Here it is- my Zelda Memory. and mine goes way back- to the beginning! Well, the beginning of Zelda for the NES and U.S. gamers as well!
Where should I start? I know.. A little history lesson! Most people know the story of how it began it’s life as a game- but in case you don’t, lets go over it briefly- it is a great story!
The Legend Of Zelda, the first game of the series, was first released in Japan on February 21, 1986, on the Famicom Disk System. What is that? You’re probably asking yourself.
The Famicom Disk system was an add on for the original Famicom system ( The Japanese version of our NES ) The Disk System gave the machine the ability to create bigger, more involved games, as well as a way to save games (which was unheard of at the time. )
One of the games made for the Disk System was The Legend Of Zelda.
And what of the game itself?
The Legend of Zelda was principally inspired by Shigeru Miyamoto’s explorations as a young boy in the hillsides surrounding his childhood home in Sonobe, Japan where he ventured into forests with secluded lakes, caves, and rural villages. According to Miyamoto, one of his most memorable experiences was the discovery of a cave entrance in the middle of the woods. After some hesitation, he apprehensively entered the cave, and explored its depths with the aid of a lantern. Miyamoto has referred to the creation of the Zelda games as an attempt to bring to life a “miniature garden” for players to play with in each game of the series. ( From Wikipedia. )
Nintendo didn’t want to release the Disk System in the states ( manufacturing costs, and slow sales and distribution their first year out in the U.S. did that project in. ) But, new technology was waiting in the wings that would bring zelda to the states. A cartridge version could be done, utilizing battery-back up, and increased memory hardware built into the cartridge itself, and it was finally released in the United States on August 22, 1987.
And what did you get with this glorious game?
… just the most beautiful golden cartridge in the history of golden cartridges!
…Also a manual ( of course ) and that’s not all! A hint book and a map of Hyrule!
Now, why do I like Zelda so much? Because of another free roaming game released almost 10 years before.. and I hold dearly just as much- ADVENTURE!
Adventure was conceived as a graphical version of the 1977 text adventure Colossal Cave Adventure. It took developer Warren Robinett approximately one year to design and code the game, during which time he had to overcome a variety of technical limitations in the Atari 2600 console hardware. In this game, he introduced the first widely known video game Easter egg, a secret room serving to credit him for the game’s creation.
As the first action-adventure game released, Adventure sold more than a million copies and essentially created the genre. It spawned a handful of official and unofficial sequels, and has been included in numerous Atari 2600 collections.
It took developer Warren Robinett approximately one year to design and code the game, during which time he had to overcome a variety of technical limitations in the Atari 2600 console hardware. In this game, he introduced the first widely known video game Easter egg, a secret room serving to credit him for the game’s creation.
As the first action-adventure game released, Adventure sold more than a million copies and essentially created the genre. It spawned a handful of official and unofficial sequels, and has been included in numerous Atari 2600 collections. ( From Wikipedia. )
Enough with the history lesson- On to why I hold this game so close to my heart. It’s kinda a two fold answer. First is the experience. When it’s your first time through, and you see the Weapon upgrades, hidden rooms, and the dungeons terrain, monsters, and obstacles, weapon upgrades, hidden rooms, and the dungeons- you’re blown away by the scope of this game. And the amazing soundtrack just pulls you in! It’s Adventure on steroids!
Second is the memory of getting the game- My birthday is on the 26th of August- just 4 days after it’s release!!! I had my 21st birthday that year at Chuck E Cheese’s ( Now hold on there, slappy! Before you start Chuck E bashing, Chuck E Cheese’s was very different back then- All arcade games, and the pizza was good- not to mention that Ducktales was on EVERY TELEVISION IN THE BUILDING!!!! I have a fantastic memory about this kinda thing. ) I had hinted at wanting this game- The commercial with the crazy guy making funny sounds- and not showing the game itself sold me! I remember sitting at that table and unwrapping my gifts… and there it was! Seeing that gold cartridge glistening back at me was one of those things you never get over. and the box was heavier than a normal Nintendo game (all those maps and good stuff waiting on the inside for me to read! ) I waited the whole way home to open that box- it was almost an hour to my house from Chuck E Cheese’s ( one of the longest hours of my life! ) when I got home- I went to my room and opened that box- and my life hasn’t been the same since! all the maps, strategy guide, and that gold cartridge- I was on video game overload- and I hadn’t played the game yet! The next two weeks were a blur- but I finished that game and went on to the hidden levels game also included on the cart ( you could play it after you went though and defeated Ganon and got the Triforce the first time!)
Well gang, that’s my first and best memory of The Zelda franchise. We will be doing a review of the new Hyrule Warriors very soon ( and I bet the Gamesters will be having fun with it as well! )
and to end this Zelda ( week? ) I think we couldn’t do this justice if we don’t end it with a few words from the games biggest fan ( He named his daughter after the game after all! )
…And we still miss you.
Right in the feels with the commercial. Before we had an Atari, we had a Commedor 64. On it, we played Twin Kingdom Valley. I never did beat that game, but it was a fun adventury text game. Years later, I’d watch my cousin play Zelda. Wasn’t until high school I got to play Link to the Past via renting. That is one of my favorite Zelda titles. N64 brought Zelda to the 3D platforming, but Link to the Past was my first Zelda game.