30 Years – The Legend of Zelda

This is the year where we are going to start seeing most of the original NES games reach their 30-year Anniversary. On this particular day, we are reminded that the original The Legend of Zelda was released 30 years ago today.

A game like this simply cannot be forgotten. Of course for me, I remember when it first launched in America, and hearing about it just about everywhere. Although my memories are pretty thin, I do have a few specific stories I do recall from my past.

First, I just have to talk about the title screen. A title screen that was so memorizing and eerie. It was quite theatrical. The waterfall cascading down the rocks, the music sounded a bit haunting to me, like an eerie flute echoing far away. The game fades to night time, and then the music kicks up to a more adventurous tone. The story is laid out, and we’re introduced to all of the items in the game. I remember the sense of feeling scared when the Magical Sword scrolled on because the music would change as it happened. To this day, it’s almost criminal to skip the intro without sitting through it at least once.

When I was in first grade, I remember talking to my friends about having difficulty finishing the Legend of Zelda. I was stuck inside level 9, not knowing where to go. I forget how it all came together, but my female teacher overheard the conversation in class and told me how her daughter was also struggling, but got some help with a full map of level 9. She said she would give me a copy. I remember feeling really excited. The next day, I remember getting a xerox copy of that infamous level 9 skull map, indicating the locked doors, item locations, lock door traps and staircase solutions. I seem to recall it being being a very dark copy, barely making out any specifics but I didn’t care. I remember being so excited that I gave her a big huge hug. When I got home from school, I remember finishing the game.

Another memory I have was lending our copy of Zelda to my neighbor Chris. When I had asked for it back some time later, I loaded up the game and found that he had erased ALL of my save files, and each one was named CHRIS. Oh my gosh was I upset. Not only that, the other two had barely any gameplay on it. But that was okay. It gave me a reason to play it again. And again.

I will celebrate the anniversary by playing through the entire game tonight. Each time I replay it, it almost seems like the first time all over again. I’m okay with that. The game is truly timeless.