We're all busy people: living our lives, doing our doings, and lately trying to do it all without going to any of the places. Sometimes, we miss things. Sometimes, you forget to buy your spouse a birthday card, which has consequences ranging from meaningful sighs to the summoning of lawyers. Other times, you forget to play Legend of Zelda, which has consequences ranging from shocked silences to the summoning of flames heretofore reserved for things like proofing steel and climate control in Dante’s 6th circle (which is sort of fitting, now that I think about it).
So yeah, I never played a Zelda game, unless you count that hour or two of The Legend of Zelda that I played back in 2017 . But honestly, who remembers that far back? It has to be a decade or two ago, right? I bet you wouldn’t have even remembered if I hadn’t said anything.
I was aware of Zelda in its time, but when I saw people play it, it looked boring. There were few enemies, and the ones there were looked annoying to fight. Plus, there was no direction at all. What? I’m expected to go looking for stuff, and sometimes I’ll find stuff that I can’t do because I looked in the wrong place? And I’ll have to remember how to get back once I learned how to do the thing? And projectiles are limited? Nope, nope, nope.
Why would anyone play that when there were games like Jackal and Smash TV? Now those were games that knew what to do with a top-down perspective!
So yeah, I skipped Zelda. Deliberately, and with extreme prejudice. (I also thought Dragon Warrior was a case of legally actionable false advertising).
Say, is it getting warm in here?
The years have come and gone like a camouflaged lizard who’s recently discovered Taoism, and I’ve changed like everything else under its withering gaze. I’ve cultivated an appreciation of boring things like when people in flannel shirts cultivate an appreciation of beers that taste of soap. Have you seen my recent playtime? I put a dozen hours into a game that simulates painting a house.
I also played Breath of the Wild, and loved it to itty-bitty pieces. If that’s the feeling people had while playing the original Zelda games, sign me up!
But which one? There have been—and this is an accurate count—about seven million Zelda games. And that’s not even including those CD-I titles, which people like to pretend didn’t happen, or Majora's Mask, which people like to wish hadn’t happened. Shall I start with the earliest entry, or try to find the definitive experience? Will it be polygons or pixels? Should I be staring at the top of Link’s head, one of his shoulders, or his butt?
After some deliberation, I decided I should probably play the one that is considered the most seminal, the gold standard, if you will. I don’t think anyone would argue against that honor going to The Wand of Gamelon.
But that game is hard to come by. Plus, I don’t have a CD-I, and there don’t seem to be any reliable emulators for it. Certainly not any I’m comfortable installing on my PC.
So, I guess I’ll have to go with A Link to the Past because it’s also seminal, and because I already have access to it through my Switch Online membership. It’s kind of like watching Rocky V because Rocky IV isn’t available on Netflix; it will have to do. Do you see the sacrifices I make for you people?
Also, this month is the 28th anniversary of the North American release of A Link to the Past, which if you ask me, should have been clue enough as to which one I was going to play.
So here’s the deal: I’m going to take a month to play as much of Linkage to Days of Yore as I can, and at the end of this month, I will report back with my impressions. With luck, I’ll finally understand the hype. Or with a different kind of luck, I’ll have something humorous to say about it. Perhaps both.
Either way, see you later this month!