My favorite sound in the world is the Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time soundtrack. Video game music is designed to be entertaining enough to keep you interested in the action of the game, but simplistic enough to not distract you from your objective. Older video games are typically set to a collection of playful beeps at different octaves, and newer video games feature beautiful scores akin to that of a major motion picture. On a timeline of video game releases Ocarina of Time falls somewhere in the middle, consequently, its score is a unique reflection of its era in video game history. The soundtrack combines the light and uncomplicated technique of older video games with the burgeoning adventurous and exhilarating compositions of newer games to create a simplistic, youthful beauty. Although I do love the game’s songs and I view them each as masterpieces, from the catchy flutes of the forest that exude innocence to the rousing and intrepid orchestration of the adventure’s open fields to the haunting and suspenseful songs that occupy its dark nights and dungeons, this soundtrack means far more to me than just something that is simply pleasing to the ear. This game was the first I had ever learned to play, and it was taught to me by my two older brothers.
The soundtrack sends me back to a time when the three of us would huddle in front of the television, enveloped by the large leather couch in the basement of my family’s house in Vermont. Often we could not leave the house due to snow-ins or simple exhaustion, so we would settle on firing up our Nintendo 64. Usually, a brief period of conflict or disagreement on what game to play would ensue, but we would typically decide on playing Ocarina despite our plethora of choices.
We would complete all the tasks of the game together and often scream and throw ourselves exasperatedly on the floor at the game’s more frustrating parts. Since those early days with my brothers, I’ve played the game multiple times, and it has never lost its appeal or importance to me. I can always pick it up and I never feel lost or confused no matter what part of the game I had previously reached or how long it has been since I had last played. The game has been a strange constant in my life since my childhood and it never ceases to convey its intrinsic sense of childlike wonder. The reason the soundtrack to Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time is my favorite sound in the world is not simply because the songs are beautiful, well-crafted, and pleasant. The reason is that, to me, it sounds like home, and it sounds like family.