Did you know a new Zelda game out came last week? (You may have heard some vague rumblings, we understand you have busy lives.) Well to celebrate the launch of The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword we spent Issue 76 celebrating and discussing all things Zelda, from our favourite villain poll and a look at the future of the franchise to our top ten boss battles, heated debates on the environments of Zelda and a teary-eyed discussion from video game’s biggest journalists about what Zelda means to them.
Well as great as all that was, we didn’t feel like we’d fangasmed quite enough so here’s one last hurrah to Zelda: our memories of the franchise that first brought us Ganon, Zelda, Link and the Triforced twenty-five years ago.
Similar to our Metroid Memories round table (unfortunately, there’s nostalgia-laden words beginning with Z) the entire staff came together to share their favourites moments from Link’s adventures, ranging from Link’s Awakening to Ocarina of Time and back again.
The first memory I had of Zelda was watching my sister playing the original it on our Nintendo. You see, when I was younger I hardly ever got to play any games because my brother and sister hogged the NES. I’d just watch and strategize what I would do if they only gave me a chance to take the controller. Due to this, the first thing I really took in were the 8-bit graphics and the music. I remembered how much I loved the main theme. As other Zelda games came out, I got into them but not as passionately.
It wasn’t until I got The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time when I became a full fledged Zelda fanatic. I was 13 years old when it came out (though I didn’t get it till my 14th birthday a few months later) and with the newly acquired Nintendo 64, I took right to the game and played it all the way through (admittedly I got a little help in the Water Temple due to frustration). I still think it’s the best video game of all-time…or at least Top 5 material at worst. It’s just that damn good.
Plus “Zelda’s Lullaby” was the first thing I learned on the piano (well..at least just the basic melody of it…I’m not piano prodigy by any means…)
I was a little late to the Zelda party, the main reason being that my first console was the Sega Genesis. As a kid, my older siblings picked the consoles, and I played them unquestioningly. Instead of jars and Deku nuts, I was picking up pixelated, health-regenerating meats in Golden Axe II.
And I have no regrets. Nintendo’s catalog for everyone’s favorite elf is very much available in many different forms. But anyway, the first Zelda game I actually beat was Wind Waker, a game making an effortless entry into my top five.
How some fans could ever complain about the game’s artistic direction is beyond me: vibrant colors, matt gray smoke roiling upward, seafoam curling around the Red Lion’s prow… Wind Waker is beautiful, and timeless in its bold aesthetic. Two memories stand out.
The first comes after Link proves himself in the Tower (and eyes) of the Gods. The sober and imposing dungeon ends in an appropriately peaceful scene, as Link makes his way to the bell tower, latches his grapple hook to a crosspiece beneath it, and swings. The bell rings, announcing Link’s standing as messiah to the world of islands. In an act of restraint, the developers were sure to present the scene without music. Just the wind blowing.
The second is the late-game realization that, in a world of high fantasy – of dark magic and clashing pantheons – no potion is stronger than grandma’s soup. Quest to the farthest reaches of the world you will, but nowhere find a liquid more advantageous than grandma’s soup. And that advantage is simple, numeric, objective. Grandma’s soup will restore your health and magic fully, and endow your sword with double damage until you yourself take any. What’s more, one jar holds two servings of the stuff. What other game leads you to love and recognize the importance of your ancestors?