Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, level one

As I enter the eastern palace and go to the left, my friend laughs maniacally when I enter a room that has no floor.

“It’s a good thing I’m such a timid player,” I say haughtily, “otherwise I would have run right off that ledge.”

I back up and find a button—or rather she tells me to push a button that I thought was just a plant stand—and enter another room with what look like dancing bananas. Apparently, they’re Popo, but to me they look like bananas that are swinging their peel-arms around like Kermit the Frog when he's super stoked about something.

Strange times, these are.

Next, I enter a room that has giant balls rolling toward me in a weird mix between Indiana Jones and Frogger. And then I’m faced with a bunch of skeletons, which, you know, is great. Except that instead of having the coordination to face them and throw that wonderful boomerang to kill them in close range, I die. And my friend takes the controller away from me again to “get more faeries.”


I find it easier to not watch my friend play since her expertise puts me to shame. Rooms are passed through like they’re rooms in her own house. Of course, this is what happens when you’ve been a gamer since you could pick up a controller, but it does situate me in a place of both awe and shame.

I’m back in the room where I’m supposed to tread on the bones of the skeletons’ ancestors so that they show up. Seems a little rude. Isn't there some kind of rule where you're not supposed to tread on the graves of people's ancestors? If there's not, there really should be.

“Now pick up a pot and throw it at them,” she tells me.

They die instantly. Well that was a lot easier! Except I miss with the last pot and I run away from my boomerang and into the dangerous arms of Mr. Skeleton. Thankfully, I did finally beat the monster and was given a bomb as a reward.

Not sure what I’m learning, morally, from this game. But I keep going.

The sleeping guards who require a little more manpower and skill are the ones that keep killing me. I’m pretty sure I’ve gotten used to how to kill the skeletons, but those big suckers are really showcasing my lack of button coordination. Instead of calmly smashing a pot over their awakened heads, I throw it too soon, run away in a panic and shoot arrows in all the wrong directions before eventually succumbing to... 


Good news! After a couple of deaths and a couple of saving faeries that I trapped in magic bottles with the use of a butterfly net—what is happening to me?—I finally got the Pendant of Courage that I will now take back to Sahasrahla.

But seriously.

What is happening to me? Why do I understand what these words mean? A few hours ago I would've laughed at people talking about pendants of courage and trapping faeries in magic bottles and now I know what it means? Excuse me a moment as I question everything that has brought me to this moment.

Although, I still can’t pronounce these elderly names. "Sahasrahla" one sounds more like a phlegmy cough than any kind of name.

Further good news is now that I’ve brought the Pendant of Courage to Sahashralalalala, he gave me a pair of snazzy boots. Red. I hope sequined. And looking like Ted Mosby’s cowboy boots in How I Met Your Mother.

He calls them Pegasus Shoes. I call them freakin' awesome.

And I used them to run from frame to frame, room to room and past guards like an Olympic sprinter. I even out-ran an arrow, so my day is looking up.

Although I don’t think this devastating dash attack is really making me believe Link is any less insane than I thought he was. He runs full-tilt into trees to get money and into bookshelves to get a book. There are easier ways to attain these things, Link. Like reaching up. Reach for the book. Do you have to run full speed into a library book shelf? It looks psychotic and I'd imagine it causes some difficult-to-explain bruises.

"What happened to your face?" your doctor might ask.

"I ran into a bookshelf."


"I needed the book on top."

"Reach up you moron," your doctor says while shaking his head and prescribing you a psychiatric consultation.

After leaving a home where some serious sibling rivalry is evident (where one son sealed up his brother in a room with only access to a backyard overlooking a cliff where his parents worked a strange operation), I go into their parents’ backyard. It is here that I have to make it through a maze in 15 seconds in order to talk to some guy. What is wrong with these villagers?! Has the fact that their son locked them in the backyard driven them insane? Or do they not have anything better to do than toy with strangers? 

I do end up robbing them and destroy their pottery, so I guess we’re even.

Some more stuff happens that feels a bit like a blur. And I'm only able to keep track of a few things:

(1) I now realize I have pink hair.

(2) There's a strange wish sequence in which the pink hair is revealed.

(3) I dodged land mines, cacti and vultures.

I guess I'm on to level two.

And that's not even what's bothering me. I think the blur of events is due to actual interest in the game. There was less screaming and more genuine interest in how to defeat the boss. And I don't mean the boss who overlooks my productivity levels – unless my productivity levels are managed by how quickly I can murder the monster trying to kill me.

I fear a change within me. And not the kind of change that brings hot flashes and mood swings. I still have a few years before that bomb crashes.

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