In a parallel universe where video game cartridges (THAT ARE GOLD) are sentient beings, The Legend of Zelda: A Link To The Past is out renting a car from Hertz and going on a road trip with its underage friends Donkey Kong Country, Super Metroid, and Earthbound piling in the backseat.
While not the first entry in the series, A Link To The Past took what the first Legend of Zelda title did for the NES, and expanded on it in just about every way possible for the Super Nintendo. Many consider it (AND ITS GOLD CARTRIDGE) to be the greatest Zelda game ever made.
When asking for thoughts from the other Idlers on what this game meant to them growing up, I was surprised to find out that most of us discovered this game through visiting neighbors houses and playing with them. Despite being single player game, watching someone play Zelda feels like you’re a part of movie. Few games have captured the cinematic quality of adventure like Zelda has, and A Link To The Past is a shining (GOLLLLDDD) example.
The first video game console I ever owned myself was an N64, but prior to owning that, my first real introduction to video games was my neighbor’s SNES. While we played our fair share of Mario Kart and trading lives as Mario and Luigi in Super Mario World, my fondest gaming memories actually stem from A Link To The Past. Even though it was a single-player game, my friend and I didn’t care who played and who didn’t, we were both transfixed by the story that was unfolding in front of us. While one person dashed around the map with the Pegasus Boots, the other was writing down where certain things were we needed to come back and check on later, creating our own personal map.
It wasn’t until many years later that I would actually complete game myself. I was on winter break with my family in Tahoe and the weather was particularly nasty outside, leaving us with just about nothing to do. Luckily for me, I had a SNES emulator on my Mac with A Link To The Past loaded up. I had been playing through the game for months, but as I settled in at the library in north shore (because that just seemed like a good place to beat a video game I guess), I knew I had what it took to beat Ganon, and I did. I yelled super loud inside the library, which they did not like. But I did not care. I had reached peak video gaming.
There are very few games I still think of replaying on a regular basis, but this is one of them. – hltchk
I didn’t get to have video games in my house until I was much older so it was a real treat to get go to my neighbors’ house and play them. Usually we played Super Mario World but one day I noticed he had another game that he left untouched. The gold background with a sword and shield made me ask why we never played this game. My friend told me because it was too hard but eventually I persuade him to let us play together and figure it out.
We ended up playing the game the rest of the weekend and it did prove to be tough but we fell in love with it. A Link To the Past became the first video game I played where I felt the grand scale of a world. Figuring out all the optional side-quests became an obsession. Talking to every character I could was a joy. The game blew my mind when I realized getting the Master Sword wasn’t the end and I had to battle the forces of the Dark World. Link to the Past opened up a whole new style of game to me and cemented those as my favorite types of games. – MeanOldPig
I first played the original Zelda at my neighbor’s house. They were a trio of brothers, classic American stuff, the older one was cool and outgoing, the middle a bit more reserved, and the youngest was always trying to prove himself. The Legend of Zelda became a means of competition between us all. I came in as an outsider, learned the game while they would sleep in, eventually beating it faster than any of them.
A few years later I was hanging out with Vico Vault who had recently gotten the newest Zelda game, A Link To The Past. I will never forget seeing the world I loved rendered so beautifully. Link’s pink hair, the roundness of the grassy bushes, the fearsome body of Ganon. I never got a chance to master that game like I did with the original, as it was much wider in scope, vast in its ambition. Instead of seeing it as something that I could master, as a true game, I saw it as a story. I had never been impressed with a video game like that before, I was always too wowed by their entertainment and aware of their gameness, but A Link To The Past had a deeper impact. It sparked a love in games that has lasted my entire life. Happy 25th to an amazing game. – IP