Posted on January 22, 2013
My Top 100: #30 – The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker
There was a lot of negative buzz at E3 in 2001 when Nintendo revealed how the new Zelda game would look. “Why do they have to use cel-shading? Why can’t we have a realistic-looking Zelda game? Link looks like a little kid! Why can’t Nintendo just give us what we want??? This game is going to be baaaaaad…..”
I’ll admit – the cartoonish look was a bit of a shock to me, as well. Really though, I think I’ve had reservations about every new Zelda announcement since Ocarina of Time. There’s a different hook with every game in the series, and you either like it or you don’t. Plain and simple.
I happen to be pretty damn easy to please, and I’ve enjoyed every Zelda game I’ve ever played. Even Majora’s Mask, to a certain extent!
In the end, Wind Waker was perfectly fine the way it was. The cel-shading actually helped Link show more expression than he ever has (even in games since), and the colourful visuals were so vibrant and fun to look at. Much was made about the Great Sea, where Link travels from island to island on his trusty boat\sidekick\King of Hyrule, the King of Red Lions. People groaned a bit about having to travel so far between islands, but I saw it as an opportunity to explore even more.
Besides, once you receive the titular Wind Waker and gain the ability to warp, it’s much easier to get around.
Another thing I enjoyed was how Irish the game felt. The music had a definite celtic influence, what with all the fiddles and harps that are heard throughout the game. The way Link is dressed has always reminded me of a leprechaun… the friendly cereal kind, not the nasty-looking leprechauns from the horror movie. The vivid green of his tunic in this one just reinforces that, for me.
Finally, I always associated sea travel with Ireland, not only because it was where the Titanic was built, but because of another ocean liner that sank – the Empress of Ireland, which was actually built in Scotland.
Sinking boats and massive loss of life = Ireland \ The Wind Waker!
In 2005 or so, EGM had an issue with a handful of cutouts that could serve as alternate box art, if you wanted it. One of the cutouts was an awesome-looking alternate cover for The Wind Waker, so I felt the need to swap mine out. In typical Andre fashion, though, I THREW THE ORIGINAL SLEEVE OUT.
Man, am I ever a genius. Even though I enjoy the EGM box art more than the original, I really regret throwing it out. Why would I do such a thing? It’s not like I couldn’t tuck it in behind the new sleeve. Oooohhhh friggin’ well.
The first time I actually attempted to play The Wind Waker all the way through was quite a while after it came out. I had owned a GameCube for a few years, and had just recently purchased a Wii with Twilight Princess. Of course, if I was ever going to play through TP, I was going to have to beat WW first!
At the time, I had been dating a girl for about six months. Not long after Christmas, an opportunity to move into an amazing apartment downtown had presented itself, and I was on the verge of moving in with her. There was a strange mix of apprehension, excitement, guilt, and overwhelming joy to be moving away from home, but I knew it had to be done eventually. I sure as hell wasn’t going to be living with my mom forever!
No offense, Mom!
Whenever I think of playing through those last few levels leading up to the final showdown against Ganondorf, I get a weird nostalgic knot in my stomach. It was snowing lightly outside, and as I’ve mentioned before, that’s my favourite time to relax and play games. As the I neared the end of the game (you always *know* when the end is near in a Zelda game), I felt like I was not only about to beat a game, but move onto another chapter of my life. This was the last game I was going to play through, from start to finish, in the bedroom that I grew up in.
Later that night, I had to go out and shovel our driveway. The next day, I was borrowing a truck from a friend, and moving all my junk into my new living quarters with my future wife!