First Impressions: The Adventure of Link

Video Games | Double Jump | Nintendo | Legend of Zelda | Link | Writing

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While we wanted to do a review of The Adventure of Link for the NES for our Zelda Month, time escaped us with the holidays and such. Despite that, we were able to play a bit of the game and… it wasn’t too bad, in all honesty, especially with the controls. We’ve heard that The Adventure of Link was a bit awkward compared to the other games in the Legend of Zelda franchise, and I can agree.

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It wasn’t a bad game at all. It was awkward in the sense that we had no idea where to go on the map and Link himself looked a little odd. He looked like he had no pants. Still, I enjoyed the little bits we played… I say little bits because we’re terrible at the game.

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Being an NES game, the only buttons are used for Link’s sword and jumping, which amused me because I forgot there was a game before Breath of the Wild where Link had the ability to jump. The graphics were definitely interesting but I’m not sure I could go back to a Legend of Zelda game that’s a 2D side-scroller. I missed the story and the maps.

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Yeah, aside from the game play, there’s not much to the game at all. You’re thrown into this world where you wander around aimlessly until you find places to go and dungeons to beat. We didn’t get past the first dungeon though… I lost count of how many times we gamed over.

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Hey, I was proud that we got to some of the more difficult enemies in the first dungeon! Practicing our sword swings and jumping around like frogs to move forward was pretty fun. I think my favorite part of playing, though, was when you were trying to see one of the healing ladies and she shut the door on your face, Rachel.

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I know, right? That lady told me to follow her so she could heal me and then she shut the door before I made it into the house. Then she left and I had to talk to her again to get her to heal me. Overall, the game was fun. I do hope to get back to it eventually and actually beat it. Or, you know, get halfway through it or something. With the lesser of technology back then I assumed the older games would be “easier” than they are now… they’re not.

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It’s funny what the scale of difficulty is between games back then and now, isn’t it? Now, most games are equipped with tutorials and a little bit of hand-holding to get through the story and game itself. Back then, games gave you a couple of action buttons and threw you into the pixelated world. But, yes, it was fun to actually try it out.

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Overall, it was a fun game to try out. Like I said, I’d love to give it a try again sometime and see just how far we can really go.

Have you played The Adventure of Link? Let us know in the comments below!

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Flashback Friday: The Legend of Zelda Minish Cap

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Friday, everyone!

One of the last posts for Zelda Month, this Friday we’re talking about a game that came out for the GameBoy Advance. The Legend of Zelda: Minish Cap was a charming installment for the franchise.

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The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap was a game released for the GameBoy Advance back in 2005 for North America. Rather than traveling through time, morphing into a wolf, or sailing the seas, Link has a sarcastic hat that helps him shrink in size. It was a prequel, if you will, to Four Swords Adventures, wherein the main villain was Vaati the Wind Sorcerer. The Minish Cap helped to expand the backstory of that particular villain and the birth of the Four Sword.

The Minish — or Picori — are a race of bug-sized creatures that live in and around Hyrule. They are the ones who bestow green clothes and a sword to a boy to drive back the darkness. Vaati petrifies Zelda, and Link uses the aid of the Minish to collect the ancient artifacts to restore the Picori blade to its former glory to seal Vaati away.

I’ve played through this game back when it first came out and I found it enjoyable. The graphics were vivid and colorful, and the characters were amusing. Ezlo, the talking hat, was like a squawking, sarcastic bird, and poor Link just went along with it. The dungeons were fun and I don’t recall anything too frustrating. However, I never finished the game due to rage-quitting at the final boss.

The final boss battle is timed, and not by a ticking clock, but by the sound of bells. Vaati’s wizard-like form (not to be confused with his flying eyeball form in Four Swords Adventures) has three phases, and if you spend too much time beating him down, the final bell will chime and Zelda will be encased in stone forever.

Which is definitely what happened when I played the game.

Still, I remember the game being a fun time and it’s a game that I almost forgot existed until recently when Rachel and I started playing Four Swords Adventure on our Twitch channel. Perhaps one day I’ll return to it.

Have you played The Minish Cap? What did you think of it?

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Rumor: Skyward Sword HD for the Switch

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Monday everyone!

I hope everyone who celebrates it had a wonderful Thanksgiving and, whether or not you do celebrate it, I hope you all had a great weekend! 

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Here’s a rumor for you — supposedly Aonuma teased Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword for the Switch. There’s not much information at all on this topic, just that many people were tweeting about the tease after the Osaka Zelda concert.

I actually enjoyed Skyward Sword when it came out on the Wii about seven years ago. I wasn’t that great at the motion controls, but I didn’t mind them. In fact, my flailing was quite amusing, if Rachel’s opinion is anything to go by. The motion controls with the Joy-Con would probably be much more precise, considering the Joy-Con have much better gyro motion controls than the wiimote plus.

The story of Skyward Sword is definitely one of the more linear games, but I enjoyed the story, finding the “prequel” to the rest of the Zelda franchise interesting. If they do the HD remake, cutting down on some of the hand-holding and ridiculous dousing quests would make the story run smoother, in my opinion.

