“However, this is the triumph of Legend of Zelda, and its trick: It is, pervasively and persuasively, human.”
– from the full review, which you can read here.
If you dislike this old Nintendo game, just click away now, because my gushing praise and reverent mood are just going to enhance the view of me as a raving lunatic, a star-crossed lover, a hopeless sap besieged by such an enrapturing fondness. I am going to sound thoroughly silly.
I am only alive today because the older boy down the street whom I borrowed this golden cartridge from did not murder me when I erased his saved game, accidentally, somewhere in the glossy haze of my first few days ever experiencing this game.
My choice of the title “Nintendo Legend” as the name for this blog, this domain name, my resultant branding, is no coincidence. That term, “Legend,” has a special connotation among Nintendo fans. It has loads of baggage, for many of us, and comes with a full packet of distinctive meaning for anyone in earshot. When I noticed that the search term “Nintendo Legend” finally netted my own site as the top result on Google, rather than something from Nintendo about the Legend of Zelda, it was a really bittersweet feeling.
I love how much of a self-fulfilling prophecy it is. The “Legend” moniker, I mean — and not for myself, but for the game. For the institution, really. The universe.
See, there I go, talking about the Zelda “universe” and trying to encapsulate the impact of a genre-busting, industry-hurdling Thing that is bigger than myself. I am the brutish cave-dweller trying to describe an immense work of art.
Okay, whoa, let me step away from Hyrule and back down to Earth for a bit, sorry. But seriously: This is such a great video game! It is fun. It was clearly designed well. It took risks. It had a great impact. It sold over six million copies and has a great many fans to this day.
I am not even the guy with the tattoos, or the cosplayer, or one of the other impassioned followers of the Zelda mythos. But, dang, does this game have a place in my heart. I cannot help it.
The weird thing is that it was not always that way. The original NES Legend of Zelda has truly grown on me, over time. I would even say that it has aged very well, especially compared to most of those 8-bit Nintendo games. I know some disagree, but, ah, screw ’em, kinda, y’know?
That original Legend of Zelda is the game that people still pine for. Big-name critics and reviewers still throw it out as a definitive example of game design done right, like, “Hey, remember when games were actually challenging, or gave the player an actual sense of open-world exploration, or raised the bar for storytelling, or…?”
What if I told you that I truly, literally believe that the Legend of Zelda is a modern generational tale, like prior parent-to-child yarns passed down, or pieces of classic literature? Some dove into Moby Dick, to emerge either disappointed or sold. So, too, do you latch onto Legend of Zelda or wonder what all the fuss is about.
Would I sound insane?
Would you believe me?
Are you one of the people who would just smile and nod in understanding?
I realize that us old-school nostalgic types can be obnoxious in how we relentlessly defend and evangelize our oh-so-classic games. But, dang, Legend of Zelda on NES is one territory I shall plant my flag upon and never dare retreat from. This is a beautiful game. It is a masterpiece.
If I am a sucker, then I have been suckered into something I do not regret biting the hook for. You got me, Nintendo. You got me.
Read The Full Review For: My honest attempt at conveying a proper examination of this NES game, and my probable failure to do it proper justice, although I greatly enjoyed putting a microscope on a couple of its brilliant strokes and conclude with a few overarching thoughts on the significance of imperfections and their unique effect on LoZ. Oh, and about ten more screenshots.
Gameplay Tips For The Legend of Zelda: Put away the strategy guides, unhook your Internet, act like you have never heard of an FAQ, push the cartridge into the console, and play the game. Play. Just play. Do you remember what it was like, to not feel any disconnect between the idea of “play” and how it related to video games? When playing Tag or Make-Believe was in the same category as playing a Video Game? I remember it, and firing up Legend of Zelda for another go helps me to. I think that is a good thing.