The “Get To Know” line of articles are built to get a better impression of what I love/hate, and why, through a more direct means. While my tastes have been quite unconventional to the “norm” we’ve seen, I feel as if it’d be beneficial to run a series of articles that go into what I adore, and deplore, about gaming, and why.
I alluded to a major project I was going to work on throughout 2018, but due to repeated illnesses, I was unable to produce a healthy enough queue to get it going. That project was going to be my top 100 games of all-time, in which I would go into a great bit of detail on each game, and why it has a position on said list.
With this miniseries I have going with Get To Know, it’s given me a renewed sense of urgency to try and get some portion of this project revealed and shared with everyone. Instead of being overly ambitious, I’ll truncate the list to a top 25; that’s more than enough to show the kinds of games I adore the most, and the genres that they represent.
20 – The Legend of Zelda: a Link to the Past
- Developer: Nintendo EAD
- Publisher: Nintendo
- Platform: SNES
- Genre: Action adventure
- Release date: 11/21/91
- Rating: 9.3
What is The Legend of Zelda: a Link to the Past?
The third console release of a legendary gaming franchise, The Legend of Zelda: a Link to the Past was a 16-bit treasure. With a plethora of dungeons and a myriad of items, a Link to the Past was a deeper follow up to its 8-bit brethren. Light and dark dungeons, sword and tunic upgrades, memorable boss battles and so on.
What warrants The Legend of Zelda: a Link to the Past‘s inclusion on this list?
A Link to the Past came out at a time where gaming magazines were starting to emerge as something real. Gaming at that time was magical, as information wasn’t as prevalent; discovery was that much more awesome because of it. With a game like a Link to the Past, there were a myriad of secrets and such that could be discovered, and the discovery, in a pre-2018 internet world, was a large part of the enjoyment.
The overworld map was massive for its time, even without considering the fact that there’s two maps worth of content – the light and dark world. Swapping between them, depending where you are, yields more secret areas. The difficulty was just right as well, where a Link to the Past was punishing enough, however it was obvious why you died, and can easily learn from each experience.
I never had much time with The Legend of Zelda on the NES prior to a Link to the Past, as my first Zelda game was Zelda II: The Adventures of Link, so when I finally reached the area with the Master Sword, it was the most epic thing I had ever seen at that time. Running through the forest area, walking towards the podium slowly, then standing behind the Master Sword, with that chill inducing Master Sword theme playing, as I pulled it up and out and hoisted it high above my head. There was nothing like that previously, and every succeeding Master Sword unveiling, especially for Breath of the Wild (where I had chills once I knew I was getting close) has been some of the most memorable experiences in gaming for me.
The visual style stuck to the launch titles aesthetics, with better animation, finer attention to detail, and a distinct deviance between the light and dark world. The enemies encountered in the dark world were frightening at the time, especially that cyclops that took forever to fell. The soundtrack was stellar, especially the final boss theme.
A Link to the Past was one of those games I spent countless weekends playing, then replaying it. Even once I knew where every heart container was, after every hidden area was unearth, I would go back again and again. I never had many friends over at my place while growing up, and if I did, we’d play games like River City Ransom and Street Fighter 2: Turbo, and when I didn’t have anyone over, most of my time was spent on certain games over and over. A Link to the Past was one of those primary single player games, and it was a journey each time, regardless of knowing where everything was, to get from the beginning to the end.
A Link to the Past, for many, was the pinnacle of the franchise, and I can see exactly why. While it’s definitely not the last appearance of the franchise on my Top 25 Games of All-Time list, its brilliance is legendary, and is one of a small handful of games on this list that is likely on a majority of gamers top games of all-time.
Another reason why the 8 and 16 bit era was the greatest for gaming.
With the slow emergence of gaming magazines, and the internet only existing through 9.6k Commodore 64’s that I had at home (but no knowledge of any gaming “sites” back then), information was scant. Reliance on self discovery and word of mouth from friends was the only source of information, reliable to fabricated for the latter, that could be garnered. This would lead to a more memorable experience overall, as discovery, trepidation and wonder were prevalent. I almost wish the information these days were a lot more difficult to obtain, because a large portion of the fun is self discovery; a hint here and there is fine, but having whole walkthroughs available just robs certain games of a more lasting impression. This made games like The Legend of Zelda: a Link to the Past that much more magical to playthrough when it was first released.