'Wind Waker' is the Happiest and Most Hopeful Zelda Adventure

With its colorful visuals and swashbuckling exploration, 'Wind Waker' is still a joy to play.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://waypoint.vice.com/en_us/article/9kkqxa/wind-waker-is-the-happiest-and-most-hopeful-zelda-adventure
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Toon Link is Best Link



One of the (several dozen) coolest moments in Wind Waker is when you’re on the ghost ship and there’s like this one small ray of sunlight on a flower in it that you can slash to get some hearts.

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Huh. I had never thought about Wind Waker as having a post apocalyptic setting but it totally does.

I still love Wind Waker. Even if the rough parts have aged somewhat poorly, it will never not remind me of childhood adventures.

I need to revisit this one, but I remember this game very fondly and the music to this day still makes me smile whenever I hear it.

Wind Waker was my first Zelda and is still the best. The unique combat from the counter attacking to the music for every hit, how it doesn’t hold you hand with Link looking at where to start a puzzle, and the art style that is timeless.

Danielle knows what’s good.

I was tweeting about this earlier, thinking about both this video and Austin on Blue Bombin. WInd Waker is very much my favorite game and also not at all a masterpiece.

“I always go back and forth between Wind Waker and Majora’s Mask as my favorite Zelda games. That’s not just because they are both great: but they are tonally complementary games.”

Are you me?

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Windwaker was the first Zelda game I properly ‘got’. I didn’t grow up with an N64 and only dabbled with Ocarina of Time and watched my friend get infuriated with a particular section of Majora’s Mask.

For me, I just love it’s sea faring nature. Moby-Dick is one of my favourite books and for a part of my life when I was delving into academia, I read a lot of maritime fiction - Melville, Conrad, Hemmingway, James Fenimore Cooper. Talking about the boat being this supra-national state, of people ostrasised from the mainland who can only exist out at sea. So it was perhaps obvious that Windwaker would pique my interest. I think at the time of my studying at university, Assassin’s Creed III had come out with the naval sections, which I enjoyed for the most part because it was literally bringing all these stories of tall ships to life, but it still couldn’t hold a candle to the sea faring nature of Windwaker. Though Black Flag did something to alleviate that with it’s open world nature, it’s main problem was that it kept on remembering it was a fucking Assassin’s Creed game. Why go back to land for boring eavesdrop and follow missions, when you can set sail across a beautifully created ocean with your boat and crew singing sea shanties?

I think the joy of Windwaker, is just in the navigation of the ocean. It’s something that Nintendo came across as a theme, and picked apart in their own ingenius way to make something that just clicks so much more effectively than a mini-map dotted with pointless collectibles. For the most part, the ocean is just this flat space for you to navigate, occasionally it changes colour which changes the mood and throws enemies at you when it gets stormy. I think it’s a stroke of genius the way in which you have to plot your course, by taking out the map, figuring out where you want to go and what wind direction you’ll need to get there the fastest. But as you are sailing you perhaps see a group of islands on the horizon slightly East of where you want to go. But you can still get by with the wind blowing in a certain direction to arc yourself over there and grab whatever loot is there.

When the sea music kicks in, those triumphant zelda trumpets over the bassier tones that depict the fluid motion of the ocean below you, the weather settles and you set sail in the right direction with the wind in your sails, the seagulls fly in a delta with your sails as you glide over that gorgeous hue of blue. That has got to be my happy place. Pure magic.

Breath of the Wild was a masterpiece, probably the greatest open world game there has ever been so far, but there was a lot of Windwaker in it’s DNA. Windwaker’s open world was just a lot more simplistic.


It’s still stunning to me just how intense the blowback was to Wind Waker when it was first revealed.

The outrage directed at Windwaker was so disappointing. I loved the art style and the world so much, didn’t understand all the hate.

Twilight Princess felt like such a step backwards after WW. Each game had changed up the formula but TP felt like Nintendo trying to recapture OOT and it wasn’t until 2017 that they pushed the series forward again!

I second TP being a step back. Also, the wolf mechanic stuff was so bad and added very little to the game. I had passionate arguments with people about TP being highly inferior to WW back in the day but now it seems like WW is considered the better game.