Wednesday, October 08, 2008
A couple of years back I decided, in an unprecedented fit of pure fanboy determination, that I would play through every single Legend of Zelda game ever made. I had just watched through most of GameTrailers' comprehensive Zelda Retrospective and I was immediately inspired - it felt like something lodged in my brain for years had finally been set loose. I suddenly remembered that, hey, Zelda's pretty great, I loved Zelda when I was a kid, and whoa there's all these other Zelda games I've never played! Why not play them all? Why have I waited so long??
And so I did. I was playing Chrono Trigger at the time but I didn't care. I found my borrowed copy of the GBA Link to the Past remake and never looked back. By the time I finished Wind Waker about a year later, I had beaten every Zelda game in the book (with the exception of Zelda 2 and Four Swords, neither of which I could grab a copy of).
It was quite exciting at first. My Grand Zelda Playthrough kicked off amidst a dizzy haze of sudden, rampant fanboyism, the likes of which I hadn't experienced since middle school. The Wii was about to come out, and along with it Twilight Princess; as such, the excitement of this great new technology - with this great new Zelda game - was palpable. For whatever reason, I started talking about my newfound love of Zelda to anybody who would listen. Friends, family, you name it. Hell, I even started blabbering about Zelda in this very blog, as if I were determined to make an idiot out of myself in every possible way. I even wrote a really stupid Zelda fanfic that, while kinda-sorta intended to be a parody, is pretty indicative of the overwhelmingly nerdy state I was in at the time. Man, I was obsessed.
So why was I so Zelda-nuts? Well, there's the aforementioned Wii thing, that had a part in it. But it was much more than that. This was back in late 2006, and I was still reeling after my house fire (yeah, sorry, I gotta bring that up again). As such, a lot of the games I was playing through at that point were nihilistic, hopeless, darkly violent excursions: God of War, Resident Evil 4, and especially Half-Life, which might have one of the most hopeless video game endings I've ever witnessed. Simply put, I needed an uplift, and what better game to uplift me than The Legend of Zelda? A game series I'd adored in middle school and casually ignored for at least five years? It was my first chance to really appreciate some of my all-time favorite games from the perspective of an adult. Well, a kinda-sorta adult.
So I had it all planned out - I'd beat Wind Waker last, and write one big, comprehensive blog post reviewing every single game I'd played through. Oh, it was gonna be great, I tell you. But it never materialized. By the time I finished Wind Waker, I was tired of it all. That unflappable enthusiasm I'd had in spades a year later was starting to burn out. All that remains of my grand, glorious Zelda Retrospective lies in this one blog post I shat out while I was still playing through Ocarina of Time, and it's quite embarrassing, mostly because I was vainly attempting to imitate Lester Bangs. Bad move.
So what did I learn from this playthrough? God, I don't even know. Here's what I remember right off the top of my head: Link to the Past and Ocarina of Time have the best dungeons. Every portable Zelda I played through was great, including Minish Cap which was much much better than I expected it to be (Phantom Hourglass wasn't out at the time). Twilight Princess was worth it, but had a pretty shitty plot. And Wind Waker's ending still almost brings a tear to my eye, every single time. That's it.
Oh, I'm sure something else will come up. I still haven't played through Phantom Hourglass, so maybe that'll bring back my Zelda nerdism with a vengeance. Maybe I'll review it in this very blog! Who knows. I still love Zelda, and I'll always love Zelda. That'll never change. But chances are I will never love a video game series as strongly and unfalteringly as I did back then. Ever again.
With the exception of maybe Plok.