My plan was to take my Gothic save with me over the weekend, so I could play it on my laptop. I copied it to my flash drive, but I left my flash drive plugged into my primary PC in Varaždin, so that plan is out of the picture. I thought about my options and then realized I have a challenge that’s sort of in progress, but I haven’t touched it in months – my Legend of Zelda challenge. Because of this, I got a Link’s Awakening rom and loaded up VisualBoyAdvance. Before I get to that, though, let me tell you a story or two.
Challenge Part 3, Link’s Awakening
Link’s Awakening is a Legend of Zelda game I actually played as a kid. As I already wrote on this blog, early gaming in Croatia was nowhere near the level of the West. We were always a generation or more behind the modern world when it comes to consoles and games and even then, we mostly bought pirated software and hardware due to a multitude of reasons.
So with all that in mind, how did I get my hands on an actual GameBoy and an actual game? I didn’t. I had a cousin who did.
Cousin #1, Waterworld and Link’s Awakening
Somehow, my cousin got his hands on an actual GameBoy and owned two games with it – Waterworld and Link’s Awakening. Both were in German and both were a bit advanced for us. At that time, Tetris and simple LED games were about the only thing we experienced as gamers, so an actual adventure game with puzzles, dialogue, equipment and a save option. All of those things confused the hell out of us.
Because of that, I’m embarrassed to say, I considered Waterworld to be the better game. I considered it, but I still ended up itching to play Link’s Awakening more often. I guess good games are good no matter what you think. In hindsight, I probably annoyed the hell out of my cousin because I kept hanging out at his place. I was the annoying kid obsessed with games, and he was the cool kid who only plays to waste some time every now and then. I guess gaming was my hobby before I even owned a proper console of my own.
I remember an instance where we somehow managed to delete a saved game and then couldn’t understand why Link didn’t have a sword anymore. We actually looked at the manual, not understanding any of it and then tried to create two new save files, named Ganon and Zelda, because we thought that’s what we saw on the screenshots in the booklet, hoping that would somehow give as the sword. Yes, we actually though Zelda was the name of the character we controlled.
I remember how proud I was when I finally figured out where to get the sword on a fresh save. Even then, neither of us understood the concept of saving the game and continuing later. The game we played before that just didn’t have that feature.
Cousin #2 and just Link’s Awakening
I also remember my cousin’s GameBoy somehow just disappeared one day. I never found out where it went, but that was it for Link’s Awakening for a while. My cousin then got an actual Nintendo Entertainment System, with Super Mario, Wild Gunman, Duck Hunt and a few more games, but The Legend of Zelda was gone and we went back to regular, simple games, without dialogue or saved progress.
About a year later, another cousin, this one some 20 years older than me, also got his hands on a GameBoy and a copy of Link’s Awakening. This time, I managed to figure out you can save your game and continue later and I figured out the concept of equipment. I remember getting to the point where I could jump, lift rocks and even swim, so from what I know now, it’s might be that I was about half done with the game, but I never managed to complete it. My cousin only lent me the GameBoy for a few days and once the third set of batteries was dry, so was my battery fund, so that was it.
In any case, Link’s Awakening was the only Zelda game that I played when it was current and probably the only video game before the PlayStation was out that I played when it was current. Sure, I talked about owning a Genesis, but even that, as ahead of this region as it was, was still nearly a generation behind. It’s a nice memory to have.