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Lost Windows: Gohma

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Wind Waker’s stained glass official artworks are some of my favorite design pieces from any game, and I’ve always wished that there were more of them. All of them are beautiful, but my favorite is the large one of Link and the Helmaroc King. It always made me wonder what the other bosses would have looked like in the stained glass style, but since Nintendo didn’t draw them, I took a stab at it myself.

The Wind Waker remains my favorite Zelda game, with Ocarina of Time nearly tied. I know I’ve gone on about WW’s merits in the past, but I still can’t praise it enough. I’m willing to admit that it had gameplay flaws—personally, I wasn’t bothered by all the sailing, though I can understand losing interest at the Triforce shard quest—but on a whole I found it so enjoyable that it was easy for me to overlook any problems in favor of immersing myself in its fantastic world and atmosphere. Wind Waker’s universe was beautiful, rendered in a timelessly simple and clean style that brought it to life for me; I liked running around in different areas and just watching how the torches or fireflies lit up the surroundings. Every boss looked and felt epic, and even the regular enemies usually had interesting designs, not to mention the array of charming and amusing characters that populated the Great Sea. The game was brimming with uniqueness and personality; uncharted and abandoned as the ocean might have been, the one thing I associate with Wind Waker’s world is life.

It’s probably partly nostalgia that makes me love Wind Waker so much; I played it at an age when I had the time to explore to the edges of the giant map before moving on to the next goal. If I had tried to follow a linear path through this game, I’m sure I would have had complaints; you really need to stop and look around and do the sidequests to get the full experience of the game. WW brought in an element of open-world exploration that was less suppressed than in the other 3D Zeldas. That freedom to explore the map and make discoveries on your own was one of the primary things I enjoyed about the earliest Zeldas, so WW’s blending of this element with the rich characters and world expected of the 3D games was a winning combination to me. I loved that huge sea chart and tracking down all the islands just to see what was there. I always found the sailing relaxing, especially with that great music in the background and the atmospheric weather and lighting, and I enjoyed stopping to find treasures on the way (am I the only one who completely didn’t notice that Tingle was charging high prices because I had already amassed so many rupees by the time I ran into him?).

I’m replaying this again, and wandering around the map still hasn’t gotten old; walking into the sunken Hyrule Castle and seeing it flood with color is still a nostalgic thrill. As much as I love OoT and consider it a more rounded gameplay experience overall, WW is my favorite Zelda because I know that I can sit down with it any time and have a smile brought to my face by its sheer amount of vibrant character.
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