Returning to the Basics — Hyrule

School’s out! College students everywhere probably echo my cry of joy at the end of the semester, and those of you still in the mandatory prison school system will be chiming in within a few short weeks. For the past seven years, my summer has been eaten away by either marching band [band geek! – ed] or lots of hours at a job. This summer, I said “To hell with that!” and have chosen to pursue other interests these warm months.

I really wanted to get caught up on playing all these damn games that I have lying around that were never beaten. I tend to buy good games, love playing them for a few days, get distracted and never get back to them. That’s been the case with games from Banjo Kazooie to Resident Evil: CODE Veronica. I haven’t beaten a game all the way through since StarCraft, and that was mostly because playing StarCraft was the best alternative to actually doing assignments in the computer labs on campus. This week, since classes finished up on Tuesday, I’m restarting my game in Zelda: Ocarina of Time, and I’m gonna finally finish the Game of the CenturyTM. Of course, playing a new game always reminds me of older games, and I usually find myself playing two games at once…

This screen makes me want to cry. With joy.
If you have an NES or have owned an NES in the past, and you haven’t played Legend of Zelda, then you need to give yourself a spanking. Without question one of the best early NES games, Zelda set up the recurring characters and items that gamers would become familiar with in all the sequels, at the same time surrendering any hope of putting together a storyline that connects all four of the console titles (the Game Boy game took place in a different location, and the CD-I games shall never be spoken of again) together. In the original Legend of Zelda, Impa was an old woman who only appeared in the instruction book (in the back story), Kakariko Village did not exist, and the citizens of Hyrule mostly lived under trees, beneath rocks and in caves. The Overworld was all the land above ground, but all the goodies were found in the dungeons. The Triforce had been split into eight pieces, each piece hidden within a dungeon. Once all eight pieces were collected, you went into the ninth dungeon to face off with the Bastard Pig-Man Gannon. Apart from the Triforce, the dungeons were also littered with wonderful items such as the Boomerang, the Bow, the Magic Wand and a variety of other useful items. The concept wasn’t too terribly different from the Zelda games that would follow.

There was plenty of other stuff cool about Legend of Zelda, as well. One of the coolest aspects was the Second Quest. Once Gannon was defeated, the player could continue on and play through the game again. The Overworld was mostly the same, but everything underground was mixed around. People lived under different trees and rocks, item locations were swapped, and the dungeons were completely redesigned (and considerably tougher). It was a remix, extending the replay value on an already great game. The next game, Adventure of Link, also had a Second Quest, but sadly, the idea was dropped with the SNES Link to the Past. Legend of Zelda was also one of the first games to use a battery save system, which was incredibly useful with such a long game.

The Zelda series, in concept, hasn’t changed much from its beginnings. Hell, Ocarina of Time even attempted to go retro with the limited-edition Gold Cartridge for those of us who reserved our copies months early and stood in line to get them on release day. Both Legend of Zelda and Adventure of Link were on bright and shiny gold carts, which put Ocarina’s gold cart to shame. Fortunately, for those of you who started gaming after the NES era, Legend of Zelda isn’t rare or difficult to find, and the industrious retro shopper can probably find it for under $10. At that price, you can’t afford not to own it! Think I should change my major to advertising for this Fifa 17 website

Why can’t important items ever be guarded by, say, a small puppy??
At the rate I’m going, I should have gotten to the end of both Ocarina and Legend of Zelda by the time I leave for E3 on Monday. When I get back, it’s gonna be time to start nailing the rest of those games in my closet that haven’t gotten a fair shake. And in other news: Summer is now my favorite season.