Tuesday, July 10, 2007

User Comments

I thought it was high time that I addressed some of the great comments that I'd been receiving over the past few weeks. It's been far too long since I've given all of you the recognition that you deserve. Even though I've since stopped answering each one individually (not because I don't want to, but because I just don't have the proper amount of time to devote to each and every response), I still read them all. I'm going to take some time this evening and pick out some comments and talk about them here.

Before I delve into that, I want to give you all a group 'Thank You!' for all of the wonderful compliments on the blog, my writing, the journey, etc. They really are appreciated, and I only wish I could reciprocate in a meaningful way. I certainly hope that you'll stick with me as I keep going, and that I can continue to live up to your expectations.

But, without further ado, here's some of your comments!

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Q: Irhardcore asks (several others have asked this as well, most recently Hec1979), "What emulator are you using?"

A: I'm utilizing ZSNES, version 1.51, which I've found very easy to use. It took a little bit of setup (mapping the screenshot key to one that was easy for me to hit on the fly, pointing the program to a good savefile location, etc.), but after that, I've had no issues whatsoever. This actually brings up a question for any of you with some emulation knowledge. Even though I own a copy of Link's Awakening, I'd like to use an emulator to provide screenshots. Does anyone have a recommendation for a good Game Boy Color emulation?

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Jog brought up on the first LttP post, "Isn't the guy at the start Link's uncle? Not that it matters much -- He does die pretty quickly. And why does he say "Zelda is your ..."? Zelda is your what? Is this sentence answered at any point in this game? My limited recollection says no." This was followed later by an answer from jorge_dmtz, who replied, "It was supposed to said "... Link, you can do it! Save the Princess... Zelda is your... destiny" In the GBA version they changed it to " ... Link...you must rescue Princess Zelda. Our people are fated to do so. But do not fall victim... to fate... Link... I shall always remember... our time.....together... " I found this to be a pretty cool bit of trivia, something that I always wondered about, but never did get an answer on until now.

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Here's an example of the typical fact-filled comment from JohnH: "Don't know how much I can usefully add on this game, but I'll see what I can remember....

- The old woman in Kakariko Village is unique. Try using magic powder on her (the change is not reversable however; if I remember right, if you do this she'll be gone the rest of the game).

- This is the first Zelda that clearly marks all the essential bombable walls, which greatly reduces the "discoverability" of the game. But there still are a couple of hidden bomb walls. One is in the Tower of Hera, south of the giant room one floor down from the boss.

- One thing that's easy to miss on a first playthrough is the secret fairy rooms in some of the dungeons. There's a kind of terrain feature that looks like a big (2x2 tiles) gray pot. Whenever you fall into one of those from higher up, you'll go to a fairy room. Sometimes you have to fall from a higher floor.

- The bottle merchant in town no only sells things, but also buys things too. I know he buys bees, the "Good Bee" obtained from crashing into the statue in a cave in Southeast Hyrule, and fish you carry over and throw at him.

- The "Fountain of Happiness" in Lake Hylia is the start of an unfortunate Zelda tradition: the money sink for little benefit. While the capacity extensions it provides are useful, thousands of rupees will be burnt in the drive to max them out. This is the first Zelda to supply, generally, far more money than the player can use, a trend that reaches its head in Wind Waker (the Triforce map quest is nothing more than a gigantic money sink, this time required though) and Twilight Princess (which has two money sinks: a very expensive Heart Piece and the Magic Armor)."

...and its followup: "Following up the unmarked secret bomb walls thing from my comment on the last post: The key to telling if a wall can be bombed or not is to hold out your sword (as if you are charging it up), then press into the wall to tap it. Bomb walls make a different noise.

The one exception to this is the building in the Southwest corner of Kakariko, which doesn't make a special noise but can be bombed open. There are not many unmarked bomb walls in the game (that I know of), but there is at least one."

Rereading these two comments noted some things I haven't actually done in the game yet, so I'll be sure to take care of them in the next play session.

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Here's a great hint from Corey (one I haven't tried yet, but clearly should have): "For some reason I just remembered this, but if you use the magic powder on those red spinny/bouncy (I forget their name) things (Like four small orbs rotating and it bouncing from wall to wall) in the dungeons they turn into a fairy. It can become helpful in dungeons, if just to get rid of them cause they can get annoying from time to time. Also your shield you can upgrade in the fountain." Awesome hint, and clearly one I should be using regularly.

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Q: (The Van Goat Ranch): "Cool blog. I've wanted to try Zelda, but haven't done it yet. I don't have a lot of time to game, but I think my son would love your blog. If you only had time to try one Zelda game, which one would it be? We're talking about a gaming rube, here."

