February 21, 1986 became the original The legend of Zelda was released on Famicom in Japan. It did OK, Nintendo made something more Zelda games, and we’ve all had some good times since then.
It’s easy to make this type of post a general flashback, a checklist looks back at some of the biggest and most important video games in the media, but for that sort of thing you can only scan this list as Jason wrote which already does a lot of the heavy lifting.
Instead, I think I just want to take the opportunity thank series, and especially one game.
I grew up in Australia in the 80’s and 90’s, and that meant I was not indoctrinated on Nintendo stuff like most American kids of the same age seem to have been. Sega was disproportionately more successful Down Under in 8-bit time, and I spent a lot of my time on a Commodore 64 and PC, so except for a few games with Mario here and there, some Street Fighter II and Super Star Wars a little later on a friend’s SNES saw someone Smash on the N64 I managed to get all the way to adulthood without having much of a Nintendo experience.
That changed in my early 20’s when I moved in with my friend Kevin, who was far more familiar with Nintendo than I was, and who at the time had just gotten hold of both a brand new Nintendo GameCube and a copy of The Legend Of Zelda: Wind Waker.
As a grizzled PC gamer (and an unbearable asshole about it, to be honest), originally snobbish at the idea of playing a Nintendo game, I quickly discovered that I had never seen anything like it. This game was alive, a perfect marriage with timeless art design and rhythmic action, and I was more in love with it than anything I had played before or since. It was actually me so in love with the fact that I was often just happy to sit and watch others play it.
Then there was Kev, and there was another friend of ours, Geez, and what happened quickly when we sat and looked at each other, was that we practiced a way to play through this. very singleplayer games games cooperative. We did not use clocks or timers or anything so precise, we just wanted to play it cool and get a sense of when it was time to give the controller around. Maybe it would be after a death in a dungeon, maybe after a bit of sailing, maybe after getting stuck in a puzzle, maybe because you had to go and shit. Whatever!
This was before the age of the YouTube video, and so when we were to encounter some of this game’s countless roadblocks, instead of racing alone or resorting to GameFAQs, we would just shoot the shit and collaborate, put our heads together to try and think the riddles of the game, and when a player’s dumb thumb failed them, we could band together and see which of us Wind Waker’s more active challenges as well.
It’s a magic game, but playing it together made it even more. I know this sounds silly to you, a normal person, who probably played through and enjoyed this game alone, but Wind Waker—Which is by no means designed for this – is still ranked as my favorite collaborative experience of all time.
When we were done with that, I was in tears over the majesty of it all, something I have written about here before. I still believe to this day Wind Waker is my favorite game of all time, and most of the time when I’m asked why I want to give very predictable answers: that it’s the game’s graphics, or its post-apocalyptic setting, or its dangerously inferior battle, or that it’s just that. most vibey beach games all made.
But really, deep down, while I love it for all the reasons, I probably love it too because the time I spent playing it was so memorable. That to think about Wind Waker now, as a married man with children and a mortgage, sends me back in time, to when the most pressing concern I had in life was getting together with friends, ordering pizza, drinking some beer and going on a hell of an adventure.
Memories like these are some of the best we can ever hope to have and keep up with in this increasingly dirty world, so today it is as good as any to thank Zelda-and Wind Waker especially – for min.