The Missing Link
Ocarina of Time is perhaps the most loved of all the Zelda series. For a lot of people, it remains the pinnacle of the entire series, the best that Miyamoto & Co. have so far provided. The bulk of the fanfiction that you find out on the web has its roots embedded in Ocarina, and most discussion of history has to include the game somewhere. It’s a general truthhood, a lot like Godwin’s Law, that the longer an online discussion about Zelda becomes, the greater the chances that Ocarina is bound to come up at some point.
The reasons that this game surpassed its predecessors—and overachieved its decendants—are so numerous that it would be virtually impossible to cover them all in a single blog post. Let’s face it; Ocarina was much different than its previous incarnations, and not just because of the 3-D world, either. Most of the reasons have a little bit to do with how much “disk space” they physically had. On the Nintendo 64, Nintendo had a little bit of breathing room (with regards to cartridge sizes) to really expand Hyrule as we knew it. They had the ability to put in a lot of story elements in-game (rather than within the manual) that were largely missing from the earlier Zeldas. Text was an expensive commodity before those days; it’s why we never found out in A Link to the Past that “Zelda is your… …” destiny, and it’s no wonder the original Legend of Zelda had such comments like “EASTMOST PENINSULA IS SECRET”. (At least we can say that it had better English that Zero Wing. Could you imagine it otherwise? The old man would be spouting off, “EAST LAND ARE TREASURE HAPPY”!)
But the advent of expanded text didn’t just bring about gallant strides in plot. Finally, for the first time, we had massive leaps in characterisation of the NPCs. Before Ocarina, the only characters that truly were dynamic entities were Sahasrahla from A Link to the Past and Marin from Link’s Awakening, and some wouldn’t even count the first since technically he mostly only gave hints via telepathy. When Ocarina of Time came to the forefront, suddenly things were much different. You had tons of notable (and named!) characters, each with a very distinct personality. Most of the characters that were fleshed out were of the female variety, and it didn’t take the fans long to notice this, either. We can only be thankful Lou Bega didn’t come out with his smash hit a year earlier or all we’d ever have heard on the forums would be:
A little bit of Saria in my life
When fans weren’t having Link be the Don Juan with all the girls, the rest were arguing senselessly over who the best person for Link was. I actually remember a long time ago fighting in the trenches of the United Sageshipper Army. (That’s Link/Zelda, for those who haven’t heard the term.) Our enemies were the Ranchshipper’s Contingent (Link/Malon), and the ground in between was no man’s land, the place where explosive posts blew up, argumentative rockets were launched, and insults made out of barbed wire rested. Occasionally, you had a third party come in, ready to conquer the world, and for a single blessed moment, the two sides would sign a hasty peace accord, completely decimate the newcomer, and then North and South Vietnam were at it again.
Since then, I’ve grown up… a little bit. And I’ve learned from my mistaken ways. No longer is Malon the hated gal that she used to be. In fact, I see a lot of who I am embodied within Malon: passionate and dedicated worker, loyal and caring friend, idle dreamer, and a believer in true love. (Anyone who makes fun of me for that will get a nice one of these: ) You don’t even need to go all the way to the manga to see it (although it’s much more prevalent there).
But seriously, why is there all the hatred towards all the “competition” in the game? I will admit, not every girl is the ideal match for every fan. Even Miyamoto, perfect as he is, isn’t that perfect. Though I like Nabooru as a character, I certainly don’t see myself marrying a Nabooru lookalike; nevertheless, I’ve come to respect Nabooru as a character (and the entire Gerudo race as a whole, as well). Each character that has come to have a strong personality in the Zelda series, I think, has his or her definite good points and moments. Even Ganondorf has redeemed himself largely from his monologue at the end of Wind Waker. We can argue whether Zelda and Malon is a better love interest for Link until the cows come to Lon Lon Ranch, but with Link being rather secretive of his own emotions, with thousands of potential characterisations for Link, can there honestly ever be a distinct winner?
While shipping wars have long been a mainstay of the modern Zelda community and have been a small force in keeping the community active and interested, I think the time to bury the hatchet is long overdue. It’s not that we shouldn’t ever debate the issue, but I think all of us need to find out that it isn’t bad to have “a little bit of Malon by our sides.”Follow This Entry | Trackback