I remember loving the graphics and music of Skyward Sword, so if we do get to see it in HD with on the Switch — especially after seeing how gorgeous Breath of the Wild is — I’ll definitely be interested in it! It’s one of the Zelda games that I keep meaning to go back to, so Nintendo will have my money if Skyward Sword HD ends up being a thing.

Are you interested in a remake of Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword?

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Friday Favorites: Legend of Zelda Dungeons

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Friday everyone!

To continue along with Zelda Month, this week is all about the dungeons that are showcased in the games. Which means… Breath of the Wild probably won’t be on this list, since it had a multitude of shrines and Divine Beasts instead of traditional dungeons.

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Twilight Princess’s Snowpeak Ruins

This dungeon could be a challenge on its own with just the ice-coated rooms and the multitude of puzzles, but they also added in a Yeti couple. Yeto and Yeta are the residents of the Snowpeak Ruins, and Link navigates through the manor for ingredients so Yeto can make a soup to help heal his sick wife Yeta. It’s adorable, really, even though Yeta turns into a terrifying monster after she gets possessed. But everything is okay in the end.

Ocarina of Time’s Forest Temple

Returning Link to his childhood roots (pun not intended), the Forest Temple is a dungeon filled with strange rooms, puzzles, and plenty of enemies of the undead variety. The Poe Sisters are one of my favorite enemies to hunt down in the twisted, decrepit temple, and it introduces Phantom Ganon, who then goes on to make several appearances in later games in the franchise.

Skyward Sword’s Sandship

I found the Sandship to be a rather unique dungeon. Flipping between the past and the present with the help of the Timeshift stones, Link goes back and forth between a strong ship sailing on the waters and a rundown boat drowning in desert sands. I really enjoyed the battle with the mini boss Scervo, the robotic pirate captain, even if I wasn’t that great with the motion controls in the game.

What are some of your favorite dungeons in Legend of Zelda games?

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Song of Time and Song of Storms — Taylor Davis

Hello everyone! To go along with Zelda Month, this month’s music video showcases a blend of the Song of Time and Song of Storms, both from the Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. I believe I had this on a Friday Favorites a long time ago, but I figured it deserved to be given a little more of the spotlight, especially this month.

This cover is done by Taylor Davis and is probably one of my all-time favorite covers of hers. The violin and scenery are gorgeous, and Davis went all out with being in a Sheikah costume for the video. This particular video was released about 4 years ago — since then, Taylor Davis has two albums of original songs and a Christmas album (and a few other albums of covers, including one dedicated to Legend of Zelda music), not to mention about two to three tours under her belt.

We’ve showcased her work on this blog before with Gerudo Valley (one of Rachel’s favorites) and Megalovania from Undertale. We hope you enjoy this cover!

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Friday Favorites: Versions of Hyrule

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Friday everyone!

World building is important to me in video games. I love being invested in the land and the people in it whenever I play. The Legend of Zelda games tend to take place in Hyrule and there are plenty of fantastic versions of the land.

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Ocarina of Time’s Hyrule

Mainly for nostalgia purposes, Ocarina of Time’s Hyrule is one of my favorites mainly because it was my first introduction to the world. I was amazed at the different races of people and monsters that populated the land, as well as all the different landscapes and dungeons that were available to explore.

Skyward Sword’s Hyrule

Technically speaking, Hyrule doesn’t really exist just yet in Skyward Sword’s time. Instead, it’s called the Surface (or Grooseland, according to one character) since the kingdom isn’t established. I was in love with the graphics of this game and seeing the potential kingdom was fun, even if there were parts of the Surface that I wasn’t too fond of.

Twilight Princess’s Hyrule

If the competition between Wind Waker and Twilight Princess still existed, I would be on Twilight Princess’s side. Twilight Princess probably has some of my favorite graphics when it comes to the Zelda games, and I loved the expansive world I could explore while riding around on my horse. Twilight Princess probably also has one of my favorite versions of Kakariko Village — it’s sparse, but I adore the NPCs.

Breath of the Wild’s Hyrule

A desolated version of the kingdom, Breath of the Wild’s enormous map ensured that there was always plenty to explore and discover, especially with all the Easter eggs from previous Zelda games. It has one of my favorite endgames as well. True, the final boss was a tad easy, but it was in proportion to how hard you worked in helping the rest of Hyrule. The more Divine Beasts you freed, the more help Link had from the previous Champions in defeating Calamity Ganon. The more shrines you discovered, the more stamina or hearts you had for health in the final battle. The better prepared you were, the more skills you practiced, the easier the final fight. Jett, I wish I had this answer when we were talking about it during my Deltarune stream!

What is your favorite version of Hyrule?

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Stories We Need [Ocarina of Time & Majora’s Mask]

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Monday everyone!

This post goes along with our Zelda Month theme for November along with NaNoWriMo that Rachel and I also participate in every year. This is more of a personal, introspective piece, so I hope you enjoy it. 

