I so love tax time. I was able to purchase Phantom Hourglass yesterday and this got me to thinking about all the other Zelda games I've played over the years. For me the seminal moment in my gaming life was when my Mom purchased an NES system and I got The Legend of Zelda. I spent countless hours traversing strange lands, caves, and dungeons. There was a lot of backtracking in this game, but that didn't effect my enthusiasm one bit. To be able to walk around this new and exciting virtual world was too much of a thrill. Eventually I got the sequel, Zelda II: The Adventure of Link, and this solidified my love of both Zelda and RPGs forever.
Since my Mom was as much into video games as I was she eventually bought us the SNES system. My Mom didn't care for the NES versions of Zelda or the GBA, but she loved A Link to the Past. We spent countless hours trying to unravel the mysteries of this new Hyrule and it ended up being one of our favorite Zelda games of the time. I love visiting my folks and playing these games with my Mom. She will get so involved in solving a dungeon or battle that sometimes she'll spaz out in frustration and her feet will sometimes catch the cord of the controller and unplug it from the SNES. It can be quite hilarious.
Although I never played Majora's Mask I did enjoy Ocarina of Time. I didn't have any of the Nintendo systems at my house (except for the GBA), but my Mom had them all and so I would play the games with her at their house. She bought a N64 just to play Ocarina and this became her favorite Zelda game (and still is today). Ocarina was HUGE and it was a long and satisfying adventure in a whole new and wonderful world of Hyrule. The fact that Link could ride a horse was one of the perks for me, and catching the Poes was a lot of fun. This game had some interesting sidequests and learning the new tunes for the Ocarina was a lot of fun. I can see why this was her favorite game and when Nintendo ported it for the GameCube later on I fell in love with it, too.
Unfortunately, I missed a large section of the Zelda craze with the Gameboy, because I didn't get my hands on one until about seven years ago. But once I got one I sought out any Zelda games I could find for it and discovered Oracle of Ages and Oracle of Seasons along with Link's Awakening DX. There were untold hours lost to time while I played these games - slowly, at first, because I really didn't want any of them to be over. What I loved about these GBA Zelda games were the diverse new characters, lands, dungeons, and enemies. The weapons Link acquired were always a favorite thrill for me and these games did not disappoint. Overall I found the these Zeldas to be a bit more difficult than the previous NES iterations, which was great because that's what I love about playing RPG games anyway. If it was too easy then it wouldn't be fun.
Next up came The Minish Cap and this became my favorite GBA Zelda game. Not only was it unique (with the small world Link could visit), but the game had many long and satisfying sidequests. My favorite part was spending hours collecting the Kinstones. Every Zelda has something unique about it and the Kinstones were the "cap" on this game.
Finally I broke down and bought a Nintendo system of my own - the GameCube. I bought this system just to play The Windwaker, and this became MY favorite Zelda game of all time. I got the Zelda/Ocarina disc, too, although I didn't play that game as much as I did Windwaker. I think what I loved most about Windwaker was the artwork: that cell-shaded look appealed heavily to the cartoonist in me. I not only loved playing the game but looking at it. The adventure was also a huge draw, because for the first time Link was taking to a whole new world - the Great Sea! A lot of people have said they hate traversing the ocean in Windwaker, but for me I love it. I also loved the system - for me the GameCube was truly a wonderful invention, and it had some wonderful perks as well. I bought the GameBoy Player so I could play my GBA games on it and I also bought the WaveBird wireless controller. For me this was and still is my favorite controller of all the Nintendo systems.
My brother was over visiting one day last summer and he got to talking about how he loved playing the bowling game on his daughter's Wii system and since I had just come into some extra cash with a design job I did we headed over to our local Gamestop and bought one. I also bought an extra controller, so we could both play bowling, which turned out to be quite fun. Since I had the Wii now in my possesion naturally I had to buy The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. These games were expensive, but it would have been a crime if I didn't get it. This soon became my second favorite Zelda game. TP is a beautiful game to look at filled with stunning visuals and awesome game play. What was amazing about Twilight Princess was using the Wii's controller to navigate this new Zelda world. The responsiveness of the Wii controller surprised me and soon I was spending countless hours trying to catch every fish there was in Hyrule.
So there you have it - my Zelda trip down memory lane. Have you got your own Zelda memories to share? Let us hear about it in the comments.