The Patient Gamer

Abandoning the Princess


I get it, I really do. I can see why the Legend of Zelda is so near and dear to the hearts of so many. In 1986 when it was released, it was a game changer. A big-budget title, well-polished, with intriguing puzzles and gameplay that was downright fun.

I remember the amazement that I had with videogames in general back in the early 80s. I never had an NES (I jumped from an Atari 2600 to a Sega Genesis), but a friend of mine got one and we played Super Mario Brothers together until my thumbs were bleeding. You combine that enthusiasm with the things that I love about RPGs -- the sense of exploration, the puzzle solving, the discovery of new equipment...

I completely understand why the game is so beloved by people who cut their video game teeth on the NES. And to be quite honest, I love the game for no other reason than its legacy and its historical significance.

And after all that, I’m not going to finish it. I call “uncle”.

The gameplay is so dated that it makes it very difficult to go back and enjoy the game like I once could have. I can imagine the joy of finding a hidden cave that your friend told you about after hours and hours of play. Those are the kind of experiences that I lived for when I was 12 years old. Unfortunately now, with a job and a son, I simply don’t have the time to do the same thing over and over again hoping for a different result. Video games have evolved a lot since the 80s, and a lot of the reason for those changes is to support the “casual.”

So I find myself following a walkthrough, killing the monsters that need to be killed, blowing a hole in the wall where the guide says to... But with no more story than, “rescue the princess from the evil Gammon,” there’s simply not enough there to hold my attention. I find myself finding other things to do than to continue the goal of Roosky Plays Games, and that’s not fun.

Zelda would have been heaps of fun to me in elementary school. I know I would have relished coming home from school, starting up the NES, and seeing what new things I could discover, what new evil I could defeat. My taste in games has changed a lot since then - as have the games themselves.

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