I know I said I was gonna dive back into (and finish!) Breath of The Wild, but I still haven’t finished Link’s Awakening, on account of the fact that I don’t play on the Switch too often (I never thought I’d say this, but I miss community by the New York subway).
All said it’s been, what, nearly twenty years since the last time I played this game. But I’m surprised time and time again about how much I remember about this game. There’s a trading quest in it where you have to give a thing to a person to get another thing and so on and so forth until you end up with a powerful boomerang. It’s complex, it’s long, and it spans a lot of the game. But somehow, even though I can’t remember what sine, cosine, and tangent are for, I know, almost instinctually, who gets what in that quest.
Which has me wondering: How on Earth do I remember this? I know I played Link’s Awakening a lot, losing myself in Koholint Island over and over again. I don’t remember having a strategy guide for the game telling me what the quest was and I wasn’t exactly checking the internet for all the secrets at the time either. There was a neighbor, though, who I played the game with. It’s very probable we swapped notes and tried to uncover the secrets of the game, cross-referencing with each other to find out who got what and where those Secret Seashells were hidden.
Maybe it’s also because I spent so long in that world. I doubledback and double-checked Kohilint Island for secrets, pocketing each bit found for the next playthrough alongside any sliver of information I gleaned from someone showing me a printed-out list of cheats. Information was a premium; I was just a kid and going on the Internet to find a guide for a video game seemed like such an outlandish idea. So I played the game a lot, same as every game I loved from around that time (the original Pokémon, Mega Man X5, etc) until I knew my way around that virtual world like I did my apartment complex.
So returning to Link’s Awakening has that familiarity of going back to somewhere you once knew very well. It’s something that I find oddly specific to games of this era (I love Uncharted and I’ve played it so many times, but I don’t know if it’d have the same effect). Maybe it’s ‘cuz I had more time for getting lost in a game when I was younger, maybe it’s because the games were smaller and more manageable, maybe it’s because certain stuff when you’re a kid just sticks with you. It doesn’t really matter, I’m having a great time.
It also really makes me want Nintendo to give Oracle of Ages and Oracle of Seasons the same treatment.