Back in the day I was a subscriber to N64 Magazine, an unofficial Nintendo rag here in the UK. Every issue of the magazine contained an unconventional “top 5” list. The one I remember to this day concerns Zelda: Ocarina of Time – the top five locations to watch the sunrise. At the time I didn’t own Ocarina of Time, and it was partly because of this top five list that I went out and bought a copy. “This game must be something special,” I thought, “for it to inspire someone to sit there and passively watch the sunrise in not one, not two, but five different places, and have fun doing it.”
Once I’d gotten Ocarina of Time, I dug out the old magazine to refresh my memory and headed straight to number one on the list to watch the sun come up over Hyrule Castle’s gate. As the familiar sunrise music sounded and a cockrel crowed, the sun became visible over Hyrule Castle Town. Even at the time, the nostalgia was intense.
It wasn’t the most exciting event in the world – in fact it was literally the most everyday event imaginable – but that was the point. It was a relaxed (and relaxing) activity to do. It emphasised the extreme care and detail of Ocarina of Time’s world, with its diverse locations that nonetheless follow the same day-night cycle, making them internally consistent. (Admittedly, there are oddities and exceptions: when inside villages and areas the day-night cycle “pauses”, for instance.)
I’d practically forgotten about my dawn expedition in Ocarina of Time until these past weeks playing Breath of the Wild, where sunrises and sunsets are regular occurrences that contribute to some extremely memorable and beautiful moments. I don’t doubt that there is already someone out there putting together a spiritual successor to N64 Magazine’s top five list, this time for Breath of the Wild’s best sunrise spots. And I can’t wait to see it.