In 1996, I was four years old when we were gifted a few games by my older cousin. One of those games was The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. It sank into my flesh as a part of me. I still love this game, the adventure within it and the adventures it has inspired me to take on in the real and digital world.
In 1998, after a streak of repeat rentals from Blockbuster video, my mother realized she had spent more on renting the same game than she would have if she had just bought it. Enough was enough, so she went out and bought me The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, and it was finally only mine to explore.
In 2000 and 2001 I had the pleasure of getting Zelda: Majora’s Mask for my birthday, and following up the next year I delved into the Capcom created masterpiece Oracle of Ages for the Gameboy color. At this point, the love for Zelda would be something I held for the rest of my days and nothing would change that.
In between, I played both classics I had never played and new games as they came. Some of the favorites in the list include Zelda 1, Link’s Awakening and the Wind Waker.
On November 19th, 2006, the day had come. I sat outside Best Buy patiently and excitingly awaiting the Nintendo Wii and with it, The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. I know this game is held dear by many, and over time I’ve come to enjoy it overall, but it remains to this day one of my least favorites and biggest Disappointments in my gaming history.
The reason for this is because of how I was misled. The trailers leading up to the release demonstrated a new kind of Zelda. One with a stronger call for adventure and the freedom that comes with it. Maybe I was just an overexcited kid who overhyped himself, but a common description of the game from Nintendo themselves was, “the next Ocarina of Time.” To me it just didn’t hold up.
Since then I’ve always loved Zelda, and as I said, I always will. I played and enjoyed every Zelda since then, but today it seems there is an opportunity. Nintendo may have finally made that game I was excited for ten years ago. However, excited I am, I’m holding out from the levels of the past.
I’m holding out because even as I seen site after site published reviews with max scores, that chance, that small chance of still exists that I’ll be disappointed. Now I really don’t THINK I will be, but I’d rather hold steady than fall apart from the disappointment.
On top of that, however good Breath of the Wild will come to be, I know infinitely within myself it could very likely BE better. The inflated 10s/5s/40s the reviewers are offering are representing something more. It’s not that Breath of the Wild is a perfect game, it’s that Nintendo is finally along the right path. It’s very likely the Zelda we wanted ten years ago, and it’s finally here.
However grand this game is, it can’t stand alone. This is a new beginning for Zelda as a franchise. It is being reinvented as an open world action/RPG that emphasizes freedom of adventure over collecting objects and solving static puzzles.
The future of Zelda and Nintendo is being forged tonight in either our praise or disappointment. To those joining me in the adventure I wish you the grandest of quests and the finest of treasures.