The Legend of Zelda: A Bananaowns’ Retrospective – Part 1
A few weeks ago Nintendo managed to get me to do something amazing. For the first time in my life, I actually preordered a console. They increased my already high enthusiasm for a game that I have wanted to play since it was first announced; a game that somehow managed to signify the death of one console and the birth of a new one. Despite having some interesting games, I did not purchase a Wii U. It was lacking that game that I was waiting for; a game from a series that I believe does not have a single main entry that can be categorized as anything less than amazing.
Every gamer has a list of series that they love. Personally, my favorites include Halo, Elder Scrolls, Pokémon, Super Smash Brothers, and Dark Souls. However, there is one series that towers above the rest. No matter how long it has been, I always seems to come back to play these games that I have played time and time again. Based on the title of this article, it is obvious that I am talking about The Legend of Zelda. The lack of an original Zelda title was the only reason I did not purchase a Wii U. While the console had an HD remake of Wind Waker and an HD re-master of Twilight Princess, there was a lack of a new Zelda to play on the system. I love this series so much that I would literally buy a console to play the new installment.
The latest Breath of the Wild trailer induced me to preorder a Nintendo Switch. In this day and age of gamer cynicism, it has been rare for me to get this passionate and excited for a game. However, this is a new game in my favorite series of all time and Nintendo has not let me down yet when it comes to The Legend of Zelda. So to celebrate the upcoming release of Breath of the Wild, I wanted to make a long-form article talking about some my best experiences with the series. I would like to cover the entire series at some point, but for now, I will stick with the main 3D games. Of course, I will talk about my excitement for Breath of the Wild at the end of this gargantuan piece. Let us get started with a look at the first Zelda game I have ever played.
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
Ocarina of Time was my first introduction into the magical world of Hyrule and remains one of my favorite games of all time. At this point, I own it on the N64, GameCube, Virtual Console, and 3DS. I still can remember my frustrations with simply trying to get this game. In what will become increasingly common as this piece progresses, my poor mother had to endure a very impatient and young Bananaowns as he waited for FedEx to deliver his game. The experience of waiting for Ocarina of Time has created an extreme hatred of FedEx that persists to this day, but once I got my hands on the game, it was worth the wait.
The game was a literal adventure that played upon the fantasies that every kid has dreamed about. The basic plot of the game was about rescuing the kingdom from evil. It was pretty much a game version of the imaginative scenarios my friends and I created when we were young. I was hooked from the very start. Link’s awakening in Kokiri Forest provided the perfect training ground for my young mind to begin to fully comprehend the experience. The first acts of getting the Kokiri sword and then immediately attempting to save a poisoned Great Deku Tree, started off an adventure that would last a lifetime. Up until this point, I had primarily been delegated to playing my sister’s NES. I had no idea what games were truly capable of. To this day I still remember calling my mom to have her look at just how big Hyrule Field was. It was my first experience with a game that was actually big.
I continued on my crusade through the early dungeons until I finally reached that life-altering moment when you finally get your hands on the Master Sword. I expected the game to be over at that point, but Link ended up becoming an adult and in my young eyes, the game became more serious. This wasn’t just a quest to collect the Spiritual Stones; it was a quest to fight the embodiment of evil. On top of that, Adult Link was freaking cool. The swordplay seemed more serious, the world got smaller with the inclusion of Epona, and the character got my personal favorite weapon, the bow. I continued along my meandering and somehow managed to hit the roadblock that everyone seems to talk about: the freaking Water Temple.
I was stuck on that dungeon for weeks. Seeing this, my mom ended up purchasing a strategy guide in order to placate my frustration. I still have that same guide to this day. It’s worn and held together by scotch tape, but it started my love of collecting Zelda strategy guides. With this newfound help, I managed to plow through the rest of the game with some minor setbacks. The Shadow Temple’s dark theme gave my five year old self nightmares, but that was quickly forgotten once I was able to cross the arduous desert to reach the Spirit Temple.
It also turned out that the cool ninja that helped Link in his quest was also Princess Zelda in disguise. This revelation blew my young mind and before I knew it, I was fighting Ganondorf in the ultimate battle of good and evil. I will always remember what it was like to beat Ganondorf and escape the castle with Zelda, only to have Ganon rise up from the rubble. The Master Sword was knocked out of Link’s hand, but I was ready for this. My younger self had to save Hyrule at all costs. Taking on that monster was my finest gaming moment at the time. The image is still fresh in my mind of that Friday afternoon. I was sitting in my tiny bedroom, watching Zelda and Link talk in the clouds on my CRT. It was at this moment that I was a fan for life.
Ocarina of Time was a fantastic way for me to be introduced to the series. It created a sense of adventure in me that could only be replicated by another Zelda game. It has been almost twenty years since my first viewing of Link being awoken by Navi and my love for the series has not diminished. Think about that for a second. Almost two decades worth of fandom was created by just playing one game. I believe that says a significant amount about the quality of Ocarina of Time. It remains not only one of my favorite games, but is considered to be one of the best games of all time. It would be a few years before I had my next comparable experience, albeit this time on a new console.