The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time is undeniably one of the greatest video games ever created. First released on the Nintendo 64 (N64) in 1998, it was developed and published by Nintendo and was the first 3D entry in The Legend of Zelda series. Now, twenty years later, I wish to celebrate this title by discussing it and how it inspired me to become a writer.
Ocarina of Time was a ground-breaking title at the time of its release. It was one of the first open world games where a player could ride a horse, explore secrets, and participate in side-quests. Its main quest, however, is the real prize. Players take Link, the playable protagonist, through numerous dungeons, each one unique to its region, travel through time between the present and future, all as part of the epic quest to saving Zelda, Princess of Hyrule, from the hands of Ganon.
My introduction to this game came sometime in the late 1990s-early 2000s. The N64 was the family game console and my parents had bought the game cheap from Blockbuster. I spent countless hours of my childhood exploring the world of Hyrule, attempting to rescue Princess Zelda, all the while going fishing and looking for secret caves. For a younger me, its wide-open world, engaging narrative, and many secrets were what kept making me return to it and what kept inspiring me.
Ocarina of Time started the fire that made me want to be a writer. Some of my earliest fiction works were fanfictions of the game, all of which containing my own unique, original spin on the game. I had even started to imagine my own versions of Hyrule, each one with a unique storyline and style.
There was one aspect of the game though that really fuelled my growing imagination: a group of enemies called ReDeads. ReDeads are zombies that are nothing more than skeletal beings with browned skin, a mask-like face, and the power to paralyse and suck the life from Link. Hearing their low-pitched moans in a dungeon always made my hairs stand on end and frightened me enough sometimes not progress any further. The terror of them continued beyond the game, into my nightmares. It’s in my mind that they were suddenly more frightening and powerful, a trope which later made me fall in love with zombies and the horror genre.
Although aged in contrast to its successors in the series, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time is still a fantastic game. It’s the game that inspired me to be a writer and fall in love with hideous creatures of the night. Its narrative and storytelling still remain engaging 20 years on and hopefully will continue to inspire people to become writers for years to come.
For anyone who’s interested in video game writing, wanting to play an inspiring game, or just want to play a great game for 2018, then go play Ocarina of Time. If you want an updated experience of this game which is gorgeous to look at and play, pick up the remake of the game on Nintendo 3DS. If you want that same experience I had, but on a modern console, it’s available on Wii U Virtual Console for about $15AUD. If you have neither a Wii U nor 3DS, you can pick up the original N64 cartridge, or the special edition of The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker on Nintendo GameCube where it’s an extra disc. These options may be more expensive due to their age and increasing rarity.
Words by Cameron Lowe.