Now this brings back some serious memories. We got the first Nintendo for Christmas when my brother and I were quite young, and our folks sprang for the whole ‘entertainment system’. We had the light gun, the robot (remember, the guy with the spinning tops that was good for only one game), and a few games to boot. That was when gaming systems came with games, and more than one, so you could get started right out of the box.
One of the games we got was The Legend of Zelda, and this could arguably be what started my passion for fantasy (can’t thank my parents enough for that.) This was before I started reading, role playing, or had really been exposed to anything else fantasy related. I remember sitting right there in the mess of Christmas morning, after hooking the Nintendo up, and playing Zelda. I’m sure we played the other games, I remember Mario and Duck Hunt and all the others, but Zelda is in the forefront and I know we played that game until our thumbs near fell off and our eyes dried up in their sockets. I remember dreaming that game, and hearing the music in my head even when it wasn’t running. Hells I haven’t played a Zelda game in some time and I can easily pull up any piece of music from that game in my head, like shuffling music on a jukebox.
If you haven’t played Zelda…get out (just kidding). If you haven’t had the pleasure of experiencing this game, it revolves around the story of a boy named Link who is tasked with rescuing Princess Zelda and saving the world of Hyrule. I don’t remember this game touching on it, but generally Link begins the story as an everyman, a regular kid who has no knowledge of just how special he is. That varies slightly from game to game, but in all the ones I’ve played, that’s how they start us out. So you play a character that starts out a Joe Nobody, and with the help of a magical sword, faeries, and the mystical triforce you set out to save the world. Pretty firkin sweet!
This version is a top-down adventure game filled with puzzles, traps, monsters, and bosses. You travel across the land of Hyrule, completing quests and defeating bosses until you eventually face off against Gannon, the villain that is threatening everything. So at the end of the day it’s a fairly basic formula, one that is used over and over again throughout literature and games, but it’s the delivery and backstory that makes it great. It’s one of the few early fantasy games that didn’t try to copy Tolkein style fantasy. The world is extremely unique, from the origin myths to magic and races. I think that’s one of the reasons Zelda has stood the test of time and become one of the most popular fantasy game franchises in history.
Now, feast your eyes on some old school game play.