I've recently acquired a beat up N64 version of The Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina of Time. It's in rough shape, the graphic on the front worn by thumbs grasping the cartridge to yank it out. Even a fading rental sticker lingers torn across the top of the cartridge, its rental code indistinguishable, long forgotten.
Just looking at the cartridge spurs unanswerable questions. Who's was it? Why was it never returned to the video store, perhaps it was bought second hand? Maybe it racked up hundreds of dollars in late charges. There's a history to this cartridge that spurs the imagination. Even the way it was acquired is quite amusing and warrants a retelling.
Lounging on a reclining pool chair in the back porch of my parents home in beautiful B.C. Canada, my left leg sleeping in a half cast propped up on a pillow, the back door cringes open. I twist my body around trying to see who it is. Rook, a long time buddy meets me with a grin that splits his head, it's the first time he's seeing me in a cast. He's carrying a case of cold ones, dropping it down onto the nearby patio table, he proceeds to crack a round and we are reacquainted with lounging.
He tosses me two N64 games he's brought to help entertain my recovery time, forgetting that I don't have an N64 anymore, but hey.. it's the thought that counts. My other buddy, Razor, who's sharing a Kokanee in a nearby chair has my 64. I lent/gave it to him when I got a PS2 back in the day, the PS2 eventually transformed into an xbox after a stop at EB a few years later. After a few jokes about the 64, Mario Kart, and Turok, the jabber of video game ceases.
My bro breaks open the patio porch and joins us for a beer, just finished work he pulls up a chair noticing the 64 games discarded on the table. Seemingly to spark a memory from the exhausting day of detailing cars, he announces in a triumphant voice his bountiful reward of cleaning out a repo'd car. The Ocarina of Time. I guess the crew my bro works with keeps to the code of finders keepers.
I quickly ask, is it the gold one? As if it ment anything to anyone. Its not, and it doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things. But it would have been so much sweeter if it was.
I wonder what they named their character? Think they named Link, Link? We laugh, but the question weighs in the air, why would they name the character Link? Did they even know Link's name is supposed to be Link? They being the previous owners of the grey cartridge.
The chance that they might not have named Link, Link, is seemingly unholy. I can't imagine playing Zelda and every time you read your name it's "The Dude" instead. Amusing and funny but it has become ritualistic when you ink in the name Link before starting your adventure.
Razor sparks the idea behind what the character could be named by proclaiming that people fall into 3 distinct categories when naming characters for video games.
People who name the character Link.
People who name the character after themselves, or some other common persona used
in multiple places.
People who name the character a vulgar profanity, or some other slanderish word.
I've definitely fallen into all three categories from time to time, depending on the game. Lets delve into the psyche of each type of player to try and figure out why they name Link the way they do.
People who name the character Link. These type of players have a great respect for the character and experiencing the story the way it is 'supposed' to be. There's an underlying nostalgic romance to thumbing over the familiar four letters, flooding yourself with memories of younger days, of the wonder and joy of previous adventures. These players are the heart and soul of the Legend of Zelda. The die-hards, the fan-boys, and probably even Miyamoto-san himself.
People who name the character after themselves, or some other common persona used in multiple places. Be it the players legal name, or online handle, these players want to experience the game in a personal way. They are the character, the avatar, and not some other person. The difference between experiencing the game first person or third person, in a weird outside the box way. Maybe these are the people who just don't know Link is supposed to be called Link. As foreign as that may sound, I'm sure there are a lot of people who threw in Twilight Princess for the first time with no idea the Hero of Time's real name is Link. Although I have never done this in game's with predetermined characters, like FF or Zelda, I'm guilty for naming my Civ 4 cities my own personal names. Usually street names from Vancouver, odd as it sounds. I just don't find it that much fun to name the cities their proper names. I feel more attached for my civilization when I've got personal attachment. It's easier for me to lose myself in the wee hours of the night if I'm defending my own cities.
Then there are the people who name Link a vulgar profanity. Asso Wippo, Robot Hooker, Fuck Head. Obviously these players are aware of the games dialog system, taking a delight in the racy dialogue soon to follow. A slander to the finely crafted story, but ultimately the choice of the player. These type of players are my favourite. Creative in their ways of bypassing bad word filters, these players will always get a kick out of hearing another character refer to your avatar in some vulgar term. I'm guilty of the pleasure of naming pokemon fucked up names, just for the sake that maybe I'll trade them with some foreigners who have no idea what Choda means.
These thoughts on the psychology behind naming characters can easily evolve past the example of Link in Zelda. How do players come up with names for their WoW characters? Do they name them off drugs or their favourite beer? Do they just wham the random name generator a few times and the rest is history? I hate having to name characters in RPGS unique names, and I usually end up sitting at the screen for far too long. I think I have a problem with long term commitment..
Well, first things are first. I now have a non-gold copy of the Ocarina of Time sitting on the table in front of me. I will follow up when I can see what Link is named on the game. I need some closure to my thoughts and the cartridge seems to mock me in a silent way, biding its time before it slides into an old N64.
Letís make some bets on the save files on this used copy of Ocarina of Time.
I'm going to say Link is named some vulgar profanity. I mean, really, what type of die-hard player, fan boy, would have their car repo'd and a used rented copy of Legend of Zelda slammed beneath the seats? Obviously someone who would get a kick out of Link being called Num Nuts, not to mention a possible obsession with alliteration.
Secondly, I think Num Nuts has 7 hearts, I'm not sure where that'd put him in the game but I don't think the player has the game cracked. It was in the car, and not the N64 after all. Maybe I'm underestimating the players ability but coupled with a funny name, I think the player has more fun exploring Hyrule then progressing the story arc.
And finally, 22-25 deaths. This type of player probably dies a fair amount and continues. I don't think the player's so anal to restart the game every time he succumbs to an army of skeletons. read