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This Video Game Changed My Life

I remember my first experience with The Legend of Zelda. My brother and I must have been 7 and 8 years old sitting in the basement of our uncle’s house. We flipped on the Super Nintendo and entered into a magical world called “A Link to the Past.” We did not get very far into the game. It seemed that every time we had a family visit and attempted to play “Zelda” our progress never moved past the first hour of play. We did not know how to advance! The game was simply too hard for us to figure out.

The years went by and my attention was focused on Mario. The Mario series was a no-brainer. Your goal was to get to the end of each level, and there were no major roadblocks in your way besides the enemies you had to jump on or over. I think that because of my initial difficulty with Zelda, I stayed away from that series.

When the Nintendo 64 was released my friends started telling me about “Ocarina of Time.” I remember sitting in my friend’s bedroom watching him play the game. It looked fun, but again, it seemed like there was no direction on what to do and where to go. I felt lost watching him play, and I felt lost with the controller in my hand. I didn’t get it. And so again, Zelda games were not on my radar.

It was not until the release of the Nintendo DS that I revisited the Zelda series. Phantom Hourglass looked fun! Unfortunately, after about 4 hours of playing the game, I lost interest. This time, it was not because of the difficulty, rather, it was my unwillingness to commit to the game. Spirit Tracks was the same situation…

It was during the pandemic of 2020 that I found myself with a lot of extra time on my hands. So I decided that I would commit to beating Ocarina of Time, probably the most treasured game in Zelda history.

The point of me playing through the game was to experience the water temple. I heard so much about it being one of the most difficult temples to navigate, and also one of the most genius in terms of design. I knew the water temple is the fourth temple of the game, so as I completed each of the first three temples, the anticipation was mounting…

I’m floating to the bottom of Lake Hylia. The moment has arrived, this is it! I’m standing in front of the temple doors…

At this moment I place the controller down and stare at the tv screen. This is a big undertaking for me, so I must prepare mentally for the challenges that await inside the walls.

Something happens while I’m preparing for this adventure. My creative mind starts working, and this feeling of being immersed in the game takes the form of a mantra: “Stuck inside a video game, let me explain…puzzles popping up got me going insane…

I grab a pen and paper and start writing this down. “Invading my brain, nothing ever stays the same, this is what it feels like to be stuck inside a video…

I think to myself “This is cool! I love this!” I put the paper aside and enter the water temple…

“Ocarina of Time” ignited my joy for the Zelda franchise, but it was not until I learned of “The Hero’s Journey” from Joseph Campbell that things really clicked for me. The genius of The Legend of Zelda is that it is a quintessential illustration and experience of “The Hero’s Journey.”

Campbell writes:

“…a distant land, a forest, a kingdom underground, beneath the waves, or above the sky, a secret island, lofty mountain top, or profound dream state; but it is always a place of strangely fluid and polymorphous beings, unimaginable torments, superhuman deeds, and impossible delight.” If you look through the Zelda games you will find all of these locations. The underground home of the Gorons in Ocarina of Time, the Forbidden Woods in Wind Waker, a profound dream state in Link’s Awakening, and the water temple beneath the waves. It’s all there, in every Zelda game. It is the ultimate adventure.

So how did they change my life? My commitment to a playthrough of Ocarina of Time led me to a creative moment inspired from being at the entrance of the Water Temple. My enthusiasm towards the rap song I wrote influenced me to create a music video. This began an 8-month journey to continue to build Who Is Fish? and complete this epic music video project called “Stuck Inside A Video Game.”

Video games create community and have the potential to aid in personal growth. As long as there is a positive takeaway from the games (usually rooted in literary themes and great storytelling) I say playing video games can be worthwhile, in moderation!

GET WIDDIT.

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GET WIDDIT.

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