The Oracle games appear to take characters straight from OoT and MM. This is well and good, until you figure out the Time Line Placement and realize that the Oracle games happen at least a generation, at most centuries, after OoT. And how did characters from MM get into Hyrule anyway? Also, when playing both Oracle games, the same characters, and some of the same items, appear in both games. Did the game designers get lazy, or is there a reason for this madness?
First of all, if you understand The Link System, the reason for having the same characters in both Oracles is simple. After you beat one Oracle game, several characters (like Impa, the farmers Bipin and Blossom, etc.) and all the animal friends (Ricky, Dimitri, Moosh) move on to the other land. That is why you meet them in the next game.
Now, the reason why some of the same items appear in both Oracle games is more complicated. Let's take the Roc's Feather, for example. I'm not pretending for a second that the same Roc's Feather is in both games. I assume that, after Link is finished with one quest, he returns all the items that he's found because he is done using them. Link is not greedy. He then finds more items in his next quest. So how come there is a Roc's Feather in both games, if they are not the same item? Let's imagine for a moment a sage named Roc. He has discovered the magic needed to make people jump higher. He infuses this magic into several items. These items take the shape of feathers, and Roc calls all of them Roc's Feathers. As centuries pass, the Roc's Feathers are passed down and moved around the world, until finally they are hidden deep in dungeons, so that only those worthy can find them. I believe this is the case with every boomerang, hookshot, Mirror Shield, Zora's Flipper, etc., in every single Zelda game. It's not a case of the same item, but of similar items.
Now, for the characters in the Oracle games that seem to be taken straight out of MM. Let's look at the MM characters first. Termina is a parallel world, which means that it is similar to, but not exactly like, Hyrule. Both have similar and yet different histories and people. So Termina and Hyrule, because they are so similar, will have what I call "doubles." Doubles are people who look and act the same in both Hyrule and Termina, like Malon and Cremia, or Darunia and Darmani. Taking the theory of doubles, it does not necessarily follow that both lands will produce double characters in the same time frame. So if Tingle lives in Termina during a certain time period, it doesn't necessarily follow that Hyrule has his double in the same time period, or has his double at all. The two lands might have such different histories that they won't produce doubles of some people. If Tingle has a double in Hyrule, he is as likely to appear in one time period as another. So the fact that the Hyrulian Tingle lives centuries "after" the Terminan Tingle, makes little difference. Hyrule and Termina are so different that it's no surprise that any doubles would be separated by centuries.
Finally, let's look at the characters that seem to come from OoT. I won't begin to suggest that they are the same characters, because of the time gap between OoT and Oracle. We have several possible choices, if we are to keep our sanity:
(1) Malon, Talon, Ingo, etc., are descendants of the original characters in OoT. The names were simply passed down generation to generation because of tradition.
(2) The similar characters in Oracle don't actually represent "real" people. In making the games, Nintendo has tried to recreate the history of a certain period of time. Historical documents don't often talk about common people like lazy carpenters, ranchers, etc. Therefore, in order to flesh out the games, Nintendo has to make characters of their own. In deciding which characters to put into the games, Nintendo likes to choose the same kinds of characters. Therefore, when we have Malon the chicken keeper, we don't have a real person that actually lived in Hyrule - we have Nintendo's conception of the ideal "chicken keeper," given the standard name of "Malon." Ingo isn't a real person - he is Nintendo's ideal conception of the "grumpy, self-absorbed man," given the standard label of "Ingo."
The second possibility would make Nintendo's games seem very symbolic instead of historical. But having cookie-cutter characters, so to speak, doesn't really impair the historical reliability of the games. Minor characters aren't that important; one could almost have any characters in the Zelda games. What is important is the main, overbranching story, which is the real history.
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