The Legend of Zelda epitomizes every child’s dream. A youth sets out on a quest to extinguish evil from the land, embodying all that is good and the hero goes through a deeply personal journey in the process. When I was six years old, my uncle bought me A Link to the Past for Christmas. This was not my first exposure to the Zelda franchise, but it was the first game that was mine. He sent it sometime in November, so when my parents weren’t looking I decided to open it early, being the impatient child that I was. I got in a moderate amount of trouble, but my dad allowed me to play it regardless. This experience set me on my current path in my life and has helped define who I’ve grown to be.
A year prior to this, my family got the Super Nintendo Entertainment System for Christmas, so we were accustomed to playing games such as Super Mario World as a family. As soon as I ripped open A Link to the Past, my dad and I started playing. We were enthralled and it was an extraordinary experience. We would explore a world ripe with adventure, solve puzzles together, and tackle one dungeon at a time. We would usually take turns, although at times my dad was more into the game than I was ironically. I actually had nightmares about the wizard Agahnim, so the game frightened me a bit. We would play for hours at a time, though and it seemed like forever until we were able to reach the Dark World.
Although simplistic by nature, the story for A Link to the Past was far ahead of its time. My dad and I were enthralled by it and couldn’t get enough of the game. In fact, there was one day at school where we had an assembly. We were currently playing through Death Mountain in A Link to the Past and both my parents attended the school event. Many of the children’s parents took them home after the event was over, but mine refused. Instead of accepting this, I started crying uncontrollably simply because I wanted to play A Link to the Past. This little trick worked.
My parents took me home and my dad and I continued our adventure, traversing the treacherous Death Mountain onwards to the Tower of Hera. From there we went to the Lost Woods, a memory which will forever be etched in my memory, and claimed the Master Sword for the very first time. We were ecstatic. Was the game finally coming to a close? After facing Agahnim in Hyrule Castle, much to our surprise, a completely new world opened up: the Dark World. The dungeons were much more difficult and we only managed to finish up to the Swamp Palace, but the memories we shared together were irreplaceable.
While my dad has gotten older and no longer plays video games, our time together playing Zelda will always be something I cherish. It helped us bond on a very special level and were able to share one of my favorite hobbies together. Even though I was a young boy, we had so many fun adventures and A Link to the Past is still one of my favorite Zelda games to date. In a time before online walkthroughs, we had to traverse the land of Hyrule all on our own and figure out where to go next by ourselves, which wasn’t an easy feat for an adult and a six-year-old boy. I thank my dad for all the wonderful memories (and my uncle too), because if not for our time playing Zelda, I wouldn’t be here writing about it today.