Wrong warping, sequence breaking and running through code: systemic contiguity and narrative architecture in 'The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time' any% speedrun

Newman, J (2019) 'Wrong warping, sequence breaking and running through code: systemic contiguity and narrative architecture in 'The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time' any% speedrun.' Journal of the Japanese Association for Digital Humanities, 4 (1). pp. 7-36. ISSN 2188-7276

Official URL: https://doi.org/10.17928/jjadh.4.1_7

Abstract

This article focuses on Nintendo’s influential and much-celebrated 1998 videogame The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (hereafter OoT). In particular, it explores the often unexpectedly creative and wholly transformative ways in the game is played by ‘speedrunners.’ Seeking to race through the game as quickly as possible, speedrunners play in a distinctive way that combines mastery of performance execution with a deep knowledge of the game’s operation and how its systems may be exploited. Speedrunning performances are creative because they involve astonishingly detailed investigations of the minutiae of game behaviors. They are transformative because they disrupt and even invert much-vaunted aspects of the game as sequences that slow down progress are circumvented. As such, what would otherwise class as crucial moments in the storyline, key character development and even locales, are not only raced through but are actively skipped. Compared with the game’s narrative, the connectivity of its spaces, and the complex but clearly mapped passage of time as set out in Nintendo’s officially-endorsed ‘Strategy Guides’ (see Buchanan et al 1998; Hollinger et al 1998; Loe and Guess 1998), the OoT speedrun constructs an altogether different game with vastly altered priorities. And so, the offer to, ‘Join legendary hero Link as he journeys across Hyrule, and even through time, to thwart the plans of Ganondorf.’ (Nintendo 2017), is recast as a breakneck dash to the closing credits sequence evading and avoiding all but the essential moments of gameplay.

Item Type: Article
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Divisions: School of Creative Industries
Identification Number: https://doi.org/10.17928/jjadh.4.1_7
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Date Deposited: 08 Mar 2018 16:09
Last Modified: 05 Feb 2020 13:55
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