I cannot wait for The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword to come out this weekend, but can I be a Zelda fan (which I self identify as) if I have only ever played through two of the series’ games in their entirety?
The two games in the series I have played through are Ocarina of Time and Twilight Princess and I regard them both as two of my favorite games of all time. Ocarina was one of many great games on the Nintendo 64 and one of the few games I have played through at least three times. Sitting here and praising Ocarina is a waste of time as everyone knows why it is considered an all-time classic, but for the record I am on the same page. In fact, I can’t wait to play it again on the 3DS whenever I get around to getting one of those.
As for Twilight Princess, I loved the underworld elements of the game and the wolf stuff was a fun spin for the series. I plowed through the game and enjoyed it almost every step of the way. The amount of hours I plunged into this game scouring for every treasure box I could is probably better not known, but I am excited at the apparently epicness upcoming in Skyward Sword and will search high and low for everything it has to offer. Twilight Princess was one of the best Wii/GameCube games in Nintendo’s post N64 era and I was happy to have Zelda back in a more Ocarina vibe/style.
These might be the only Zelda games I have beaten, but they aren’t the only ones I have tried to play. I have begun and failed at playing through quite a few titles in the series and have stopped for a multitude of reasons. Wind Waker was fun and I loved the graphics/art design, but the sailing drove me mad. I got to a point where I had to seemingly mine every inch of the sea map and I sold the game back to GameStop when they had their 7 day full return policy on opened games; that was amazing by the way. I was eagerly awaiting Majora’s Mask after my love for Ocarina, but if I remember correctly I put the game in my system once and never touched it again after a try or two. The world kept ending on me constantly and I was just fucking terrible at the game. I couldn’t figure out how the games structure worked and I despised the game for years after.
On the handhelds my first experience was with the top down throwback Oracle of Seasons. I never played its sister game, Oracle of Ages, as I failed gloriously at Seasons and didn’t get all that far into it. I was a shitty Zelda player back then and at the time I was amazed I ever got through Ocarina, let alone enjoyed it as much as I did; a testament to how great Ocarina is. My other handheld Zelda adventure was Phantom Hourglass and, like its spiritual predecessor Wind Waker, I really enjoyed it but the sailing killed it for me. I shouldn’t say it killed it, but I haven’t had a whole lot of time to get into again for whatever reason. I would like to try it again though and maybe the next trip I take I will give it another whirl.
Speaking of taking things for another whirl, picking up a Zelda game and trying to play it again is a cornerstone of my relationship with the series; starting with a replay of Majora’s Mask. Something clicked this time around and I found myself having quite a lot of fun playing through things this time. I got the gimmick and was moving forward in the game before life derailed my attempt to finally play through this cult classic. Also recently getting a replay in my Wii has been Wind Waker and I find myself enjoying the game far more than the first time through. The game is great, but I haven’t gotten to the part that spurred me away last time and I hope to get through it one of these days, sooner or later.
Another big red flag against me being a Zelda fan is I have never played an 8 or 16 bit console version of the series. That’s right; I have never played Link to the Past, Link’s Awakening, or the original Legend of Zelda. Take my Zelda card away if you must but I still think I am a fan.
This topic is an interesting conundrum for any fandom actually with the question, “Can you be a fan if you have never experienced the original?” I say yes and point to Star Wars as a prime example of this phenomena. I work in an elementary school and see countless kids, everyday, wearing Star Wars shirts and most of these kids haven’t seen any of the movies. The Clone Wars has become “Star Wars” for a generation of kids and they are just as big a fan as you and me when it comes to that series. I might not have the youth excuse on my side as I was old enough to play those original Zelda games in their first run, but I was a late bloomer on the franchise. I’ll get around to them one of these days.
So am I a Zelda fan? I certainly think so and as I get excited for Skyward Sword this weekend I can’t wait to dive into the world of The Legend of Zelda again. Hopefully I finish it, maybe I will be driven away, only time will tell, but me and my golden Wii controller are going to embrace the game the best we can. And no matter what, I will still be a Zelda fan when I come out on the other side.