I made it a full twenty-four years without playing a single Zelda game. This is through almost through no fault of my own. Like so many in my reviled generation, I shift the blame to my parents for purchasing me a Sony Playstation as my first console.
I recently purchased a Nintendo 3DS to rectify this situation, noting I could play almost all of the classic core Zelda titles on this wonderful machine. I started with the oft recommended A Link to the Past, slaying Ganon on a hot October day in my buddy’s apartment in Savannah. I relished the gorgeous art, addictive exploration, and gratuitous use of the save state system provided to me by the 3DS version of the SNES classic. Hey, I’m not twelve anymore. I have things to do.
It wasn’t until Breath of the Wild was released that I got the Zelda itch again. It looked like My Kind of Game: one that put gameplay and exploration up front, with minimal interference between me and the game world. It looked like it not only reinvented the series, but was a huge leap forward for commercial game design in 2017. (Frankly, I would argue this is more of a decent look backwards at the heyday of immersive sims, but that’s talk for another time.) It’s this same committal to reinvention that Nintendo seems to be continuing with Mario Odyssey that actually got me excited about the Switch, and one that I hope will justify my purchase in a month or two.
In the meanwhile, I’ve decided to go back and play some more of the core series. I’m doing this for a few reasons. One, I’ve never played Ocarina of Time and it’s probably about damn time I did. Secondly, Majora’s Mask actually sounds like another one of My Kind of Games: one that throws convention to the wind in favor of experimenting with game design in fantastic ways. Thirdly, I want to experience Breath of the Wild as the next step in this cherished series, not necessarily on its own merits. I want to get the in-jokes and references. I want to feel a part of the Zelda community. I want to share in the relief that Nintendo knows how to handle these long-standing monumental franchises that I so often thought were symptoms of stagnation rather than innovation.
And so, I booted up the Ocarina of Time 3DS remake last night and spent my first forty minutes looking for a goddamn sword.
I’m not far enough in to pass any sort of judgment at the moment, but I do have some stray thoughts. Namely:
- I hardly ever turn the 3D effect on, but when I do it is surprisingly immersive.
- I’m concerned about not experiencing the Water Temple as it has been recounted to me. Should frustration, as it was originally baked into a game, be held as a right of passage?
- That fucking fairy is going to be annoying, isn’t she?
- I’m a little concerned with the controls of the 3DS version so far. Locking and blocking are going to take some practicing. I’m not sure if my hands are too big for the already plus sized 3DS XL or what, but pushing L and R is uncomfortable.