Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Legend of Juul: Ocarina of Rules

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time is one of the most popular games from the Nintendo 64. Before I start to tear it open using Half-real, let me explain my complicated relationship with this game. OoT (as I'll refer to it now) was released in 1998. This was the first 3D Zelda game, and was treated as it the cartridge was made of actual gold. Everyone was giving it deep praise when I was 7, so I had to be contrary. I did however fall in love with its sequel, but that is a post for another day. This is actually my first play through of Oot, and I am using the original Nintendo 64 version, not any of the remakes.



Now a brief overview of the story (so far....for me). The story takes place in the land of Hyrule, where a variety of beings inhabit a stereotypical region. Gorons, large rock eating miners, live in Death Mountain to the East. Zora, an aquatic race, live within a large lake and control the water. And, most importantly, the Kokiri, a race of forest dwelling elves. Our hero, Link (or whatever name you choose) is considered an oddity in the village because a fairy had not chosen to be his partner. The day you start playing, however, is the day he is chosen by Navi, a fairy that has gained quite the reputation on the internet for being annoying. 


After following her commands to see the Great Deku Tree (A deity/town leader) you find out he has been cursed by a man in black from the desert. After removing the curse and killing the tree in the process, you are sent to talk to the princess of the land, Zelda, with a mysterious stone. As you leave your childhood home, Saria (A close friend) gives you her Ocarina. You go across Hyrule field to the Hyrule Castle, where the Hylians live. They are essentially the same as Kokiri, just less Christmas elf and more fantasy elf. After sneaking into the Castle. You discover that Zelda has had prophetic dreams about you and this man visiting, Ganondorf. He is the leader of the Gerudo tribe of the desert. Oddly enough is in all black. For now let's assume he is the villain. Zelda reveals he is after the Triforce, the symbol of the three goddesses and an artifact of great power. The only way he could get this is if he opens the Temple of Time. So you must stop him by collecting Three gems from the natives and opening the Temple yourself. The mysterious stone given to you by the dying Deku is in fact one of the three. 


This sends you on a quest through the Goron mountains. They will only give you the stone after you empty their mine of monsters. The creatures showed up after Ganondorf visited. They give you gem and send you on your way. Then you visit the Zora, whose deity fish, Lord Jabu-Jabu, has been acting funny since Ganondorf visited.My money is still on him being the villain. After some investigation, you convince the king of the Zora to give you the stone after you save his daughter from Jabu-Jabu's belly. And that is currently where I am in the game. For a brief summary, that felt lengthy. 



Juul has his six game features he uses for his definition of a game.

1)Games are rule based - OoT follows this very well. You cannot go to one region until you have some item from the previous. Day and Night determine who and what is wandering the land of Hyrule. There are clear dimensions to the world.

2) Variable outcomes: At the same time, at no point do you have to go to the next region. You can go enjoy games of chance within the castle of Hyrule. You can go visit a farm. And in similar fashion, you don't have to collect all the items and equipment. There are heart pieces that increase your health. A common "Challenge" players put on themselves is a play through obtaining no health upgrades. 

3) outcomes have values: This is where things get foggy. You can argue the game is more difficult without collecting more and doing more in the game. But the only real "score" given to the game is the number of "Game overs" you obtained before you beat the game.

4) Player Effort: The challenge of OoT is amazing. There are puzzles that affect your spatial thinking. There are challenges of timing within the combat. The question of "Do I use bombs here, or my slingshot." It is also partially Nintendo's hardware design. The N64 cotnroller has three hand placement spots, a trigger, two shoulder buttons, a control pad, and the world's first analog stick. This is not only complex (even to someone who grew up with this system) but almost painful to use too long. This wouldn't be much of an issue, but OoT sometimes requires precises movement (Across a thin rope, or running across a collapsing platform.) and occasionally this early control stick can jut the wrong direction, even on an unused, pristine controller. 

5) Player attached to outcome: This game sets you off on a mission to save a kingdom. This isn't the most creative push for a protagonist, but the variety of characters you meet is what gets you attached. The leader of the Gorons, "Big Brother", has a rough exterior but is emotionally distraught when you meet him. The people of Hyrule all have their characteristic, be it a sleepy shop keep or a worried Cuckoo (chicken) owner. I was attached to the world before I made it to the second town.

6) Negotiable consequences: The game has no consequences outside of the world of the game. Other than the possibility of strain from the controller, but as I said, Hardware is nothing you can blame OoT on. 




No comments:

Post a Comment