Ok, before you get too heated because Ocarina Of Time of is your favorite game of all time or, because you voted for Breath Of The Wild for game of the year, what you need to know is this: Ocarina Of Time is my favorite game of all time and I also voted Breath Of The Wild for game of the year. In fact, we had a couple of Zelda games in out top video games from the 90s.
When I dove back into The Legend Of Zelda: Link’s Awakening after so many years away from Koholint Island, there was something glaring at me, staring me right in the face that I couldn’t turn away from. As a preface, Link’s Awakening is a game I played as a kid but could never quite beat. I would always get stuck and then get bored and put it down for long enough that I would forget what the heck I was doing and have to restart.
It became apparent to me that the reason I may have gotten bored with the game is that the story flat out sucks, which I guess isn’t totally fair considering there isn’t much of a story at all.
The non-existent story became so apparent I had to tweet about:
I’m happy playing Link’s Awakening again. It’s a game I never beat as a kid because I thought it was too hard so it’s a cool revenge game for me. With that being said, is it just me or is the story really bad? Lol. pic.twitter.com/4cm9854CUo
— It’s TerrorMV! 👹 (@tylermv_) September 22, 2019
My eyes were open, or as the kids would say, I was “woke” to the game’s story when my wife kept asking me questions that I had no answers to like:
- “Why is there an egg on a mountain”
- “Why do you have to crack the egg”
- “Why are their just random floating instruments”
- “Who is that owl?”
Great questions. No answers.
Link’s Awakening fails to answer even the simplest question of ‘why this is all happening and why I should care’. Yes, you have to escape the island. Yes, *spoilers* the entire game is just a massive dream sequence, but so was Alice In Wonderland and the nonsensicality of that story still had a point. This glaring omission of details has had me a little deflated while playing through the game. The one thing that’s kept me going is nostalgia, Easter egg hunting and that Nintendo special sauce kept my motivation going (which I’ll get into in a second).
But there was a specific tweet that got me thinking:
Here is a secret; all zelda games have bad stories, my dude. Just hammer that a button until the video game starts again
— Rouxgravy (@RouxGravy) September 22, 2019
Before I was quick to anger I thought back to most of the Zelda games. Evil shows up (mostly in the form of Ganon), that evil does something (mostly kidnapping Zelda), the hero, who is always Link, rises to the occasion to stop that evil from doing that thing and we all go on our happy way. But truth be told, Zelda stories haven’t been great for a while. But here’s the catch, A Link To The Past, Ocarina Of Time and Breath Of The Wild are critically acclaimed and fan favorites that will go down in history as some of the best games ever made. Why? What about other Nintendo games?
Pokemon has been pushing the exact same narrative since 1996. Super Mario has had the exact same story since 1985. Starfox, Donkey Kong, Metroid… they’re all just good versus evil with a little twist.
Yes, Nintendo hasn’t been the most graphically forward or narratively innovative game developer but here’s what Nintendo does better than any other company and why they’re such a legendary studio: game design.
The reason we play the same stories from Zelda, Mario and Pokemon over and over and over again is that Nintendo is the master at creating timeless games based on a concept that can easily get lost in this world of tech and graphics and story: fun. Nintendo makes fun games.
There’s no other company greater at creating fun gameplay than Nintendo and despite the lack of story in Link’s Awakening, I find myself enjoying each and every dungeon and I’m having a ton of fun.