Oh, dear--this is going to be very difficult, as I’ve played the game so many times that I’m concerned I won’t be able to discern the sentiments I had during my first session. Worse yet, I'm concerned that these memories won't quite be so poignant as the Mario 64 ones, owed to experiencing them so many times. I think there are a few that I can mention presently, though:
*I remember the darkly lit navy skies of early morning, Christmas 1998. My sister and I trembled into the murk of our shadowy living room, its haze dyed and pulsing with the twinkling multi-coloured lights from the Christmas tree. Our presents, each so imbued with magic, were sprawled over the blue carpet in front of the mantle-piece. I shivered forward towards them, my breathing possessed, and I noticed a distant N64 game-box--still shrink-wrapped with that signature red Nintendo ribbon, which, one year after I had obtained my Nintendo 64, now signified the weighty promise of a new and enchanted world--distinguished above all other presents on the mantle-piece. This box was unlike any N64 game I had hitherto felt beneath my fingers: it was a bottomless, intense, and religiously-infused jet black. At its centre was the emblem that denoted a series with which I had never before been acquainted, yet somehow meant something so extraordinarily significant: The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. And it was bewitched with gold, incandescent in the glowing etherealness of that room.
*That opening sequence. Without exception, every Nintendo 64 game that I had played before this had, crucially, been vibrant: they had been jaunty affairs, vivaciously and thickly coloured, and bright with optimism and youthful exuberance. With Ocarina, this changed. I remember the soft mist of early morning in Hyrule Field, and Link astride Epona galloping past the moon. I could feel the moistness of the early-morning dew that seemed to linger in the game’s air. The colours were, astonishingly, beautifully subdued--and so breathlessly realistic--emulating the rousing essence of the crisp and cool winter‘s morning outside, and meshing the game-world with our own; the clop of Epona’s hooves were sensually rich and proud; that same important emblem burned onto the screen with golden flames...and these cemented the impression of a title that was so much more than the brilliant worlds of Mario or Banjo-Kazooie. As a youngster, I felt something so achingly profound from Christmas and its religious undertones--even though my family was far from religious. At school, I made Christmas cards from shimmering gold card, and sparkling glitters, captivated by the colours and aesthetic ebullience of the time--it was an experience that allowed my soul to transcend my body, and Zelda did the same, acting as a conduit, it felt, with some unseen but so very wonderful force. It was as if these gold, shimmering flames signified an irrational sense of mental transcendence and significance. The sight was poignantly lachrymal; the heavenly shade of the clouds above the field lifted me into a dream-like domain, facilitated by the wistful blows of the flute. And there was adult Link himself. So many times when I loaded up the game, I strained to watch Link during this opening sequence, utterly spellbound by the sight of this character who I couldn’t play as. It was mind-boggling, that this character--one who could ride a horse--was the some form of the guy I was playing as...yet I did not know how to be him. The vastness of the game was multiplied infinitely by this understanding--that perhaps, someday, I would step into the shoes of this adult individual. But for the time being, he inhabited that dreamlike world etched out in that opening sequence, almost not even seeming real. No game will ever play with my mind like that again.
*The start of the Deku Tree’s speech to Navi. After the quiet of a dark and spell-bindingly sleepy introduction to Link, followed by a brief though exhaustingly frenetic nightmare, this…weighty and so commandingly severe music began to play. It is so difficult to articulate the nature of this bit of instrumentation; its feel was enrapturing, but simultaneously frightening--and daunting in a divine sort of sense. Nothing before in a game had touched upon this sense of purpose in such a way; it landed my imagination in chaos. The perpetual and somewhat deeply-pitched magical sound effect of Navi floating--an unremitting and loud aural representation of dispersing magic--presided above this musical piece throughout, and the culmination of the two felt like some violently significant occurrence. Even though there was no movement, the words of the Deku Tree--communicated in a font that, unlike Mario 64 or Star Fox, was softly textured and discernibly tailored for something mythical, like a literary piece--breathed a sweat-inducing gravitas into the scene, as if something absolutely monumental had happened even though the game had just started. His words were alien to me; they were bindingly exotic, and completely banished the real world from my awareness. Most of all, I remember the text changing colour…and my response to that is something I don’t think I can describe. The consistency of the embossed text, some coloured with serene shades of blue. It was as if text, itself, could be made of magic.
Crumbs; I think I'll stop. I don't think it's worth anyone suffering my inane and confused rambling about this game!