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The story line of video games is important to me. Like a good book, I need to be invested in what is going on in the game, the “why is this nonsense happening,” the plot. Don’t get me wrong, games without stories — like beat-em-ups or racing games — can be just as fun, but I definitely prefer games with a strong story.

It may just be the writer in me or it could be due to the gaming influences I’ve grown up with. My first clear memory of Mario was from Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars rather than Super Mario World. Mario RPG had a story and an interesting world and characters who all had their own agendas and personalities, even if they were a little cliche. Mario World had a bare-bones story, making you go from level to level to chase down Bowser and the princess, and did its primary job of being a platformer.

(Of course, the other reason why Mario World’s story is so-so to me could be because, when I was first introduced to it, I wondered why the princess would need saving. Sure, at the beginning of Mario RPG, I learned that Bowser tended to kidnap her a lot, but after we busted her out, she refused to be left behind and joined the party to fight. Why couldn’t she just escape herself in Mario World with her frying pan and psych bombs? But, I digress.)

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time was another game that gave me a story line to adore. And, yes, most of the games in the rest of the franchise may have used the same general plot line — with the help of a woman with wisdom, a guy with courage goes to defeat a man with power — but they all have fantastic new adventures, and I’ve enjoyed most of them.

One that I did not particularly care for was Ocarina of Time’s sequel, Majora’s Mask. Despite the game’s following and all the praise it has gotten, I have never been able to bring myself to finish it. I have absolutely no desire to dive into that story myself.

Don’t get me wrong, Majora’s Mask was a game that I believe was done brilliantly. The themes of the plot — particularly loss, grief, and death — were heavy stuff that was pulled off masterfully. I appreciate what the game has brought to the table and how thought-provoking the game continues to be today.

But, unlike Ocarina of Time, Majora’s Mask was never a story I needed.

As a writer, one of the most overheard pieces of writing advice you hear is, “Write what you know.” Use your personal experiences, your feelings, your thoughts in your writing to evoke the same from your readers.

But that’s not why we write. We write to explore new worlds, to escape our current reality, to figure out our feelings, to maybe start following a different train of thought. Those are also the same reasons as to why I play video games.

Ocarina of Time came out in 1998 and Majora’s Mask in 2000. I’ll be honest, Ocarina of Time was a fun quest, one where I could play with the hero, but in 1998, I had no idea what I was doing. I just enjoyed meeting the characters, getting through a few dungeons and, on my uncle’s copy of the game, riding Epona around Hyrule Field on his (completed) save file. Majora’s Mask was darker, gloomier, and I didn’t care at all for the timed day mechanic as a kid.

The games came out on the Wii’s Virtual Console in 2007 and 2009, respectively, and I remember being excited for them. For the first time, I actually beat Ocarina of Time on my own, and the rush of accomplishment and pride was amazing. I was seventeen, in the second half of my junior year of high school, the time when everyone in my grade was panicking about SATs and college applications. While I did well in high school, I was firmly pretending that college was not a thing that existed. I ignored the impending deadlines, ignored the anxiety of trying to figure out a college major let alone a school, ignored the fact that my best friends were looking to go out of state.

I eventually made the decision not to even apply to any schools. Instead, I got a job while going to the local community college for an associates degree in information technology. When the SATs rolled around, my friends spent the night before with SAT prep books and practice tests. Me? I played video games with Rachel.

Ocarina of Time let me be in control during that tumultuous part of my life. I was with the hero, I was helping and saving people. I was allowed to explore the unknown, to figure out what I needed and wanted to do. I was able to get a horse. I was part of a story where I could make a difference.

I tried playing Majora’s Mask when it became available on the Virtual Console, and I beat a couple of the dungeons before being done. At that point in my life, I was nineteen and feeling left behind when comparing myself with my friends’ journeys. I was in the middle of switching my associate’s degree from IT to computer forensics to see if that would help keep me interested in school while still working retail. My passions for writing and gaming were getting more serious, but there was always those niggling questions of, “But what will you do for money? How will you do that for a living?”

Majora’s Mask echoed the chaos that I felt then. I was running out of time. I was missing friends from high school, friends that had promised with me to keep in touch, but then the friendships dissolved. I was part of too many stories that could be erased at any time, ones where my efforts wouldn’t matter and I’d find myself stuck at the beginning. Or, worse, a dead end.

It wasn’t the kind of story, the kind of game, that I needed back then.

Of course, my retail and computer skills have helped me tremendously with my current job. It’s not as creative as I would like it, but it has given me fantastic coworkers, an actual schedule, benefits, and pay that helps support both my bills and my gaming. While I’m not quite where I want to be yet, I can’t complain about where my life path has taken me. Ocarina’s story, to me, was about exploring and finding yourself and that’s what I’m still doing.

People should be told to write (or play) what you need more often. Stories have such a profound effect on readers, gamers, what-have-you, that I don’t believe people realize how much they need a story until they experience it. Ocarina of Time is one of my favorite stories from the Legend of Zelda franchise because it is what I needed at that time in my life. It’s taken me some time to fully realize it’s impact, but better late than never, right?

What video game story line do you feel has made an impact on your life?

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