Now I know that's hardly "stop the press!" news but I just wanted to tell you about my experience of the game, and possibly my greatest Christmas ever.
Article by Andy Carrick
1998 was a great year, There was a World Cup (England disappointed),
Sunderland got to the play off final (again, disappointment) but more
than that it was the first year I spent with the N64 after buying it
the previous November. I played loads of games that year but
everything was geared towards Christmas and the release of Zelda OOT
I remember the hype being massive with tv commercials, and huge magazine
features showing more and more of this huge game every issue until I
could barely wait. I lived in quite a small town and there were 3
options for buying games back then, Woolworth's, Boots and an
independent called Game Nation so I pre-ordered it in all 3 shops just
to make sure and began the countdown.
The game was finally released on 11/12/1998 and my then girlfriend
dropped me off at work at 07:30 then went to Woolworth's to queue in
the rain for the 8am opening. I needn't have worried, she was the only
person in the queue and the first to buy the game. I came home later
that night to find it wrapped, and covered with so much sellotape that
there was no way I could sneak it open, sitting under the Christmas
There it was, sitting in plain sight for two weeks until Christmas
Day, or that's the way the story is supposed to go, but disaster
struck a few day later, we were burgled and all of our things, and
Christmas presents were taken, N64 and games included. I'll not go
into how horrible the experience was. I'll fast forward to Christmas
Day and after waking up we went to my parents for breakfast. I wasn't
in the mood for presents but everyone was super excited to see me open
mine, they had only bought me a new N64! Even though the insurance
would be replacing it within a couple of months I'd been given the
Goldeneye N64 combo pack, this was awesome.
After breakfast (and many thank you's) we went to my girlfriends parents for lunch, and there were even more surprises, they'd replaced ISS98 and Mario64, this was too much.
Mood lifted we departed for home. I set up the Nintendo and was ready
to put in one of the games when my girlfriend had one more surprise.
Unbeknown to me I wasn't trusted not to open the game under the tree
so she's taken the cart out and hidden it, and it wasn't taken, the
Christmas miracle was complete! I didn't play it that night but opted
to wait till I had some proper time with it and finally turned it on at 19:00 Boxing Day night.
It was everything I hoped it would be and more, from the intro, to
exploring kokiri forest, the death of the deku tree to the 1st steps
onto hyrule field I drank in every single moment. The controls were
perfect, in fact they still are perfect to this day, and although the
graphics haven't aged so well at the time they were amazing. It was a
whole new experience for me to be able to go wherever I could see. See
that castle, you can visit, see that mountain in the distance, why not
climb it, there's a ranch, I wonder who lives there.
The whole world was filled with amazing characters that I genuinely
cared about at the time and I wanted to help, not only to save their
world, but also the mundane little tasks too, like finding a lost dog,
or buying happy masks, or making eye medicine for a giant goron. Lots
of games in the past have had an ice level or desert level but this
game felt like real races of people living in far flung corners of a
fully functional world, a tribe of warrior women in the desert, or
rock people living in the mountains and I wanted to help them all.
I even like navi, and appreciated her little "hey, listen!" When I was
lost in a dungeon, or trekking across a field at night. In fact the
only character I didn't like was that owl. He used to annoy the life
out of me, taking ages to tell me some useless facts that I'd get
bored reading so I'd spam the A button, only to press yes when he
asked if I wanted to hear his annoying voice again!
In a pre YouTube age the game took me 4 months to complete and it
never left my N64 once. I scoured magazines for tips and had to
eventually buy a guide book when I spent a whole week lost in the
forest temple when I didn't know I had to re-twist the corridor!
I'd spend full days off with the N64 on from getting up on a morning
to going back to bed at night as never before had I felt so compelled
to complete a game, no, a quest, a destiny I had to fulfill.
People often talk about feeling empty after completing a mammoth game
and that exactly how I felt in early April when I laid the final blow
onto ganon and saved the kingdom of hyrule, my quest was complete,and my life was empty.
No game before or since has touched me like The Ocarina of Time, the
Wind Waker came the closest, and if you've never played it before
(shame on you!) then I urge you to track it down. The 3DS is probably
the best version to get hold of, or download it for Wii or Wii U, but
for me it's at its greatest on the N64, with the controller it was
built for on the greatest console of all time.
I still break this game out every year or so, and although it'll never
be better than that 1st time round it's still the greatest game of all
Still hate that owl though!
Submitted by Andy Carrick
You can follow Andy on Twitter @AndyCarrick1