I'm pretty sure I will never finish The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD
I realize that I’m not going to blow anyone’s mind by admitting that I love The Legend of Zelda and have since childhood. In fact, it’s practically a given: If you consider yourself a gamer, you probably have a longstanding love affair with this iconic Nintendo franchise. That said, the following statement actually may come as a surprise:
I have only ever finished one Legend of Zelda game.
Even more surprising is which Zelda game’s end credits I actually saw. No, it wasn’t Ocarina of Time, nor was it A Link to the Past. It wasn’t even the original NES game. It was Twilight Princess.
While I’m putting myself into a tiny minority by admitting that Twilight Princess is my favorite game in the series, that’s not why it’s the only one I’ve played to completion (and 100% completion, at that.) That may be a tiny factor, but it’s not the main reason by a long shot; my life has simply never been conducive to finishing Zelda games.
Let’s be honest here, The Legend of Zelda for NES was damn hard — Nintendo hard. I tried to complete it several times, and, every single time, I gave up around the sixth or seventh dungeon. I’ve since gone back using an emulator and taken advantage of the quicksave feature, and that game still conquers my willpower as a gamer. And this is coming from a guy who has finished every NES Mega Man game (with the exception of 4) multiple times — a guy who never had a problem with the hoverbike scene in Battletoads and who refuses to use cheat codes in The Sims. The original Zelda game just destroys me.
Link’s Awakening is a bit off the beaten path as far as Link’s adventures are concerned, but I’d probably call that my second favorite Zelda game ever made. Why did I never finish it, then? Well, as a young teen who only worked a few days a month, I hardly had any disposable income to speak of, and, having borrowed a Game Boy Color for the sole purpose of playing Link’s Awakening, I was burning through batteries faster than I could afford to buy more. Ultimately, it was the cost of AA batteries that did me in on that endeavor. No, they aren’t super expensive, but I had to buy things like angsty punk rock records, Star Wars action figures and junk food too. There just wasn’t room in my budget to refill my AA battery supply as fast as Link’s Awakening was draining it.
I skipped three entire generations of Nintendo consoles — SNES, N64, and GameCube — which resulted in me not having the chance to play the Zelda games for those consoles on their original runs. Yes, I missed Ocarina of Time when it was still fresh, and, even though I’ve gone back and retrospectively played it, I’ve never had the time to finish it.
Sigh. Time. That’s the factor that has held me back from pretty much every other Zelda game I’ve ever played.
I’ve gone back to play A Link to the Past, but was investing gobs of time into The Lord of the Rings Online back then. I played quite a bit of Phantom Hourglass when I first got my DS, but I had this bad habit of buying DS games far faster than I could ever finish any of them. Nintendo released Skyward Sword during November of 2011, a time period that was brutal for those of us who write about video games. It was competing with games like Skyrim, Uncharted 3, and Modern Warfare 3, as well as the HD re-releases of the PS2-era Metal Gear games and the original Halo.
When Twilight Princess came out, the Wii was the only game console in my house, and Twilight Princess was the first game I bought for it. I was only working part time, and I had a very light load as a college freshman. The timing was perfect, and I did absolutely everything there was to do in that game.
With the physical release of The Wind Waker HD just a few days away (I plan on buying a physical copy due to the limited hard drive space of the Wii U), I’m ready to once again start plowing through an adventure I’m sure I’ll adore.
But I’m not expecting to finish it. No, not with Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn begging for my attention while I’m causing inordinate amounts of chaos in Grand Theft Auto V. Not with two new consoles only a couple months away. Not with a Lord of the Rings Online expansion (which I’m pretty sure I’ll be reviewing) just around the corner.
But that doesn’t mean I won’t try.