Finishing the Legend of Zelda

The video game equivalent of my balls dropping


part 1

part 2

part 3

part 4

part 5

part 6

part 7

part 8

part 9


Like many ill-cultured youths who missed out on the NES and believed the Nintendo 64 to be the best thing since sliced bread before the majority got into RPGs and promptly ditched it because text-based menus and storyline totally beat out having four controller ports; my introduction to the Legend of Zelda was through Ocarina of Time.

I had seen the game covered extensively in Official Nintendo Magazine (later renamed NOM, which is funny to say), but I had no interest in it at all and nor did my brother. It was covered for a good few years and consistently showed at the top of the "most wanted" list of upcoming games, a few notches above Mother 3 (upcoming as in ten years and an entirely different console, hurf!), but really, I wasn't aware of why people were so excited. To me, it looked like a blocky mess with a silly looking main character who totally couldn't beat out Bubsy the Bobcat in terms of awesomeness.

I liked Bubsy in those days. I never got past the first level, and never have.

Of course, my father - intrigued with the title - bought it. Apparently the stores weren't selling it to anyone who hadn't preordered, so he waved a bit of fist around and that got him the game; or so he says. Steve, fellow sibling and more open in his emotions than I, promptly went "AW DAD WHY'D YOU DO THAT" until we returned home, popped it in and were subjected to Ganondorf looking pretty badass on his horse.

Steve was smitten instantly. And after using a walkthrough, copying our dad's save file and taking advantage of illnesses to further his progress, he beat the game. He was wowed with it. He was pleased with it. He was content with it. He quite liked it! And he's beaten the game at least a dozen times since, always enjoying it considerably. I think dad was a mite miffed with his ungrateful child copying his progress and taking the easy way through the game, and never touched it after that.

Me? I played it a few times, but never really had the patience to get past the Great Deku Tree. A long intro followed up by a drab dungeon just didn't really grip me, y'know. I enjoyed watching, but just couldn't play it myself.

The worst thing is, Ocarina of Time is one of two Zelda games that we have completed.

Link's Awakening? Played it for months but made barely any progress.

Oracle of Ages? Got stuck at the beginning!

A Link to the Past? Getting to the first dungeon was enough of a challenge!

Four Swords Adventures? Well, it was actually good, and we completed it several times. Great fun!

To me, this seems like a video gaming sin of epic proportions. Never mind that I couldn't give two damns, let alone half a hell for video game culture's expectations, it just seems wrong to me. We've completed every Mario game we have, we've completed every Sonic game we have, we've more or less completed every Mega Man game we have... but Zelda is the other main franchise that we just haven't completed a significant percentage of.

And so, on the 18th of March 2008, I set out to right a tiny fraction of that wrong.

I would set out to complete the original Legend of Zelda.

Giving up is not an option.

I will complete it.


So, let's get down to business, shall we?

the old wishy-washy wasn't-sure-this-would-ever-be-finished foreword

Have you ever had an idea that sounds really great and interesting, so you get to working on it straight away? But then, as you're steaming along, you feel that... you would love to keep working on it, but at the same time, you don't really want to? Yeah. That's what happened.

Essentially a noobie's play-through of the first Zelda, covering every single little flub (well, minus the times I tried to pick up the sword but just walked right by it) and chronicling the successes and letdowns, both as a kind of journal type thing and also essentially a "what not to do" demonstration for all the experience people to laugh and go "look at de silly monkey!" I'd dare call it both entertaining and educational, but I don't get much feedback on my stuff so God knows if I'm the only one laughing at this.

I quite loved this little project. If I actually cared about video game communities, as the title says, it'd be like becoming a man, except via playing as a green-wearing little elf who stabs monstrosities with projectile blades. Except, well, I don't, so it'd just be a personal victory. I could probably have gone on to cover the many pits I fell down in Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels if I had the patience! Or maybe play through Super Mario Bros. 3 in one sitting!

However, my balls aren't that incredible.

But during writing, I got irritated with having to watch the replays over and over to document the good stuff. Not because it was embarrassing; it was hilarious! I was irritated because watching those replays was time I could spend playing the game. Sure, writing about it was good, but it merely enlivened my thirst. My thirst for Zelda. My thirst to explore it. My thirst to see every little thing it had to offer.

So, uh, writing this made me fall in love with the game, rather than using it as a device for me to realise how shit I am at playing games.

I'd love to cover the whole game, but it presents a dilemma. I want to play the game without writing for a while, but then I may actually know where I'm going, so it'd just be reduced to me shouting at shopkeepers and Moblins and nothing more. To keep up the writing would allow me to play but also be kind of annoying to stop and say "man screw the dodongos" periodically just to show that I'm actually playing and not just warping around. Or something. This whole argument is rather wonky.

So will it continue? Who knows! A bit of feedback could tide the favour a little. Hint hint.