As Link hoisted the Master Sword above his head, I could literally feel the hilt in my hand. I was Link.
Gaming has always been a form of entertainment for me for since the early ages, but there are times that it has been much more. Gaming became an escape, a secret door that lead to another world where I was free from the daily restraints of life. From an endless supply of titles one game stood above the rest, the pathway to my secret place that only I knew about…Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past.
I had been a Zelda fan since the very first title was released, but none before have gripped my imaginative soul the way A Link to the Past has. The moment that opening title sprawled across my 16” television set I was mesmerized. Instantly transported to another dimension in which I watched myself from above waking in a loan cabin, called from my sleep by a mysterious voice. I watched myself wander about in the rain, following that sweet voice toward a castle I have only seen from a distance. Guards denied me, but surrendering was not an option. The voice echoed on until I found a secret passage hidden beneath a shrub, a passage that lead me to a dark underworld beneath the castle. And so my journey began. Every shift of the screen revealing a new section of the map was like discovering strange new lands for the very first time. Completing a dungeon became my right of passage in hopes of becoming a great warrior. A great warrior I became, the ultimate hero in a green tunic, the master of MY world.
No matter the hurdles life presented, no matter how bad of a day I was having, or even for no reason whatsoever I was bound to that grey SNES cartridge. Of course my competitive side always stepped forth to tackle every challenge and complete the title, but I found myself denying the urge to finish the game. I didn’t want it to end, so I spent most of my time completing side missions or just roaming around the beautiful land of Hyrule doing nothing at all. Visiting every house using my sword to cut down shrubs I pretended I was a landscaper, stopping every so often to talk to villagers or perhaps ward off a threat.
Link and I were one in the same. I was so immersed that the real world around me faded away, often being yanked away from my land by the screams of my mother or father who were trying to get my attention to come to dinner. Eventually, I fought my way through this challenging game defeating the master of evil with my great sword. I rescued the princess and freed the land of darkness. Victory was sweet, but I couldn’t help feel a tinge of sadness knowing it was all over. Sure, I found myself from time to time traveling the lands, exploring, landscaping away, but it wasn’t the same. It was never the same again for any game that came after. It was a feeling almost impossible for me to describe, but I feeling I will soon never forget. One thing is certain, I am forever grateful Nintendo released this masterpiece. There have been many games to come after that helped me escape the realms of normalcy, but none quite like Zelda: A Link to the Past.