A Review of Watching My Older Brother Play Zelda Ocarina of Time in 1999
I highly recommend this game to any 8 year olds that might be interested in watching their older brother play Nintendo 64.
Four stars, would watch again. The world is incredibly rich, and if you’re not breathing too loudly, your older brother will let you hold the other controller and pretend to be playing for Navi. The trick is to keep a loose grip on the joystick so you can react to what Navi is doing onscreen and maintain this fun illusion for yourself. For those younger bro’s who haven’t watched Ocarina in the past, Navi is the fairy helper that floats along behind Link shouting “Hey! Listen!” This position was actually perfect for me because Navi would usually be totally ignored by my older brother which made the game feel even more realistic.
There are some really beautiful cut scenes where you can bond with your older brother over just watching and not doing anything. This is a good time to offer positive encouragement but a bad time to talk (you might break his concentration).
Work on positive body language that also makes you invisible if possible.
As an eight year old boy you will want to pretend to be holding a sword and mirror the action’s of your older brother’s avatar but RESIST! This is one of Nintendo’s classic traps. I mean your brother probably doesn’t want to give you a demerit and take away one of your watcher-hearts for this, but if you force his hand…? Come on.
Remember: this is a deeply immersive and ground breaking game that you can truly get lost in. However, if your older brother remembers that you’re there he might still make you leave. Even if you’re getting zero pleasure from watching him cut grass for green ruppees for twelve minutes, it’s still important that you stay. You guys are bonding.
Cool, let’s get dive into some of the game mechanics!
You’re going to want to sit behind your older brother but not so close that you’re “crowding” him or “getting up in his space.” You’ll quickly realise that concentration is reeeeally important for playing a game like Zelda. Like incredibly important. An added challenge with this new game is that your dad will put a kitchen timer next to the TV to remind you not to play for more than twenty minutes at a stretch (the argument that the game is “narrative like a book” will not fly, but keep trying!) so focus is crucial. If your older brother is playing poorly, you will be blamed. This might not seem fair but remember, if your older brother succeeds absolutely nothing bad will happen to you probably! So work together.
Some of the dungeons (I’m looking at you Water Temple, haha!) have some pretty complicated maps and puzzles, so your cool older brother has designed a helpful feature called “Genius Awards”. Genius Awards are given to any watcher that offers a suggestion to help solve a puzzle. Think it might be a good idea to water the plant and then ride it to the top of the parapet to fight the lizard warriors? Guess what! If you’re right you get a Genius Award! If you’re wrong you shouldn’t talk for the remaining fifteen minutes on the kitchen timer, which is totally fair. Getting a Genius Award feels great but remember that they are non-transferable, have no value, and immediately expire as soon as the kitchen timer goes off. No roll-over Genius Awards. I mean, where’s the fun in that right?
Sometimes your older brother will go to the bathroom or go on a “snack run” to the kitchen. This gives you a 30–45 second window where you can practice running around or swinging your sword or playing heartbreakingly sad original compositions on the ocarina. These moments will be sweet and pure but will also teach you that you’re not ready to play this game alone. It’s a big scary world out there, and you’re not sexy grown-up/teenager Link. You’re not even cute lil baby Link. You’re just a kid with absolutely zero responsibilities and don’t need to save any kingdom from anything so just enjoy it while it lasts, ok?
It’s not always easy, but you’ll definitely look back fondly on these hazy afternoons spent saving Hyrule with your older brother.
Just make sure you’re not holding the controller when he comes back in, ok?