Video games were a thing in my household, ever since I can remember. I started playing video games at the very early age of about five or six years old. Looking back that far, I can remember playing Double Dragon and Super Mario Bros. on the NES, and Sonic The Hedgehog 2 (and so much more) on the Sega Genesis. I grew up with my older brother, little sister, and younger cousin who has been like a sibling since day one. All of us were into video games in some form or another including my Mom and Dad. My grandmother spoiled us with frequent trips to blockbuster and the more-than-occasional trips to Toys R Us. I remember many Christmases where we either got a video game we really wanted or a new system. Which leads me to the game that left the biggest impression on my family, and in honor of Geek Pride Week here at Geeks Under Grace, I get to tell you why.
There were many games we all played; on the Sega Saturn, games like Daytona USA and Virtua Cop; then later, games like Turok and Goldeneye on the N64. I mention those two systems because, at the time, there were only two games that we could take the credit for finishing as a family: one was Tomb Raider on the Saturn. That one I probably contributed the least to since it was more complex and I was still very young. The second is none other than Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.
That game was released on November 21st in 1998. I believe that was at least a year or more after my mom and Dad had gotten a divorce. That was a super rough time for eight-year-old; things were still very confusing. I would act out frequently when staying with my Mom and her boyfriend at his house. There were a few times where I even tried to pretend I was asleep so that way I would not have to go there. Looking back on these memories, I am sure this was a difficult time for them, just as much as it was for me. That is the one message I try to carry to my students on Monday nights at The Landing who are going through their parents’ divorces.
I was introduced to The Legend of Zelda before I even knew what it was. Sometime after my Sega Genesis finally stopped working, I was given an SNES and one of those games was A Link to the Past, but I remember vividly when we got Ocarina of Time. Early that Christmas Eve, as things were getting prepared for the evening, we were allowed to open one gift. My brother opened the game, and I couldn’t even tell you what I had opened because we so excited for that game.
There are only a select few titles that have made some kind of impact on us as a family. This was because my Brother, my Dad, and I each contributed to finishing that game in some form or another. I believe we didn’t get the strategy guide until much later, so there were times when we’d get stuck on a puzzle and all of us would be trying to figure out how to complete it. There were even times when my Dad picked up the controller and made some progress through the game. We spent so much time with this game that we would all probably say that it is one of our favorite games of all time. So much so that we even named our new puppy after a character in the game. We had gotten her as a surprise, and her original name was “Princess,” but my Dad didn’t like the name so we had to think of a new one. No, we did not choose Zelda; my brother and I chose to call her “Navi” and Dad liked that.
The reason I brought up my parents’ divorce is because that was one of the many things we were all going through at the time. Years prior, Dad was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and was slowly losing the use of his muscles, while I was just starting a long struggle with school. Those times we would bond over video games felt like the one consistent thing in our lives, and Ocarina of Time was filled with a world full of wonder and adventure and contained a level of challenge we could triumph over as a family. When I was young my parents were very involved with church and were on fire for Christ, and somewhere along the line that fire died out. This leads me to believe that we were trying to find God in Hyrule. I came to that conclusion after reading Kelly’s article again.
The moments and memories are why this game has a special place in my heart forever, and I am grateful to share them here and analyze the bigger picture of what may have really been going on at the time. Ocarina of Time is one of the biggest reason I am proud to be a geek.
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