Round Table: Zelda Memories

Zelda, Link and Ganon turn 25 this year, you thought we weren’t going to celebrate?

By Adam Sorice. Posted 11/28/2011 14:00 1 Comment     ShareThis

Zelda 25th Anniversary masthead

Aaron Roberts

My parents rented The Legend of Zelda for me back in the eighties — things were awesome then, in case I haven’t told you — because of the commercial on TV. Can’t remember if it was the “Zelda? ZELDA?!!” one or the Zelda rap one. Not important. Anyways, I was like the other cool kids back then and had the original issue of Nintendo Power Magazine, which detailed every bit of the second quest, including how to start at it from the beginning (hint: make your name “Zelda”).

It's dangerous to go alone, take this The Legend of Zelda screen NES 8-bit funny
By challenging the bonus quest right off the bat, Aaron needed all the help he could get.

Which I did. I kind of didn’t even realize there was a “first” quest since I was so busy trying to conquer the invisible doors, one-way doors, and decoy rooms in all of the tough-as-nails dungeons. I rented the game two or three times, each time entering my name as “Zelda.” I don’t think I have ever successfully beaten the Second Quest, though I guess I can try since I own the game in no less than three forms now. It wasn’t until I was sixteen that I saw the game for sale super cheap and snapped it up, then thought to myself, “What would happen if I entered my name as something else?”

This thought was quite clever, as when I did so, the dungeons, items, and enemies were in (mostly) new places, although for some reason the game was far, far easier than I was accustomed to. Needless to say, it took me about five hours or less of play time to finish the original game in its entirety.

Andy Hoover

I have more Zelda memories than I can remember, but one that stands out for me happened when I was playing through Majora’s Mask. It wasn’t some major even in the story, or even a particular gameplay element. Nope, instead it was just a perfect day: Halloween to be precise.

Where I live it was a perfect autumn day, the leaves where orange, red, and falling and the sky was blanketed in grey clouds; any other time of year it would have been dank and depressing, but for Halloween it was perfect. At this point in my life I was a little too old to be trick-or-treating so I decided to stay in with Majora’s Mask and spend the whole evening playing it. If I remember correctly I was working through the Snowhead area at the time and everything just seemed to click: the gameplay was amazing, the environment was beautifully crated, the dungeon and its boss where both very memorable, the real world weather was great for gaming, and the fact it was Halloween just made playing Majora’s Mask all the more appropriate. This was just one of those magical moments where every facet of the real and virtual worlds came together to create an amazing, enthralling experience.

Oh, and there was also the time where Twilight Princess almost killed me. The game out shortly before Thanksgiving, so by the time the holiday rolled around I was far more interested in beating the water temple than eating turkey. Unfortunately, your family generally expects you to partake in such festivities so began scarfing down my food as fast I could to get back to the game but apparently I wasn’t eating as fast as I was shoving food in my face so I started to choke. Thankfully my brother performed the Heimlich Maneuver. I then caught my breath, finished eating, then went back to gaming.

Katharine Byrne

Much like Mel, I was a spectator before I was a player. Saturday after Saturday I would come downstairs at the crack of dawn and watch my older brothers play both the original Zelda and Zelda II: The Adventure of Link on our NES. I loved everything about them– the music, the story, the fighting… and eventually, after much nagging and whining, they finally let me have a go. Suffice to say, I never did very well. When you’ve only got the dexterity and attention-span of a five year old, death came swift and often. Getting past the first dungeon was huge achievement for me in those days, but my repeated failures did any but discourage me from trying again.

Marin & Link, The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening
Some have argued that Link’s Awakening is even sadder than a Death Cab For Cutie concert on Valentine’s Day.

One of my most cherished titles though is Link’s Awakening on Game Boy. It was the subject of much contention on family holidays– who would get to play it, for how long and in what order were all important parts of negotiating how the four of us (I have a younger brother too) would share it during long car journeys. But sibling rivalry aside, it was the first Zelda game I ever completed, and I remember feeling so accomplished because I had beaten it without any help (mostly). Eagle’s Tower also remains one of my top dungeons of all time– although I always got lost when the pillars started moving, its complex level design could give any console dungeon a run for its money. It was pure genius.

Of course, Ocarina of Time was also spectacular and if there had been any doubt of me being a Zelda fanatic before 1998, then Ocarina of Time would have put an end to that without hesitation. But it’s Majora’s Mask which is perhaps a little more special to me, mostly because it was the first game I ever owned personally. My brothers were starting to grow out of gaming by that time, but I was just twelve years old when Majora’s Mask came out and I wasn’t finished with Zelda, or indeed video games, by a long shot. Majora’s Mask marked the beginning of me taking over the family Nintendo gauntlet, and the rest, as they say, is history.

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One Response to “Round Table: Zelda Memories”

  • 54 points
    JAY Hosh says...

    My first ever Zelda game was Spirit Tracks, of course I was also a late adopter. But once I played it I was hooked, and I couldn’t imagine how I lived without the series, it was like living without Mario!

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