The last History Lesson was a surprising hit, both in terms of how much attention it got from you readers and in terms of how much my
guinea pig friend enjoyed playing as well as being the subject of an article. Since I hate to disappoint an audience, the lessons will continue.
A refresher from last time: I got a friend who knew virtually nothing about the Zelda series started on the NES classic, The Legend of Zelda. During this first outing he recovered 1 piece of the triforce, found level 3, and spent a lot of time with the trial-and-error of learning how to play an old 8-bit game. And all of it ultimately wound up being a practice session as I had no idea where one of my old GameCube memory cards could be and the Wii doesn't allow GC games to save data to the internal hard drive. The lessons can continue, though, because now we have a memory card!
The first bit of this session was more or less a re-do of the first, though with a greater understanding of how the game and its world functioned and a better idea of where things were laid out. Something we quickly noticed was how much The Legend of Zelda works your internal map-making abilities. Something I personally noticed was how much smaller Hyrule is than I remember it being. This is not to say that it's tiny, but go look up a map of it sometime. It's not especially large.
Level 1 was eventually found and the "dragicorn" eliminated and the search for levels 2 and 3 began. This time I decided to "cheat" a little bit to help him out. Whenever he would walk on to a screen that had a hidden secret, such as a secret moblin or an old man with medicine and a heart container, I would point it out. Because dear lord some of those locations were obscure and there's no way to find them on your own without bombing every wall and burning every bush one comes across. I had the help of Nintendo Power when I was little, so I'm just passing on the assistance. He's still on his own for level locations and the like, though.
After a fair amount of exploring, level 2 was stumbled across purely by accident and plundering ensued. Surprisingly, it was less difficult than its predecessor and through the process of elimination he discovered that "Dodongo dislikes smoke" without having to be told so by the grumpy old man. One dead dinosaur later and it was back to the overworld to try to find where level 3's entrance was.
Being the super nerd that I sometimes am, I knew exactly where he needed to go, but it's no fun to be a backseat player, so I let him explore. And explore he did. Some time later and he was up to eight hearts, the white sword, and almost every weapon and item that could be acquired for his level of progress. He had also explored every corner of Hyrule available to him (he doesn't know the secret to the Lost Woods yet)....except the one location where level 3's entrance was. He knew he was in the right area and that it was SOMEWHERE nearby and kept exploring and exploring and exploring and became very familiar with the fairy spring in the area to stay alive. It was a fun challenge for me personally to refrain from saying "It's right there! Just one screen over!" while watching him act out his thought process and overcome assumptions he'd made about where he'd already been. Level 3 was found, though, and the game continued.
Since this dungeon had been explored to some degree already the last time, he had a general idea of how to proceed. The fact that the white sword killed zols instead of splitting them into two gels each was a great relief, and the larger life bar and red medicine made dealing with the rude darknuts that much easier. There was a small panic attack in the room hiding the raft as eight darknuts with no cover is a stressful situation, but adrenaline was channeled to the thumbs and some impressive dexterity let him sneak past them all without taking any damage. Then to the boss: Manhandla.
Manhandla is, in a phrase, a pain in the ass. It flies all over the screen, you have to hit each of the four body parts when they come into view as the main body will block shots, the magic shield doesn't deflect its fireballs, and it just gets faster and faster and faster. It's a nightmare, and many deaths were a result of experimenting with the best way to kill the thing. He kept at it, though, not willing to call it quits right up to the point where I unfortunately had to leave to attend to prior obligations. I was hoping to cap off the night with him beating level 3 and having cleared over 1/3 of the game, but things didn't just seem to be playing out that way. No worries, though, as he now has a memory card and the game can be saved and resumed later for the next lesson. As I was walking home, I got a text message.
"OMG, I totally did it! <3 Sorry you weren't here to see it. Also, I now understand your hint. Bomb was much easier."
"...wait, these weren't here just a second ago. That's just wrong."
"Welcome to the Lost Woods."
"'Eastmost peninsula is the secret'"
*starts tracing directions in the air*
"Fast-moving rocktapus! ...is that not what they're called?"
"'Octorocks.' But I like 'rocktapus.'"
*pays the old woman 50 rupees to talk*
-Boy you're rich!-
"I am never paying one of these bitches ever again!"