How the Ocarina of Time broke my heart forever

Legend of Zelda, Ocarina of Time ocarina playing

It also introduced annoying “music” that you were supposed to play.

I never finished Ocarina of Time. That is correct. I would like to say that I love Legend of Zelda, but…I guess I don’t. My interest gradually eroded right around that time, and even though I was thoroughly excited to see it released, and I desperately wanted to play, I just couldn’t get all that into it. Much of the problem was that my brother was playing it all the time and I barely got a turn. So there.

But years later, I went back to play, and had plenty of time before a new job started, during which I figured I’d just play Ocarina of Time. I didn’t have much else going on, and I breezed through quite a few levels pretty quickly. With the walkthrough, of course.

Don’t shake your head at me. Yeah, I used the walkthrough. You know how long it takes to get through that thing without the walkthrough? Goddamn.

For the most part, I was using it for the sake of completion. I wanted all the items, and all the heart containers, and I wouldn’t be satisfied with just half the special stuff by the time I got to the end. I had to have it all. All I say!

The breaking point, however, was when I reached a certain milestone, where I was supposed to have 50 Gold Skulltulas. I had 49. And I just stopped playing. That was it. Really.

Now I know what you’re thinking. Um, really? Missing just one? All that’ll mean is you’ll miss just one item. You can still play the whole rest of the game! You can enjoy 99.9% of this massively complicated, expertly crafted action adventure masterpiece and merely subtract the one item that you’ll miss as a result of missing a single Gold Skulltula!

Yeah, yeah. I get it. But I just couldn’t continue. No extra life for me. It was all over.

My problem with the Zelda series is that it doesn’t really reward “exploration,” as it claims to. It rewards foreknowledge. If you want the heart container, you have to dig around forever, or get lucky, or look at the walkthrough. If I wanted an exploration game, shouldn’t there be some way to let me adventure without needing to dig around for stuff and find it? Isn’t there a better way?

What I thought would be the solution was Chrono Cross, but even that “open ended” game had “correct” decisions all over the place, and that’s just stupid. I want to be able to play a game where there’s no right or wrong answer, but merely an alteration of circumstances, so you can’t get annoyed that you did something “wrong.”

So with Ocarina of Time, I just got annoyed that the game designers chose to reward players who played tediously. It’s not “fun” looking for all those heart containers. It’s not even exploration. It’s research. And dammit, that’s not why I signed up.

So I guess I don’t like Legend of Zelda. Or, I suppose, maybe that’s why I liked Legend of Zelda II, until it broke my heart. I just like things a little more lively, and a little less walkthrough-y. Maybe someday they’ll do something a little more like that.

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