Play or Pass: The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and The Sims 3

Welcome to the next post in my year-long series “Play or Pass” that takes on the proverbial “must before death” theme with video games. Every other week I will be covering one or two games from “32 Video Games You Have To Play Before You Die,” a list compiled by BuzzFeed based on a reader poll. I will not be critiquing the list itself, but rather I’ll be discussing each game or games in whatever manner feels fitting and will attempt to answer a couple simple questions: Have I played [insert game name here]? If yes, do I consider it a “must” and why? If no, do I want to play the game before I die? I’ll be going through the games in the order in which they appear on the BuzzFeed list. Good? Good. Let’s get on with the games!


Week four: (5) The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and (6) The Sims 3

One of the things that I’m challenging myself to do with this listing project is to remove the rose-colored glasses to see these “exalted” games for what they really are. Because let’s face it, gaming is as subjective a hobby as it gets. Every ounce of praise heaped upon a game is met with equal amounts of hate. You hate what I like; I love what you don’t. The real question here is: are there some games that most people can agree upon as “must plays?”

With that in mind, let’s talk about the first of this week’s games – The Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina of Time.

Why do there always have to be chickens though?

**crickets**

Okay, I have to admit that I struggle to start the conversation here for a number of reasons, the most blatant of which calls back to that opening paragraph. While I don’t hate Ocarina of Time, I also don’t personally like it as much as other Zelda games, and I’m having a very hard time setting those feelings aside. i.e. saying, frankly, if you must play a Zelda game, make it Wind Waker.

But see, that’s just my opinion. Other, more passionate fans of Zelda games will name their favorites over Ocarina of Time, I’m sure, because while I understand Ocarina of Time’s place and importance in gaming’s history, of the handful of Zelda games I’ve played, it’s not exactly the most user-friendly of the bunch. It’s a beautiful game. But it’s a difficult one, too, with sometimes wonky controls. It set the stage for a vast future of 3D, exploration-based RPGs. But it also pigeonholed a portion of the genre, and became a stale representation of dungeon-based questing. It bestowed upon us a story for the ages, a simple one of good vs. evil, and more complex one of Link and Zelda’s relationship. But it somehow both stuck to and deviated from that formula in such a way that it’s nearly impossible to follow any single thread through the games beyond the names “Link” and “Zelda.”

These are but absolutes that I, for my part, apply to the Zelda series. My adventures with Link started with Ocarina of Time, and I couldn’t imagine it now happening any other way. But at this moment in time, notwithstanding the fact that I’m currently playing through Twilight Princess, I can’t rightly call it a “must.” So my answers are as follows:

Have I played The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time?
Yes.

If yes, do I consider it a “must” and why?
No.

If no, do I want to play the game before I die?
Not really an answer, but I don’t think I’d want to play Ocarina of Time again before I die. I’d rather play Wind Waker. (And you should, too. But that’s just my opinion.)


So, next up is The Sims 3.

1920x1200px, Sims 3 (1317.14 KB), by David Dekel

Huh. Well, if you thought my post on Counter-Strike was short, you ain’t seen nothing yet. And you certainly ain’t going to see anything about The Sims 3 or any other Sims game here, because I’ve not played any of them. I don’t even have a story, funny or otherwise, as to why. I simply haven’t. The end.

**LOTS more crickets**

Okay, maybe I have a little more to say than that, but not much. My only experience with any sort of Sims game happened a number of years on Facebook. Y’know, when it was a haven for Zynga games. Oh, I’ll say it, I played the hell outta some Farmville, but I never reached the lofty levels of some. And it was through that connection that someone invited me to play Yoville, a Sims-like (I guess) virtual life game in which you created a character and made him or her do life-y stuff, like furnish and apartment, shop for clothes, and go to work. I think I lasted close to a year with the game before my time with it just dwindled away. See, my problem with games like that was that you had to check in every day in order to build up your character “properly.” There was brief time when I could do that, and I got pretty good at managing what needed to do in whatever game at whatever time. But slowly that “free” time became “no” time, and YoVille was the first casualty. While I do enjoy doing mundane stuff in RPGs, a game in which all you do is mundane stuff just isn’t self-sustaining in my world.

Of course, I get that there’s more to The Sims than simulating real life but…no, actually, it’s that exactly what The Sims is all about? If The Sims 3 made it onto the BuzzFeed list out of all The Sims games that exist, I’m sure there’s a good reason for it.

Have I played The Sims 3?
Nope.

If yes, do I consider it a “must” and why?
N/A

If no, do I want to play the game before I die?
Nope.

15 thoughts on “Play or Pass: The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and The Sims 3”

  1. I have played Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and the first two Sims games. I actually prefer Ocarina of Time compared to Wind Waker. While I enjoy both games, I prefer the slightly darker story, the themed dungeons, the contrast between the worlds of Young Link and Adult Link and the ominous atmosphere of invaded Hyrule of Ocarina of Time. I enjoyed the Sims games I have played, while I wondered how to enjoy games with no story and centred around everyday tasks, I did like developing my Sims careers and building up a family. There is probably a point where the player realises that the characters are doing things the player should be doing in real life.
    Why do you prefer Wind Waker? Is Twilight Princess as good?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wind Waker’s exuberance and animation are what really hooked me. I’m not a big fan of the foreboding feelings that permeate the likes of Ocarina of Time, Majora’s Mask, and Twilight Princess. Though, I will say that I believe that the story is better in any of those games as compared to Wind Waker. But there’s a lightness and joy in Wind Waker that’ll always put it at the top for me, plus, I really like it’s characters, especially Tetra.

