As I mentioned in my last post, the music and sound design of Ocarina of Time has been an element of the game I have noticed and appreciated more and more the more I play through the game. One interesting phenomenon with the game that I have discovered, however, is that the current near-meme status… Continue reading External Context and Zelda’s Magic Circle
As I mentioned in my last post, the music and sound design of Ocarina of Time has been an element of the game I have noticed and appreciated more and more the more I play through the game. One interesting phenomenon with the game that I have discovered, however, is that the current near-meme status that some of the sound design elements have achieved in gamer and internet culture have altered the associations I make with the sound effects, which alters the feel of the gameplay itself. For instance, I have heard Link’s spin attack yell used as a sample in songs, and have done so myself when making music. The “secret discovery” sound effect is another that I have heard so often in other Zelda games and outside of the context of a video game that I am somewhat dissociated from the game world when I hear it. It makes me wonder if the magic circle created by the rules of the game can eventually be worn away as the game becomes more of a cultural artifact than an immersive gamic experience and the player becomes increasingly distracted from the gamic experience by the constant sonic reminder that they’re playing a Zelda game and not actually exploring the landscape of Hyrule and fighting monsters to rescue the kingdom. To extend this line of thought, I also wonder if this phenomenon may mean that it is impossible to create a convincing magic circle with the continuation of a successful series. As the series gains a following and its own place in gamer/internet/general culture, it becomes impossible to disassociate elements of the game from their appearance outside of the game. Nintendo, however, seems to have wholly embraced the relevance of their games outside the context of the digital video game world, with games like the Super Smash Bros. series creating a context-collapsing post-modern mashup of the most popular Nintendo characters.
The mechanic that I found the most interesting in Ocarina of Time while playing was the day/night cycle that triggers when the player enters certain non-narrative linked areas and the ways this was used to add and alter the content of the game in ways that add depth to the game in a remarkably impressive… Continue reading Messing With Time
The mechanic that I found the most interesting in Ocarina of Time while playing was the day/night cycle that triggers when the player enters certain non-narrative linked areas and the ways this was used to add and alter the content of the game in ways that add depth to the game in a remarkably impressive way for such an early implementation of the mechanic. Searching for some discussion on day/night mechanics in games I stumbled across this reddit thread in the large (700k+ subscriber) /r/gaming subreddit about day/night mechanics in games (https://www.reddit.com/r/Games/comments/24igkc/weekly_rgames_mechanic_discussion_daynight_cycle/). Nintendo games were some of the most frequently referenced in the thread, Zelda and Pokemon being the main two series. Because these were the earliest games referenced in the thread to my knowledge, I was interested in the history of day/night mechanics in games. This led me to this DigitalPress forum thread from 2006 on the subject (http://forum.digitpress.com/forum/showthread.php?89524-First-game-with-a-day-night-cycle). Despite some uncertainty, it seems that the game Red Alert from 1981 is the earliest game mentioned with a day/night mechanic and in-game clock that changes as the player progresses through the game (video of gameplay: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4iHMzi86KuE). Many games use the in-game clock or day/night mechanic to add difficulty during the night-time, with Minecraft being the most notable modern example of this that comes to my mind. In Minecraft the player must try to gather enough resources, weapons, and/or shelter in order to survive the flood of monsters that come when the sun sets. The nighttime and darkness in the game is something the player grows to fear almost as much as the sound of a Creeper about to explode. This seems to be a fairly common experience with day/night mechanics in video games as noted by many of the posters in both threads. Ocarina of Time eschews the notion that the night has to be a bad thing in the game, offering certain night-time-only opportunities to the player like the grave-digging minigame in Kakariko Village.
Having played a lot of Zelda on the Gameboy Advance as a kid (A Link To The Past, Oracle of Seasons/Ages) but very little on any major consoles (my parents never let me have a game console more than the gameboy my grandparents gave me when I was growing up) I was really interested to… Continue reading Zelda Nostalgia
Having played a lot of Zelda on the Gameboy Advance as a kid (A Link To The Past, Oracle of Seasons/Ages) but very little on any major consoles (my parents never let me have a game console more than the gameboy my grandparents gave me when I was growing up) I was really interested to play this game. The puzzle-based game mechanics that I loved in the previous Zelda games I had played were clearly present and apart from a few differing mechanics and graphic differences (the largest being the 3d/2d difference between GBA and Nintendo 64 games) I felt very much at home in the world of Ocarina of Time. I found the ambient nature of the graphics, especially in Kokiri Forest where the player starts, to be very relaxing and nostalgia-inducing at the same time. The music and sound design are the elements of the game that I have been most consistently impressed and awed by, with a music-based puzzle mechanic and music-based story elements fitting perfectly with the atmosphere of the game and story. I can recognize many of the sound effects from both my time playing other Zelda games but also from music and more general recent media, as the sounds in Zelda have become such recognizable cultural artifacts that they’re maybe even more commonly heard in digital media now than when the game was made. From a 2016 retrospective perspective, it’s very impressive to see how many of the Zelda games were constructed in a way that would let them age well. Despite improving graphics, physics engines, audio quality, and general game mechanic and technological improvement, I have found Ocarina of Time incredibly enjoyable to play and personally believe that it is still very much worth playing in 2016.