(Review archived from November 18, 2014)
For me this was the game that started all. I received a shiny new NES console along with this game on a fateful Christmas morning in 1987 in the form of a gift from my Mom. I had never really been bitten by the arcade craze partly due to growing up in a rural area, and partly due to not having much money to expend on such things anyway (let alone enough money for a PC). So this is the game opened up a world of gaming for me. It showed me the adventure, mystery, and immersion that were possible through digital worlds. The Legend of Zelda is the genesis of my gaming universe. To say that this game is drenched in nostalgia for me is a vast understatement. I’ve completed the game so many times at various points in my life that playing through it now is like invoking a memory map of the better part of a lifetime. I used to play through it once a year (generally around the new year), but I actually haven’t played it for a number of years. My old annual play through ritual rarely included playing through the Second Quest, so this time around I completed both quests and thoroughly enjoyed myself. It’s just an utterly genius game, and absolutely astounding given the time of release. For me it’s basically a meditative experience at this point; ‘Zen and the Art of NES Gaming’ if you will. It has everything essential to an action adventure game and absolutely nothing that isn’t. A perfectly crystallized experience in gaming which continues to refract the light shone through upon everything that’s come after. Just perfection.