From the first incarnation of Hyrule in 1988’s The Legend of Zelda to the vast, flooded world of Phantom Hourglass, Link’s most recent adventure, Zelda fans have had the pleasure of exploring some of the greatest lands in all of gaming. A pair of articles from Destructoid take an in-depth look at two of the series’ most beloved worlds: Ocarina of Time‘s Hyrule and the Great Sea of The Wind Waker.
Both articles were written as a part of Monthly Musings, a themed monthly feature that allows readers to participate in discussions and write articles for the site’s homepage. May’s theme, entitled Worlds Other Than These, focuses on the lands of video games that were alluring, alive, and engrossing, so it’s no surprise to see handful of Zelda worlds written about.
To this day, Ocarina of Time‘s Hyrule is absolutely breathtaking—from the immense size of Hyrule field and the bustling streets of Castle Town, to the towering, fiery volcano of Death Mountain and the serene Lake Hylia, it was a truly diverse and immersive world.
“Never in my life have I been immersed in an artificial world more deeply than that of Ocarina of Time, probably because it doesn’t really seem artificial. Whenever I play that game, I always feel like I’m actually a part of the world, rather than just looking from the outside in. It takes what is essentially just a fun game at its core, meant to be played and enjoyed, and turns it into an actual escape from reality, if only for just a little bit. That much attention paid to detail and realism, to real-world references in a fantasy setting, is unlike anything else I’ve ever experienced, especially back when the game was originally released.”
And then there’s the Great Sea of The Wind Waker—a world almost as controversial as the game’s revamped graphical style. When people think of the Zelda series, they think of hoofin’ it, not riding around in some sailboat. Yet, the islands scattered throughout the world were filled with lively NPCs, which truly made the game come alive.
“The characters that littered the world were all so fantastic and engaging. On Outset Island, there was a small simple community of folk who never ventured far from their little haven. Understandably, these characters are the least interesting of your supporting cast. Well, apart from the two brothers, master of weapons Orca and his book smart brother Sturgeon. Bickering and blaming each other for any racket made (even though the player was to blame for the most part). These two searched for legendary belts out on the blue sea many years ago. When Link brings them what they’ve searched for, Orca bursts into tears of Joy. It’s characters like these that were affected by your quests that helped make the world live.”
Read the full articles here.