Behind the Curve – The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening (1993)
(Warning: This article spoils a twist in the story of The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening. That being said, the twist is super obvious. In fact, I wrote this article only three quarters of the way through the game.)
The fact that I haven’t finished this relatively short game at time of writing should be an indicator that I’m not exactly salivating over it. I acquired Link’s Awakening years ago, probably from a garage sale or something like that, and I only started playing after deciding to work through my gaming backlog.
Whatever the sweet-spot is for enjoying Zelda games, I must have missed it. I was very big into them when I was a kid, but thinking back I can’t remember beating any of them. Perhaps they were just too long and complex for my young, ADHD-addled mind. Now that I’m older and focused enough to handle the mechanics, I find myself often bored by them. Part of it is their stories. Although Link’s Awakening gets away from the obligatory”bad-guy-kidnaps-princess” plot that Link and his colleague, Mario, are always dragging around, I still find myself un-engaged. The story is thin, simplistic and way easier to predict than it thinks it is.
Seriously, if you get to the end of the game before realizing it’s all a dream, kindly disable your sexual organs. The human race doesn’t need those genes.
I know that Nintendo games are typically more about the gameplay than story. But it seems that’s not enough for me anymore. Maybe I’ve missed the maturity sweet-spot whereing I could fully appreciate Zelda games.
Bottom line is that I was ready to give up on Link’s Awakening. Out of curiosity, I decided to look online to see the general consensus on this particular Zelda entry. Perhaps, I thought, this is one of the crappier games that fans prefer to ignore. Imagine my surprise to learn that Link’s Awakening is a critical success, praised for its story and mythology. It’s consistently ranked among the top 10 Zelda games, and one critic even called it the best Game Boy game ever. A dubious honor, perhaps, but I was genuinely shocked.
So now I’m probably going to keep playing Link’s Awakening, to see if there is some brilliance to it that I failed to notice. Perhaps, I thought, I wasn’t giving it a fair chance. And that made me wonder: is it weird that I can so easily be made to doubt my own opinion? This isn’t the first time it’s happened. A while back I watched Equilibrium, a 2002 science fiction movie with some really great action scenes but a story that I found boring and cliched. But then I found out that MovieBob, an internet movie critic I follow and respect, thinks Equilibrium is great. So I’m giving that another chance. Granted, I was not entirely sober when I initially watched it on Netflix. Maybe I overlooked it’s positive points.
This behavior might seem like a lack of of confidence in my opinions, but I think there’s something else going on. I’m the type of person who actively tries to enjoy the entertainment I experience. It’s why I’d probably make a terrible critic. Even when I recognize a movie is bad, like Batman v Superman or Suicide Squad, I usually find something to like in them. And when I genuinely dislike something, like Link’s Awakening, I’m more open to the idea that I’m simply not looking at it from the right angle.
I don’t know if that’s a good or bad trait for a writer, but it’s definitely a great trait for an audience member. I get to enjoy almost anything!
- Documentary: An Inconvenient Truth (2006) – Monday, October 17
- Book: A Farewell to Arms (Ernest Hemingway, 1929) – Monday, October 24
- Wild Card! – Monday, October 31
- Movie: No Country for Old Men (2007) – Monday, November 7
- Game: Silent Hill 2 (Konami, 2001) – Monday, November 14