      Twilight Princess is a dark, meaty game in comparison. On my own list of Zelda games played (which is pretty short), I’d put it third after Wind Waker and Phantom Hourglass. The story is hands-down amazing, but there were parts of the game that I found more frustrating than not. And I have to admit that I sped through portions of the game out of that frustration. Still, it’s a wonderful game, one that shouldn’t be missed by Zelda fans, surely.

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  2. It’s Ocarina of Time. I think I’ve made my case as to why it’s a must-play.

    As for Sims 3, I haven’t played it, but it doesn’t come across as an essential gaming experience. It seems like an interesting novelty title, though not much more than that.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. OoT is a true classic — nothing can ever take that away from it. Its fans will always speak volumes!

      Can’t say th same about the Sims, but I guess it’s doing something right. As long as it makes other people happy, then so be it.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. That was kind of the idea behind YoVille. It didn’t have levels per se, but when you logged in, it gave you a number of tasks to complete, which you could do or not.

      There have been times when I’ve thought about getting into the Sims series, but I just don’t play often enough to make games like that worth my while.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I find that the Sims is fun for a bit, but the novelty wears off pretty quick. When it comes to gaming I prefer story driven titles over open ended releases. Besides I play games to escape reality, what’s the point of doing regular life activities digitally 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Can’t say The Sims has ever appealed to me – I’ve seen it played several times and enjoyed it well enough in that context, but that’s all. Ocarina of Time on the other hand is my favourite Zelda game. For me it has two things that make it stand out relative to the rest of the series. First thing is pacing. 20-25 hours of main quest with a speedy intro, lots of dungeons, and little to no padding throughout is something I wish the more recent 3D Zelda games had emulated. Second aspect is the atmosphere (admittedly though this is less unique to OOT). I love the Forest and Spirit Temples for their incredible atmosphere. It’s all about the music, and also to an extent the plot about the sages. There’s something so strange and eerie about exploring Kokiri Forest as a child, to then return as adult Link and discover the utterly creepy Forest Temple, with its connection to Saria.

    Anyway, that’s just me. Don’t get me wrong, other Zelda games have plenty to offer too – Wind Waker has the Celtic, swashbuckling vibe that is completely its own, and Twilight Princess has the melancholic atmosphere throughout which I like. Given the almost uniformly high quality of these games, I guess it all comes down to a matter of which one made (and with replays, continues to make) the strongest impact on you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You make some excellent points, and you’ve also make me think that I need to play OoT again! This has also conjured up some memories of who I was when OoT was released — a young college grad trying to be an adult. I was sort of into gaming a the time, and I sort of wasn’t, and I remember playing OoT mostly to fill the in-between spaces rather than to form a meaningful connection.

      By the time I got to Wind Waker, I was much more established and had gotten back into gaming more earnestly. I was more ready to connect with games generally, and Wind Waker just hit all the right notes. So yes, you’re right that we’re automatically going to harbor the most positive feelings about games that made the most impact; those games that came along at just the right time, as it sounds OoT did for you.

      Huh, that colors this whole project a bit. 🙂 Ah, but it shall sally forth nonetheless!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Well I’m glad to hear you’re going to continue this feature. So far it’s been a great trip down memory lane – for me anyway 😀

        It’s funny, just now you’ve reminded me of how I first came to Ocarina of Time as a young lad… and the fact that I initially hated it! It’s not something I’ve thought about in a long while but thank you as I reckon a write-up of that will make for a half-way decent blog post…

        Agreed, impact is such a personal thing. It can often be hard to put yourself in someone else’s shoes. Back in the late nineties, although I’d played a fair few games across the Amiga, Gameboy and N64, I’d never come across anything that approached OOT in terms of atmosphere or sheer ambition. The sense of a world in the game was so strong too, with the overworld and especially Hyrule Field, it was unlike anything else I’d experienced. That was also what captivated me in my other childhood/teenage fave, FFVIII, the world and its secrets, dangers, mysteries, etc.

        Anyway, I’m sure you know exactly what I’m talking about. After all, you must’ve had similar feelings, only with a different game – Wind Waker! 😛

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  4. Thematically, Ocarina of Time is far behind all 3-D Zelda games that came after it. Nowadays it works as, let’s say, a “standard” take on the Zelda gameplay; one that gets the basics established by ALTTP and moves them into the 3-D realm. However, I feel it does things “right”. All Zelda games that followed have glaring flaws (I adore Wind Waker, but its dungeons are not very remarkable, for example) and I don’t see any big issues with OOT… it was as good of a Zelda game as they could have made back then, that is why I still rank it above everything that came before it and after as well. Still, I understand where you are coming from with your take.

    As for The Sims, I find the series to be awfully dull. It gets me bored after a few hours.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re right, at the time, OoT was nearly on the bleeding edge of gaming — it was the best of the best for its time. And so many people remember it as such. If I had written this list 10 years ago, you can bet that I’d call it a “must.” But I really struggle with my feelings about the game now. I guess part of it comes down to that I feel Wind Waker and its similar games are just more visually inviting, even if the gameplay is weaker. That’s a poor excuse for knocking OoT down a few rungs, but I knew before even starting this project that I was going to have a hard time rectifying my issues with some games. OoT won’t be the only one on this list that will be difficult for me to coherently discuss. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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