We Need A Hero
While I did not technically receive this game for Christmas, it’s one I associate with the season more than any other.
My brother and I pooled our Christmas money in order to purchase a shiny new Nintendo 64 complete with the hottest new release that year: The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.
There’s nothing inherent about OoT that screams Christmas. Instead, it’s more about the memories associated with this game that make me think of it this time of year.
Like a cheesy childhood cartoon special that I re-watch every year, OoT is a nice warm pool of nostalgia that it’s fun to dip myself back into and remember what my last lingering threads of childhood felt like.
Earlier this year, I discussed how Breath of the Wild had rendered this game obsolete. However, obsolescence doesn’t mean much in the realm of video games, which exist only to waste time. Therefore, even though it may be outdated in a post-BotW world, that isn’t to say that I can’t still enjoy it.
A Sweater That Gets Warmer With Age
In the 20 or so years since OoT’s release, there’s scarcely been a year that has gone by where I haven’t booted up this game for at least a little while. Although it’s probably been about a decade since I properly finished the game, most of my favorite parts happen early in the game, so I never have to invest too much time to get my fix.
Typically, once I get to the adult version of the Water Temple, I’m ready to hang it up as I’ve put several hours into the game and don’t feel like dealing with all that bullshit. For me, it feels like that is where the game begins to get a little too repetitive and I lose interest.
Up to that point, though, I still enjoy discovering the world as child Link as he first ventures out of the forest that has been his home his entire life.
It’s the perfect game for when the weather starts getting cold to grab a mug of cocoa and start taking a trip down the bumpy road of Christmases Past.
A Legendary Christmas Carol
One of the defining features of Charles Dickens’ masterpiece, A Christmas Carol, is its inclusion of time travel to show that sumbitch Scrooge his past, present, and future Christmases. This game invokes its own time travel device via the Temple of Time, allowing the player to roam the paradise of Hyrule as young Link or the apocalyptic wasteland it becomes as adult Link. Going back and forth between the two offers the player a chance to interact with characters in different ways and gain a viewpoint that would have been impossible otherwise.
Similarly, isn’t that the beauty of Christmas?
Each Christmas season reminds me of the ones that preceded it. When OoT of time debuted, for those who pre-ordered the game, they would receive a golden cartridge that echoed the series origins on the NES. For a teenager interested only in the touch of boob, this nostalgic tip of the hat awoke my dormant inner-child.
As time has gone by and I’ve transitioned from horny teenager to horny adult, I get to relive the feeling of what made Christmas special through my children’s’ eyes. Like Link, I continue to move between my childhood and adult years.
I’m not someone trying to live vicariously through my kids, but where I can give them gentle pushes in the direction of my interests, I’m going to take those opportunities. God willing, one day my children will take more of an interest in the games Daddy gets up early to play on weekend mornings, and they will sit with me as we discover these worlds together.
Merry Christmas And Happy Gaming
Playing games is like stepping into my own time machine. No matter how frequently I play Super Mario Bros., I can still find a bit of that awe that struck me the first time I held that NES controller in my hands. For each game I cherish, I can recall my world when that game was new, and I’m briefly taken back to those bygone years.
From the excitement of unwrapping Ghostbusters on NES, the elation of receiving Super Mario Land and Dr. Mario on Game Boy, the disappointment of not finding Sonic the Hedgehog 2 in my stocking, video games have unintentionally been connected to some of my strongest Christmas memories.
Each year, as I get further to my unmarked pauper’s grave, I will fondly recall the games I’ve enjoyed along the way and pick up some forgotten Christmas magic as a souvenir in hopes of keeping the faint sound of that sleigh bell rattling a little longer.