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History Lesson: Introducing A Friend To The Legend Of Zelda

shocked link.jpgWhile attending a lovely party not too long ago the discussion just so happened to turn to the topic of video games, and during the discussion I learned that one of my friends had not played The Legend of Zelda. Any of them. Ever.

"What do you know about Zelda?" I inquired.

"You're an elf who swings a sword," he replied.

Oh gaymers, this could not stand. The Zelda series is classic, and for his video game experience to be devoid of these works was a sad indictment of our modern education system. Fortunately for him, I had all the supplies he'd need and my inner teacher was ready to inform.

Every console version of a Zelda game, save for A Link to the Past, is available on a Wii or Gamecube disc, and it just so happens that I own all of those discs as well as a Wii. I packed a small bag with everything we'd need and got started.

Things did not start smoothly. His A/V system hooked up to a projector via HDMI, so a special adapter needed to be acquired in order to upconvert the Wii signal to HDMI because Nintendo decided that its user-base doesn't want high end video resolution. *facepalm* Once the adapter was hooked up, on went the Wii. And then the Wavebird didn't want to connect. *headdesk* And then it changed its mind and decided it did want to connect. *sigh*

Ok, the Wii is hooked up, audio and video are fine, the Wavebird controller is operating properly...in goes the Zelda collection and we start up the original Legend of Zelda.

"No memory card detected. You will be unable to save your progress. Do you wish to continue without saving?"

The Gamecube emulation was not designed to allow players to save GC data to neither the Wii's internal storage nor to the SD card I had in the system. *facepalm*headdesk*sigh*

Oh well, we were only going to have a few hours for this first session anyways and it'd all be learning. I'll get a memory card for next time.

When the game began, we watched the intro story and list of items and cracked up at the game's directions to read the manual for more information. Remember when we used to read those, back in the days when they provided flavor for the game instead of just bare-bones instructions on controller mechanics? Those were good times.

After a few minutes of figuring out how the controls were re-mapped to the Gamecube controller, we got his file registered and the game started. Now something you need to know about my friend is that he started with the Atari 2600 and then went to the Xbox, so there's a few generations of gaming that passed him by. So when he immediately started heading east instead of into the door right in front of him, I realized that there are a lot of conventions that many of us gamers take for granted.

Needless to say, without a sword, he died quickly. I'm trying to take a generally hands-off approach so that he gets to enjoy the game himself instead of just letting me tell him how to play it, but I figured that pointing out the location of the first sword was probably a good idea.

He caught on quick and learned how to block smaller projectiles, how to kill things from a distance, and just generally get a feel for the world. Without any direction from me, he managed to stumble across Level 1 all on his own. I was so proud! I gave him the general rundown of how levels work: there's a compass, map, boss, treasure and triforce piece to find in each one. The triforce pieces have to be found to confront Ganon and save Zelda. Pretty simple. There was exploration, trial and error, death, and a freakout "WTF?!" moment with the Wall Masters, but he eventually reigned supreme and recovered his first triforce piece.

Back in the overworld, exploration continued and he found the entrance to Level 3. Yeah, we passed by Level 2, but you don't have to do them in order and I wasn't gonna rain on his discovery. Besides, I don't really remember where Level 2 is anyways. Whereas Level 1 was a good introduction in difficulty, 3 was a bit more unforgiving. Zols split into Gels when hit, so no items were dropped when killed, and Darknuts were immediately despised since they dealt heavy damage, were immune to the boomerang's stun, and couldn't be hit from the front. After a few deaths, we called it a night since it was starting to get frustrating we couldn't save the game in any case. This was just the introduction, but I hope to have him indoctrinated in short order. I'll keep y'all updated on the progress!

Choice quotes:

"I don't like getting hit by fireballs."
"Those are rocks, actually."
"They look like fireballs."
"Those things are called 'octorocks.' They're land-octopi that walk around and spit rocks."
"That's just wrong on so many levels."

"The old woman doesn't talk to you yet."
"She's dead to me."

"I can't remember what the [Level 1] boss is called."
"Dragicorn. Cuz that's what it is."

*attacking a Darknut head-on*
"He's got a shield too."
"Rude!"

13 Comments

markymark said:

awesome.

kybarsfang said:

This is a great article! I especially love the quotes at the end.

cypherangel said:

Darknuts are rude for having shields... hahah.

Dexter said:

I love introducing people who "don't like videogames" to some of Nintendo's really quality AAA titles and they suddenly get it and learn to appreciate that not all games are created equal.

My first zelda game was Links Awakening on the original gameboy. I'm glad I started there because Nintendo really polished off the rough edges by that stage. I still have fond memories of sitting in class thinking up with a new solution to a tricky puzzle and sprinting home after school to test it out. That was before the internet was filled with walkthroughs so if you didn't realise you could pick up chickens and use them to flutter over large gaps you couldn't finish the game.

Apelila said:

LttP is available for download. It's worth if for a version that upscales to 480p that you don't have to get a battery for.

Clayton said:

Awesome article. I'm always blown away when someone says they haven't played Zelda at all or a little bit of "that one from the Super NES". Granted with a Triforce tattoo I'm a fan boy but still!

"She's dead to me" Hilarious!

Marsten said:

One of the things that's good about the Zelda games is that you DON'T need to know anything about them.

You can pick one up, having never played it before, and dive right in without needing to know anything about the game's series, backstory, it's setting or lore or anything along those lines. It's all there for you right there, fresh as you play it for the first time.

That's what makes it so cool.

blackboy said:

I've always wanted to be able to play the legend of zelda games. I remember as a kid trying to play the first one on my NES, but it was too hard, and frustrating, and so I gave it up. I even got A Link to the Past for the GBA, but again, it was too hard, so I just gave up. The Legend of Neil, however, I have no problems with

Daniel said:

"So when he immediately started heading east instead of into the door right in front of him, I realized that there are a lot of conventions that many of us gamers take for granted."

That made me lol :P

link said:

"So when he immediately started heading east instead of into the door right in front of him, I realized that there are a lot of conventions that many of us gamers take for granted."

That made me lol :P

link said:

Grrr... I double posted. What a N00b.

kybarsfang said:

And apparently your real name is Daniel. Ah-ha!

Prettygirbot said:

Heads up on your journey A Link to The Past is NOT on the gamecube zelda collection. So download it from the virtual console.

And girls who like girls who like rumble packs!

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Prettygirbot on History Lesson: Introducing A Friend To The Legend Of Zelda: Heads up on your journey A Link to The Past is NOT on the gamecube zelda collection. So download it...

kybarsfang on History Lesson: Introducing A Friend To The Legend Of Zelda: And apparently your real name is Daniel. Ah-ha!...

link on History Lesson: Introducing A Friend To The Legend Of Zelda: Grrr... I double posted. What a N00b....

link on History Lesson: Introducing A Friend To The Legend Of Zelda: "So when he immediately started heading east instead of into the door right in front of him, I realized that...

Daniel on History Lesson: Introducing A Friend To The Legend Of Zelda: "So when he immediately started heading east instead of into the door right in front of him, I realized that...

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