A: Sorry for taking so long to answer your question, but if I only had time to play one of the Zelda games, I would probably choose Link to the Past. I know I'd get a lot of argument from people partial to Ocarina of Time (and truth be told, I'm a little torn even writing this), but in my opinion LttP combines everything that's great about the Zelda series into a neat little package. It combines puzzle-solving, collection aspects that don't go over the top (I love finding pieces of heart in unexpected places), item gathering, and a smooth fun graphical representation of Hyrule and its inhabitants, one that I feel still compares favorably today. The graphics in Ocarina of Time, while great for their time, don't hold up as well today, and (to be completely frank) kind of creep me out at times (the large Fairies, anyone?) With all of that said, however, I don't think you could go wrong playing either one, but my choice remains Link to the Past.

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Here's an interesting comment from Malons: "Yesterday while my friend was playing TP we were talking about how bosses weren't important story wise until OoT. The bosses from the first four didn't seem to really relate to the dungeon they were the boss of. They were appropriate creatures, but there was no real reason THEY are more important than the other creatures. Until in OoT when there are real legitimate reasons." That's a really cool observations, one that I echo wholeheartedly. The bosses in the games leading up to and including Link to the Past have old-style video game bosses, which are simply there to provide one final obstacle to the current level. There's no other reason for them to be there, other than to give you some reason to use the treasure that you just found to defeat them. On that note, if you knew you had one tragic weakness, would you put it in an unsupervised chest somewhere in your house, and just hope that no-one finds it and uses it to kill you? I'd take the thing and throw it into a hole or sewer somewhere near...oh, I don't know...Vancouver. :)

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Here's an account from someone who's way ahead of me, Rew: "Hey man!

As a "grown up gamer" myself (age 26), I can appreciate your blog. I'm in a similar place as you, to an extent. Last summer, after finishing up a degree, I caved in to some massive Zelda longing by firing up OoT (my favorite game of all time) for the first time in years. This was followed by MM and WW, which I played then for the first time ever. After that, I delved into the past and played the always familiar Zelda I, Zelda II, and LttP all in quick succession. A whirlwind tour through six classic Zelda titles in one summer. Whew!

In January, I experienced the awesomeness that was TP on the Wii. I subsequently became inspired to go all the way and experience every Zelda game that I hadn't played yet, starting at Easter. I played LA for the first time ever (this game is not dated in the least--it quickly became one of my faves; I highly recommend you play the DX version), followed by both Oracle games (several times--eh, good luck collecting all those rings).Now I'm playing the GBA version of LttP. Oh, you were in one place asking about differences between it and the original SNES version. This brief guide breaks it down wonderfully:http://www.gamefaqs.com/portable/gbadvance/file/561559/20612

This weekend, a friend and I are going to plod through Four Swords, after which I'll trek through FSA, MC, and finally OoT:MQ. But this brings me to a question I've wondered ever since I started reading your blog: How are you going to go about Four Swords, since it is a multiplayer game only? (You must have at least two players to play it.) I've tried it by myself handling two GBAs, but it's just not workable that way.

Oh, and a side note about the Pond of Happiness at Lake Hylia (in LttP). It's possible to upgrade to 50 Bombs and 70 Arrows, though it'll cost you a grand total of 1,600 Rupees (so at least two trips) to do so. In case you thought those Zora Flippers were expensive!

Good stuff, and I greatly look forward to future entries--and screenshots! The screenshots are beautiful and rather underpraised on this blog IMHO. Then again, I'm a sucker for screenshots. =0)"

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Matola, from Blogging Final Fantasy, stopped by with some kind words: "I've really got to dust Zelda off again, once we finish all the Final Fantasy games. LttP has a special place in my heart, and I might as well use the Wii VC for something, right?

Keep up the great work, it's like we're playing along with you! :)

-Matola (and Kamarile), Blogging Final Fantasy"

I've read a lot of their blog, and I've also added a link to their site on my sidebar. If you like this blog, make sure to check them out as well. It always feels good to be read! :)

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These are just a (very) small sampling of the truly amazing posts that I've received since starting writing. Even if you don't see your comment here, you can be sure that I've read it. Above and beyond the amount of people who love Zelda and come to read and comment, I've been blown away by the really courteous, friendly and helpful community of folks that has appeared. It's great to hop on to the Internet, post a quick cry for help in an area that I'm stuck in the game, and come back to find 25+ helpful people who've taken the time to give me a shove in the right direction. It's that which keeps me playing the game, so thank you again!

At this point, I'm going to go and continue playing Link to the Past, and put together another playthrough post. That's what you come here for, and that's what you'll get. So I'll see you here again soon with more Link to the Past!

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