Nintendo released another way for people to play The Legend of Zelda, The Adventure of Link, and Link’s Awakening this fall when they released a new Game & Watch. The previous one, Super Mario and Super Mario the Lost Levels, was okay, but not something I can spend a lot of time playing. For me, it was just another way to play a game I love! The Legend of Zelda on the NES was the first video game I received as a birthday present. I was five years old when I got it. I still remember being in that Chuck e Cheese with a bunch of my friends, or at least the kids I grew up with. I don’t really have the same nostalgia for the other two games on the Game & Watch.
The NES version of Legend of Zelda is a game I compared to comfort food. It’s a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, a grilled cheese sandwich, or what ever you eat when you just want something quick and easy. After several decades, and multiple ports of the game, I know just about everything about the first quest. The second quest and the no sword run still bother me. Trying to speed run it would be interesting, but I just enjoy wandering through it.
There was just something special about the game back in the late 80s. Zelda was special when you compared it to the other games in the NES library. At least the small library I was working with back then. My family owned five games: Super Mario/Duck Hunt, Super Tecmo Bowl, Air Fortress, Super Mario 3, and The Legend of Zelda. There were the rentals of course, but none of the games we rented were like Zelda. The games I would play at my friend’s houses were also a lot of fun. There was just something about The Legend of Zelda that stood out from all the others. Especially, since they were games like Friday the 13th, Dick Tracy, Back to the Future, Batman, and all the Mega Man games. While I had fun playing those games, no matter what the opinions of them are now, Zelda seems to have been able to stay with me consistently over the years.
Two other memories of playing the game stand out to me. The first are from my time in the Navy when I was standing in line waiting for the mess hall to open up. This version was the Game Boy Advance port. Normally, I only had about 10-20 minutes to play, read, or just ponder my own existence before we got to eat something that met the minimum requirements to be called food. This was in the early 2000s, and I’m guessing it’s gotten better by now (maybe). I would just get lost in that little world for a bit and not have to think about what I had to do. It was a nice little escape from a place where I never felt like I belonged.
The second time was when the Wii port was released. I was home on leave and visiting a friend of mine. I don’t remember what we were doing, but he showed me the Wii, and the port of The Legend of Zelda. I played it while we talked about something for an hour or so. When It was time to leave he asked me if I wanted to save it. I was going to level five, and said it wasn’t a big deal as I could get back there any time. He looked a little surprised by that. I’m not normally good at video games, but there is something about The Legend of Zelda.
I wouldn’t say I’m great at this game. There is still a lot I don’t know and haven’t been able to do in the game yet. There is just something about the first game I love and keep coming back too. The second game, The Adventure of Link, is fun, but I just don’t have the same love for it. I think we rented it or borrowed it from a neighbor at some point. I just don’t have the same love for it. The Game Boy game, Link’s Awakening, is similar to the way I feel about the second game. I enjoy it more as it’s a top-down Zelda game, but I don’t have the same feelings about it as I do with the first game.
The Game & Watch versions of the game are great! They are a wonderful way to play them, especially with the rising prices of retro games. There have been re-releases and ports of them to the Switch. Those are fine. I think for something simple, the Game & Watch is a great way to have all three in one place if you don’t have a Switch.