The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening DX holds a special significance to me. Not only was it the first Zelda game I ever played, but as a child the GBC was the closest I ever came to owning a console system of my own. I must have been around 11 years old, and although many details surrounding my life at this point are a blur, I vividly remember the impact the game had on me. Until this point I only had use of my father's PC, and even then playing video games was dependent on my ability to find time to play. Sharing the computer between Dad, as well as my three brothers was no simple task. On the GBC, I suddenly had the freedom to play whenever I wanted. I had known video games, but now I knew freedom.
You see, my parents didn't "believe" in consoles. To this day I haven't understood exactly why, as I was free to play a vast variety of video games on the PC. I played everything from DOS games such as the original Rampage, and on throughout the progression of the Windows OS, with games such as the Warcraft series or Half Life. I enjoyed these games, but I always longed for the chance to own a console. I saw my friends with their SNES and Sega systems, and I envied them. My father would jokingly say, "they're against my religion" but he may as well have been serious. Perhaps they simply didn't want their children to dominate the television, I don't know. Whatever the reason it was a fact I had to live with.
My uncle and aunt owned a Super Nintendo Entertainment System, complete with The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (amongst other games). I remember a time when they were living with my Grandmother, and I would sneak into their bedroom to play. Super Mario World was an easy game to pick up and enjoy, fit for these brief covert operations. However, sooner or later I sought more than this casual experience. I began to play LttP. I was addicted, and suddenly my visits into their bedroom became longer and more frequent. This didn't go unnoticed, and before I got very far through LttP, my uncle and aunt had made a decision. They weren't going to allow it, and so they decided to purchase me a SNES of my own.
Of course, my parents wouldn't stand for this. They quickly decided something had to be done with this gift, and (conscious of my uncle and aunt's motives) they knew it couldn't simply be returned. They compromised to allow my grandmother herself to take ownership of the system, reasoning that this might give their children an incentive to spend more time with Grandma. It worked, and I now owe much to my childhood being blessed with these visits. Sharing the SNES with my brothers in the wise and jubilant company of my grandmother was one something I'll always cherish. Perhaps this is when I truly fell in love with video games.
My Grandma never purchased a Zelda game for her SNES, simply because these games were single player only. With four boys to keep from fighting over the controllers, she knew it was important to go get multiplayer games. As a result I never got a chance to finish A Link to the Past, which only made the gift of my GBC and Link's Awakening years later all the more special. I sometimes wonder why I didn't go on to play either of the Oracle of Ages/Seasons games, which came out just three years later. I was still young at this point, so my memory is a bit foggy. Whatever the reason, I have just recently gone back to play them. I feel like I've fallen in love with The Legend of Zelda all over again, and what better way to test my devotion to go back to the first Zelda game I ever played.
Tomorrow I plan to finish Link's Awakening DX for the GBC, and I just so happen to be streaming the experience. Now that you understand what makes the Zelda franchise so important to me, I invite you to take part in my ongoing objective to complete every Zelda game known to man. Follow my profile here for updates on the journey, or keep an eye on the forums for a thread containing a link to my live streams.