Game of the Week (11/19/17) – The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past

It should come as no surprise that a GotW post for Super Nintendo would highlight the sole Zelda game released for the console. Released in 1992, A Link to the Past came out in North America 4 years after Zelda II: Adventure of Link on the NES. Zelda II was a polarizing game in retrospect but at the time, it was an unbridled smash hit so anticipation for a 16-bit Zelda game was extremely high.

I was aware of Link to the Past when it came out even though I neither had an SNES nor was I still a subscriber to Nintendo Power. Like millions of other NES gamers from the 80s, I was a huge fan of the original LOZ as well as the sequel. So it pained me to know that a new LOZ adventure was released and I had no way to play it. When I finally bought my used SNES, A Link to the Past was THE game I had to go run out and buy immediately. I’d waited over a year to finally play this game and I would not be disappointed by the self induced hype.

Since A Link to the Past is one of the most well known and revered video games not just on the SNES, but of all time, I’m not sure I can say anything about it that hasn’t been said before. To keep my gushing of the game succinct, I will use my preferred method of communication, bullet points, to summarize my thoughts.

  • The graphics and music just blew me away first time I played it. Such a beautiful game from start to finish.
  • Loved the parallel world concept. Now a common trope for Zelda games but at the time it was innovative and cool as hell.
  • Link’s slash move was another important innovation and while fun, it became an obsession to slash every blade of grass to see what might pop up.
  • Princess Zelda is finally a character with a personality, not just a damsel in distress.
  • The game is super deep, pulls the rug out from under you at one point but never feels cheap. Signs of a game made with a lot of care.

Speaking of care, I took as good of care as I possibly could with my own copy of Link to the Past and all the peripherals dating back to my purchase in 1993. Not because I thought it “might be worth something someday”, but because the Legend of Zelda franchise had meant so much to my childhood and while I was no longer a kid when Link to the Past was released, it felt like a true link to MY past. When you’re 18 or 19 years old, you straddle that line between adolescence and adulthood. Many of us at that age begin to feel disconnected from the person we were just 4-5 years earlier but not so far removed that who we were are distant memories, like they are for me today. A Link to the Past was my opportunity to dive back into my childhood in a way that Super Mario World and Super Metroid did as well. The sense of exploration, the familiar surroundings and characters, the adventure and danger. It’s all here in A Link to the Past and I damn well wanted to make sure that my cart, box, manual and map didn’t get smashed, written on or torn in any way, shape or form, like my original LOZ materials did. I’m thankful for the memories that this game gave me and I’m one of those gamers that considers this one of the best of all time.

Rating: A+

Currently in my collection: game, manual, map, top secret tips sheet, box

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