With 16 full, legit Zelda games in the franchise, obviously I couldn't play them all in one week. I considered the notion of just playing them chronologically, half this week and half another week - but who would want another week of Zelda after this epic one? If I can't fully portray how amazing this series is in a week to all the non-believers, skeptics and rookies, then I'm not doing my job as a writer and a gamer.
So instead, I have decided to play what I see as the most important and influential games of the entire series, while also trying to span the console generations. Because of that, I decided to skip over Zelda 2: The Adventure of Link (despite it being an important puzzle piece in the jigsaw puzzle that is the Zelda franchise. Instead, I jumped right on in to my personal favorite Zelda game (by a close, close margin) and still probably top-five games of mine of all time.
Yes, I played the The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past.
This was probably the first game I ever played that I compulsively obsessed over. Thinking about when I wasn't playing it, playing it every chance I got, and beating it over and over again, just for the sake of enjoying every second of it as much as possible. Despite how much I loved video games before A Link to the Past came out, this game cemented and reaffirmed everything I felt. This game also challenged me to look at games differently, not just as entertainment vices, but as a creative art form. I saw the game for the art from behind the curtain, if you will, imagining what the process of creating something so awesome was like.
You see, this game inspired me to create my own Zelda game. Not in the animation/computer coding type of way, but instead from the artists and writers perspective of how to make a game. I had a binder full - and I mean FULL - of sketches, rough drafts and final drafts of everything that you would find in the game, like all the characters, weapons, items, enemies, dungeons and even maps. I had all the details hammered out and decided, as if I was going to walk into Shigeru Miyamoto's office and present him with the pitch for the game. I didn't have the full script written out or anything, but the basic plot was established.
Granted, everything I came up with was heavily influenced by Link to the Past, so most of the ideas I had came straight from that game, just adjusted and modified to make them feel like my own. The only thing I don't remember coming up with was a title for my "game," which clearly was the only thing holding it back from being pushed into development.
Anyway, as you can see, I love this game, And playing it again tonight reminded me that I still love this game. I try to play through it at least once a year, or whenever I feel froggy enough to jump in.
Everything from the art style to the music is so perfectly well-done, it's maddening that more guys didn't try to just copy this style. Everything from the movements of Link to the new items and weapons you use finally give the player a sense of who this Link character is and what he is capable of as a character. The writing is strong and charming and the game itself, while sometimes quite challenging, is made for the player to enjoy at their own pace and traverse the kingdom as they see fit, exploring all there is to see in Hyrule.
Oh, and did I mention the Master Sword? Yeah...
The coolest part of the game for me, however, is that once you think you have the game figured out, it throws you a curve ball in the form of the Light World/Dark World plot twist. You see, the entire map that you get to know all too well is actually just half of what you think. The whole time up until the big reveal you are in the Light World, but then, suddenly, you are forced to revisit the same-yet-totally-different Dark World.
Crap ... SPOILER ALERT!
I love this game. Everything about it. If I had to play just one game the rest of my life, this would easily be at the top of my list. For everyone who has never touched a Zelda game, I suggest starting with this one. And if you think you don't like Zelda games, go back and give this one a chance. Maybe you will "get it" this time.
Just hurry up, because the sequel for the 3DS is coming out sometime this year. And no, it's not my game idea ... at least, I don't think it is. I better call my lawyer, just in case.
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