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Cooped Up in Fantasy

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Wikipedia image of Ganondorf, the last boss in Ocarina of Time, 1998

I must admit that the partial reason why I bought a Wii was to play The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. It has been almost ten years since I last played a Zelda game, and if you got the time line right, 1998 was the year when The Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina of Time was released for the Nintendo 64. I didn’t own the popular 64-bit console at that time so a friend gladly lent me his just so that I could finish this installment of Zelda.

A bit on the video game history — The Ocarina of Time has been declared as one of the best video games ever made thus far:

Within six months of its release, Ocarina of Time sold more than five million copies;[2] since its release, 8.6 million copies have been sold.[3] In addition to its commercial success, Ocarina of Time is frequently ranked as the greatest game of all time.[4] It was the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences 1999 Game of the Year.[5] It was recently voted as the top video game ever by Edge magazine [6], and came in first on the reader’s choice edition of IGN’s 100 greatest video games of all time. [Wikipedia]

I must admit I’m a geek for fantasy in most forms – from books to television series to the video games. I was always attuned to people who could tell great stories in any medium which is why I still go back to playing a select choice of video games on the PC and on the Nintendo Wii.

It’s the story that grips me, as a vibrant world becomes created before my eyes as a viewer and reader.

For instance, half the fun of me watching Star Trek Voyager (yes I’m a trekkie, but no I’ve never gone as far as dressing up as an ensign) would be talking about it with friends the very next day as we would debate on the different uses of dilithium aside from its most apparent use to stabilize and power the starship’s warp drive.

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A scene from Twilight Princess where Link goes fishing (a staple mini game in the latter Zelda titles)

In the same light, The Ocarina of Time, Twilight Princess, several Final Fantasy sagas (Part III for the NES in particular was the most gripping), and the Half Life series for the PC were some of the most memorable video games I’ve played as I give them equal value to reading a good novel or watching a really good movie.

And it’s interesting to note how the themes for most of these titles are recurring: the concepts of courage, truth, perseverance and friendship are always there — but all done rather subtly.

The sad part is that not everyone thinks video games can be character-forming, much more so a lucrative career.

By Jayvee Fernandez

Jayvee Fernandez is a tech enthusiast, EAN certified SCUBA Diver and underwater photographer based in Metro Manila, Philippines. His photos and videos have appeared in various international and local publications including Random House Germany, Discovery Channel Canada, and CNN.

2 replies on “Cooped Up in Fantasy”

Role playing is character building. Like in TH White’s The Sword in the Stone (1st book in The Once and Future King), one of the methods Merlyn used to teach Wart was to turn him into different animals. One cannot just underestimate the value of role-playing.

As to the view of other people’s view, which might right contrary to one’s own, well thats life. One advantage to that though is that things like role playing, Marchen, Fantasy and comic books are rich ground for new and possibly rebellious ideas. Take a look at Star Trek TOS and Just look at those Fairy Tales – a lot of them have the maverick nature in them.

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