Random Memory Connections: December and Zelda

Many of us have weird memory connections where we associate one item, subject, scent, or taste, to something else that may be completely unrelated.  Seasons are like that for me; whenever a particular season comes along, I become drawn towards certain things that on the whole have no relationship to it.  In particular, whenever December arrives, I usually get in the mood for some Legend of Zelda.

Back when I was a kid, we didn’t have a NES, but my brother showed me the wonders of emulators.  By the late 90s these things had already become plentiful and were able to more than handle the NES’ outdated 8-bit graphics.  Anyway, one game that I played a ton of was Legend of Zelda on the NES.  This game was phenomenal and it was quite fun to play albeit challenging.

I have to stress at this point that playing Zelda on an emulator made the game easier than it was (especially for Zelda II).  Many times, I would makes a save state on the ROM right before entering a boss room, if I failed then I can just quickly reload that save state and battle the boss again and again until I eventually defeat him.

But that’s besides the point.  For some reason, I remember playing Zelda in December.  Perhaps that’s when I first started playing it but it doesn’t matter.  One particular memory I have was when I was in the graveyard battling out with the ghosts and hoping I would eventually find the Master Sword.  After that, my brother and I went to the grocery store and bought multi-flavored candy canes for a Christmas party my parents were hosting.  Outside, it was your typical December day in Kansas, cold and cloudy.

I assume this mixture of strong emotional connections, Christmas+Cold+Zelda, helped me associate Zelda with this month.  It’s pretty funny because when I get a hankering for Zelda, it’s never really new Zelda I want to play, it’s the old games like the first one on the NES or A Link to the Past.  They have such a nice quality to them that its easy to replay them again and again.

I guess that’s the main reason why I like NES Zelda.  I have such a strong fondness to it that I can’t really place it for any other game including Pokemon.  It’s very much a kid’s game in the amount of exploration you do.  Unlike most of the sequels’ strictly linear structure, NES Zelda’s laissez faire style was so endearing you can’t help but feel like an honest Adventurer.   You were, for the most part, not limited to where you can go or who you can fight and provided you saved up enough rupees you can access a good chunk of the map early on.  It again reminds me of my childhood.  While I was growing up, we lived in the still new part of town next to a newly built golf course.  The amount of outside exploration I did was outstanding as I became aware of every part of, what seemed like to me, my large home.    I especially remember thrashing through the woods with my wooden sword and swiping at every branch that stood my way.

As such, the NES Zelda seem to call to me and want me to explore the land of Hyrule all over again.  To rediscover its secrets and defeat the bad guys.  The best part is that my usual confliction between my love for both outdoors and video games is erased when it gets miserable out.  With all qualms aside, I can sit back, relax, play some Legend of Zelda, and let the good times roll.

As many of you have noticed I have updated the website for a new design, I welcome any new opinions on it if you so desire to tell me.


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