of the three I needed. I could also see that I would eventually have to collect a whole freaking ton of these Medallion thingies that I would get one from each dungeon. There were 6 of them, in addition to the three stones. I also saw there were three different types of Tunics (clothes), shields, gloves, accessories out the wazoo and other cool items. This game was HUGE. each single item had at least 4 different types of uses.
This game had such a huge amount of items, secrets, people to talk to, quests to do and a seemingly endless world to explore.
I mean, I dreamed of Zelda. I spent hours looking at a specific puzzle trying to figure out how to open up that damned door. I spent hours just looking around that room, trying out any combination of items on pretty much everything that looked like it was of importance.
I would sometimes even spend days at school just thinking out ways to try to solve certain puzzles. I would come up with a couple different things and tactics that I wanted to try once I got home and I would hurry home after school and try out those new ideas I had.
What I'm trying to say here is that The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time is one of the most important parts of my entire growing up. I really spent about 2-3 years playing that game. Back to back over and over and I would still find secrets I had missed the first times.
I'm just trying to illustrate how important this game was to me.
This videogame was my entire motivation for getting up in the morning for a long period of my life.
One of my greatest wishes in life is to go see PLAY! A Videogame Symphony perform the Legend of Zelda theme live. I would not be able to contain my emotions at such a time.