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Windmill Paradox – The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

December 8, 2011 4 comments

In The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time the player is given control of Link, the hero time. Time has already appeared again as an agent of paradox as in past examples. Throughout the adventure Link has been tasked with saving the world by traveling through time. Eventually the player comes to an impasse. An invisible beast has ransacked a town and it is revealed that only a certain artifact can be used to defeat the creature. In order to attain the item the player must go back in time and explore a dungeon beneath the town’s well. However the well is full of water keeping the hero from venturing further. Upon traveling the future Link enters the town’s windmill which houses a strange organ grinder playing a mysterious tune. Upon talking to the man he is furious about an incident that occurred seven years earlier, the time of “young” Link, in which a small boy, dressed similar to the way the player is attired, plays a magical song that causes the windmill to malfunction and drain the well. In his frustration the organ grinder teaches Link the song. Afterward the player returns to the past and plays the song inside the windmill to drain the well and continue on with the adventure. In doing so the player creates a paradoxical loop otherwise known as a self-fulfilling prophecy.

In a paradoxical loop, or self-fulfilling prophecy, one thing in the chain causes the other and vice versa. In this example the loop hinges on the organ grinder. He hears the song at one point in time and teaches that same song in another. However he would have never heard the song in the first place had he not taught the song to Link in the first place. This causes a paradox. It shouldn’t be possible, but it has happened none-the-less. This adds a layer of mystery to the proceedings. The player is left to wonder who this character, Link, is and how he can manipulate time, achieving the impossible. It is this strong feeling of mystery that draws the player in to eventually finish the story and narrative. This scenario and others like it help to establish this game as a masterpiece of the interactive entertainment medium.

Here is a clip showing the first half of the paradox:

 

Works Cited:

euphoricnerd, prod. Song of Storms – I MAKE IT RAIN. 2011. Film. <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PQYx6DL8H4o&gt;.

Miyamoto, Shigeru, dir. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. Yoichi Yamada, Eiji Aonuma, Yoshiaki Koizumi, dirs. Nintendo. 1998. Video Game.

Categories: narrative, paradox, videogame