GSQ5: Link has come to town, come to save the princess Zelda

Being that October is the month that nebulously encompasses the vague anniversary of the American launch date for the NES, I’ve decided that every day this month will include an NES-themed post. This is not to say that other content won’t be showing up, but you can rest assured that there will be something NES-related to read every single day this month. Unless I miss an update or something. I am but a mere human.

Today’s update features Master Osterritter’s thesis on the glories of The Legend of Zelda, a game which, I have been told, is really rad. I don’t know about that, but it is incredibly engrossing, to the point that it caused me to suffer a terrible lack of social grace on at least one occasion. I had a friend over to hang out the same day that a different friend lent me his copy of Zelda and kind of… ended up ignoring the guest in favor of the game. He ultimately hung out with my brother all night, and they had a grand ol’ time, so all was well. But I do feel kind of embarrassed about that. On the other hand, I managed to clear the first four dungeons in that night, so at least I had something to show for my shameful rudeness.

For some reason, I still remember with startling clarity the act of beating the game a couple of weeks later. I was struggling my way through Death Mountain and had been making no progress for a few hours when my parents decided it was time to go mow the lawn, right now, no arguments. I grumbled as I pushed the mower for an hour in the brutal heat of a Texas summer afternoon, but, in a flash of either insight or heat stroke, suddenly visualized the solution to my problem as I reached the end of my ordeal. The instant I was finished with the yard, I was back on the NES, and within half an hour had struck the final, fatal blow against PRINCE DARKNESS ‘GANNON.’ And that is the amazing true story of how I finished Zelda while being incredibly filthy and stinky.

Three days later I completed the Second Quest. I’m not sure I knew the word “masochism” at that age, but I certainly understood the concept.

8 thoughts on “GSQ5: Link has come to town, come to save the princess Zelda

  1. Man, I’m still a sucker for the original manual art (as in the banner above) for the first two Zelda games. I’d like to see Nintendo craft a Zelda game someday that looked like that than the LOTR/Tron-skewed weirdness of Twilight Princess.

  2. I wonder why the other Zelda games don’t have second quests (besides Ocarina)? Seems like an easy way to extend the value of the game…

  3. Mudron, I am the exact same way about Link to the Past/Link’s Awakening. That classic 70s/80s anime look, shades of Gatchaman; it just really works for me.

  4. The funny part is that – from a truly objective point-of-view – the anime-style art in those manuals sn’t even necessarily all that great (the bits taking place in Hyrule Castle were pretty generic fantasy-castle fluff), but that art did such a great job helping flesh out the world presented in those spartan graphics that as a kid, you couldn’t help but get jazzed when you saw what it was *supposed* to look like when Link gets attacked by a fire-breathing Ironknuckle.

  5. @Refa: I’d assume it’s easier to do alternate dungeon designs when your dungeons are made up of a limited pool of room layouts that mainly differ in contents and door locations. OoT’s Master Quest was sorta neat, but it felt like more of a “more agitating puzzles edition” than a for real second quest.

    Maybe it’s just because it has maps and shops and medicine and healing faeries, but The Legend of Zelda feels like it’s aged a lot better than Metroid has.

  6. As someone who grew up with a SNES as my first console, I always find the NES progenitors of my favourite games very hard to play. They just don’t click for me I guess. I can (and irregularly do) play through Link To The Past and Super Metroid start to finish just about with my eyes closed, but have repeatedly failed to get far into this or Metroid. I can understand the love, but I can’t recommend to anyone who never had a NES as a kid that they should play them.

  7. I enjoyed your anecdote about Zelda consuming your social life. My brother pestered me to go with the playground with him one afternoon when I was on the sixth dungeon. After I ignored him for a half hour, he ejected the cart and had me chase him outside, whereupon he smashed it on the driveway. Thus, the spell was broken.

  8. This was actually one of the first NES games I ever witnessed. I visited a classmates house, and was enthralled the whole time to see the bit of the game he was playing. Guess I was doomed from that point.

    Ironically, the game I asked for, however, was Zelda 2 when I got my NES. And despite it differing wildly from the first, I enjoyed it a lot (when I wasn’t stuck, dang it!).

    Anyway, Zelda was eventually acquired from the semi-local pawn shop, and all was right in the world.

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