Is the Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening still relevant?
This article was originally published on Geek Party on October 30, 2014.
If it wasn’t for the fact that A Link Between Worlds was a perfect game, I would’ve given up on The Legend of Zelda.
I tried really hard to like Skyward Sword, I swear. Giving up on that game was like breaking up with a longtime girlfriend. I still found Skyward Sword attractive, but she was so boring that I often found myself texting Dark Souls every time we hung out.
And what’s the deal with people caring about Hyrule Warriors? Are you kidding me? Dynasty Warriors has always been a poor life decision, regardless of whether or not Ganondorf is a playable character.
Giving up on Zelda is not something I considered lightly. Zelda has played larger role in my life than any other franchise. It’s what made me a gamer. For over a decade, I purchased Nintendo consoles exclusively for Zelda. When I bought the GameCube, it wasn’t because they lowered the price to $99 — it was because it came with the Legend of Zelda: Collector’s Edition. The only reason I have a Wiimote Plus is because of Zelda.
I first contracted this disease when my grandma bought my sister a Game Boy for her birthday. It came bundled with Link’s Awakening, which was promptly handed off to me because she “got stuck.” Link’s Awakening was not the first time I enjoyed playing a video game, but it was the first time that I became truly engaged in one; Super Mario Bros. 3 is a classic, no doubt, but the story didn’t exactly evoke an emotional response in me.
This was the first time I actively searched for more information about a game, which was not an easy task considering the state of the Internet at the time. If I got stuck, I had to, like, talk to people at school (I know, gross). Long story short, I never gave my sister her Game Boy back.
One thing that makes Link’s Awakening (and A Link Between Worlds) different from a modern Zelda game is a metric a friend told me about called “Time-to-Sword.” It’s the time between starting a new game, and getting your sword. Historically, the lower the TTS, the more enjoyable the game is. Link’s Awakening’s TTS is less than five minutes. Skyward Sword has a TTS that’s closer to 45 minutes.
So would modern gamers enjoy Link’s Awakening? It’s hard to say.
The biggest obstacle is the presentation. The current generation is obsessed with HD graphics. The graphics in Link’s Awakening come in two colors — green and slightly less green. Sure, DX came out a few years later and added some more color, but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s still a Game Boy game.
People probably also complain about how linear the game is, but those people can’t be helped.