A Link to my Past… [UPDATED]

I’ve never played a Legend of Zelda game before.  There, I said it. Now before I get tar and feathered, let me explain.

I’m 30 years old now and I didn’t like RPG’s when I was young. I remember playing Legend of Zelda at a friend’s house and not liking it, so as a child it shaped what I thought of the series. Back when I was too young to make my own money, I’d only get two games a year…one for my birthday and one for Christmas. Therefore Zelda wasn’t ever a choice since I didn’t like the series previously (or RPG’s in general) and there were other games I knew I’d like that if I didn’t get now, it’d be months and months before I get to play. Back in the PSone/N64 era, my parents bought me a PlayStation for Christmas instead of a N64, so I never got to play the N64 era Zelda games either.

Like many other gamers at the time, Final Fantasy VII opened my eyes to the genre and my fondness for RPG’s has grown from there.  It’s now one of my favorite genres. The lack of Legend of Zelda in my life dawned on me with the release of Spirit Tracks.

Being the OCD gamer that I am, I knew I wouldn’t play a Legend of Zelda game unless I played at least most of them and in order. Fast forward more than 20 years later and here I am, a hardcore gamer that grew up playing the NES and SNES yet somehow never played a Zelda game (at least not significantly so). I’m changing that now.

Starting with Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, I plan to go back and play most of the Legend of Zelda games in order with my goal being that I play through them all before the newest Zelda game comes out. I should be getting the GBA version of A Link to the Past any day now (I went with that version because it’s portable so I have more chances to play and finish it quickly) which I’ll be playing on my DS. Thank god for the DS Lite’s ability to play GBA games and Virtual Console for letting us download older Nintendo games, otherwise there wouldn’t be much of a chance for me to do this!

Anyway, I thought it would be fun to chronicle my time playing through 20 years worth of Legend of Zelda games from a modern perspective without any nostalgia for the series shaping my thoughts. I know there are some that probably envy the position I am in and wish they could experience some of their favorite Legend of Zelda games for the first time all over again so I’m really looking forward to playing A Link to the Past and hope I can meet my goal. Being a 30 year old parent with a family and responsibilities, I’m sure it will be tough but I think its a feasible task. I think a part of me wants to get this out there for as many people to know as possible in order to push me to complete my goal. I’ll be posting my findings and letting you know what I think along the way.

Wish me luck!

[UPDATE] So it took waaaay longer than I anticipated, but I’ve finally beaten Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past.  I think the mistake I made here was going with the GBA Version.  Simply put, I’m more likely to play a game on a console as opposed to a handheld.  With all that said, what did I think of the game?

Well, I really did enjoy it although I’ll readily admit that it got long in the tooth towards the end.  It doesn’t help that I love exploring so I initially played the game looking for every single object I could collect.  One of the things that I enjoyed about collecting items is how you could actually see them on your character.  Some games don’t even get that right to this day, so I was pretty impressed that this game did it so long ago.

Not only that, but most of the things you could collect were super helpful.  I loved the cape, hook shot, and the different ways they manipulated fire.  The game really rewarded you for exploring every nook and cranny of it.

For me, the backtracking got to be tedious towards latter parts of the game but I think a bit of that had to do with me trying to power through it because I’m looking forward to playing OoT and Majora’s Mask.  Unfortunately, I think 30 year old me is a lot less patient than 8-9 year old me.  Back in those days, I could play Mega Man 1 & 2 all the way through and love every single second of it.  These days, I played Mega Man 9 and couldn’t get past the demo. LOL!

Gannon was a bitch to get past, but I finally got the hang of it.  Having to keep the lamps on towards the end of the boss fight was a nice touch.

Although I never played a Zelda game before, I think every one knows the Zelda theme.  The thing that really stood out that I really wasn’t thinking too much about going into it was the music.  Just great music all around.  There’s a lot of the songs that I still have stuck in my head.

So overall, I had a good time with the game.  I could definitely recognize all of the creative things the game did between art direction, level design, and exploration.  With that said, I’m looking forward to checking out Ocarina of Time!

Seeing game play from Zelda: Skyward Sword really helped motivate me to beat this game.  That game looks like a lot of fun.

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7 Responses to A Link to my Past… [UPDATED]

  1. AJ says:

    Good luck! You should document each hour played to keep tally of how long it takes to go through the entire series. I take it you are going to skip the original Gameboy ones? Unless you happen to have a Gameboy Color or something.

  2. Marc says:

    Good luck, and I look forward to hearing your thoughts! I am actually planning to go through the series at some point in the future too (hopefully soon), since I have only ever beaten the GBC games and even that was probably close to 10 years ago. In fact, I almost started A Link to the Past three days ago, but opted for Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga instead. I hope to beat that game in the next few days and get (re-)started on A Link to the Past soon.

    Also, I hope you don’t skip the GBC games since, as I’ve told you before, I believe them to be some of the best video games ever made on any platform. And you don’t have to take just my word (and AJ’s) for it…if you go through the IGN archives, I believe they all received perfect 10’s.

  3. John Nieves says:

    I would definitely consider playing the Gameboy Color Zelda games, but I don’t have any way of actually playing them, so they are out by default. It’s ok though, I have plenty of Zelda games to playthrough as it is. LOL

    AJ, that’s a good idea. Maybe I should use the stopwatch on my phone every time I play to keep track. LOL

  4. Blake says:

    Hmmm

  5. John Nieves says:

    Yea, yea I know. 😛

    Now that the crazy summer of games has died down (and I finally beat RDR), I can finish A Link to the Past. Obviously I don’t have the same adulation for the series as some people, but I’ve really enjoyed my time with A Link to the Past. I think I need to stop sweating getting all of the little things (like getting all of the hearts) and just beat the mofo.

  6. Hey there just wanted to give you a quick heads up. The text in your post seem to be running off the screen in Firefox.
    I’m not sure if this is a formatting issue or something
    to do with browser compatibility but I figured I’d post to let you know.
    The layout look great though! Hope you get the issue resolved soon.
    Cheers

  7. John Nieves says:

    Thanks for the feedback. I’m not sure what’s going on with that. I can’t recreate it on PC or laptop.

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