Notes on Ocarina of Time, Part 5: Seven Years Later

This is a continuation of our Ocarina notes project. You can see all the parts here.
Part 5: Seven Years Later

Perculia: The moment where I first stepped out of the cathedral and saw how the surrounding gardens withered was powerful. It sunk in that the whole world was completely changed and I unwittingly played a part in it, making me feel guilty.

Hamlet: The light/dark world duality was introduced in Link to the Past and reprised here. The world having two layers, a friendly one and a dark one, works very well for the story of this game. We’ll be talking later about how the second act using adult Link is a sort of coming of age for the player as well–going out into a new menacing world, actually alone this time, with the skills you learned in the first act.

P: As for the Temple of Time itself, the classical medieval architecture with the sombre music is quite epic, as well as the presence of the mysterious Sheik. (what’s the backstory with them again–are they an extinct race?) Neat parallel how he gives advice and teaches Adult Link songs, while Impa similarly told Child Link about Kakariko/Death’s Peak and taught the Lullaby.

H: The Sheikah are a new addition in this game. Meant to be some kind of ancient race of protectors of the Royal Family and the Triforce (and you see the ninja-like aesthetic–a bit unusual for Zelda but works well here). Impa is the only one that you knew so far, and now Sheik. We’ll be talking more about him, you can already tell you’ll be seeing more of him. Fun side note: if you look at the adornment on the totally sweet (ahem) collector’s edition 3DS you’re playing on, you’ll see Link’s Ocarina and Sheik’s harp. (P: I noticed this :P )

P: At this point, I have a ton of anxiety–everything is changed, my weapons are greyed out, the mask (which I forgot about, oops) is also greyed out. How am I going to learn more about the guy with the red knapsack in Hyrule Castle Town, or go back and get the Magic Beans by Zora River, or boomerag the first Skulltula off the wall in Dodongo’s Cavern? Even my room of pots is changed.

H: Interesting how intimidated you were by the new world of Adult Link. You actually took a few days’ break at this point before you finally dove into the new world and got your bearings (and got rolling pretty briskly again). I think I was mostly just excited the first time. One thing I had mentioned to you before starting is that Zelda games rarely to never have permanently missable items, one of their really nice design principles. So you don’t have to obsess over finding any possible thing along the way; at each point you can meticulously explore or just plow forwards as you feel like, knowing you can find any secrets later. I wonder if you kept that in mind when you were thinking about the things above. (P: You did mention this, but I wasn’t sure how quickly I’d access the previous world, or if you were just referring to NPCs/shops transplanted like some Hyrule Castle Town ones to Kakariko Village.)

But maybe this says something about not having played non-MMO games before. You’re not used to the idea that the world can actually change.

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Notes on Ocarina of Time, Part 2: Through the Lost Woods

This is a continuation of our Ocarina notes project. You can see all the parts here.

Part 2: Through the Lost Woods

Hyrule Field

Perculia: I initially went to Lon Lon Ranch assuming I’d get a mount (H: well, the title screen does tip you off to the existence of a mount, but you can imagine that the game will make you get more familiar with the world on foot first). Instead, I picked up my first heart piece, had the value of exploration reinforced, and learned a bit more about moving blocks along the way. At this point, I know well enough that Epona’s Song, which seems irrelevant now, will be useful at a later point. I also developed a trend of obsessively rolling into everything–I accidentally rolled into a tree instead of a box, and it rewarded me with another Skulltula, so I got hooked. And while the mini-game to throw chickens seemed unrelated to Zelda’s recent quest, I wanted to practice my puzzle skills and was rewarded with both a bottle and consumable (H: heh). I also enjoyed finding a way to make the mini-game much easier (throwing the normal chickens into a corner away from the prize ones.)

And wow, the world really opened up here. Just running around a vast open green field without any monsters or objectives was freeing.

Hamlet: It’s great that you came up with same way to exploit/circumvent the little chicken minigame that I did when I was a kid.

Hyrule Field is great that way. I think nowadays we look back and it seems drab compared to modern game environments, and it can seem unnecessarily large to run around on foot for an area that’s just a hub. But it actually serves a function in giving a sense of world, and this ties into my earlier remark on the horse. You have to spend some time really in the world and get your hands on different parts of it for a while, before things like a horse let you start to focus on other tasks and move around more quickly. They strike a nice mix though, with things like the shortcuts from Lost Woods to Goron City or Zora’s River preventing too much tedious running. Hyrule Field I think is more carefully designed than it initially appears, to create just this reaction. Also, as you spend your whole game running back and forth across it, you will get increasingly familiar with each path and each odd little landmark. Many hours into the game, you’ll ride past a certain tree or rock in Hyrule Field that you know is always there and that you’ve ridden by a hundred times, and the world is that much more real to you.

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