dorchadas: (Toon Link)
I'm not sure I had even heard of Oracle of Seasons--in Japanese, fushigi no kinomi -daichi no shō-, "The Mysterious Seed -Land Chapter-"--before I set out on my Zelda chronogaming quest. It was twinned together with Oracle of Ages and released in 2001, the height of my anti-console snobbery. My loss. But the march of time and technological progress means I can go back to those games that I missed and play them now, when I'll appreciate them. Truly, we live in the the golden age of gaming.

Oracle of Seasons is another weird portable entry, starting a trend that began with Link's Awakening and continuing to this day. The mainline console entries, with the exception of Majora's Mask, are the traditional Zelda games where Link fights Ganon and rescues the Princess, and the handheld games are the ones where he talks to a psychedelic winged whale, rides trains, and plumbs the depths of the same dungeon a dozen times. Or here, uses the progression of the seasons to save a land where the seasons have been thrown into disorder.


Link's dancing was already disordered.

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dorchadas: (Majora A Terrible Fate)
Majora's Mask almost completely passed me by. I think the first time I even saw any of it was at the first Symphony of the Goddesses concert I went to, where the gameplay footage of a moon with an evil face, Link turning into some kind of plant monster and flying around using flower umbrellas, and mysterious giants assembling to defend the city completely confused me. What was this? What was even happening here? And what is it about Majora's Mask that leads Zelda Dungeon to have a huge philosophical exegesis on the game?

(The answer to that is "When there's only one Zelda game every 3-5 years, they've got to publish something")

When my sister bought a Nintendo 64, I played Super Mario 64 and I played Ocarina of Time, and sometimes I played Blast Corps, and then I played Quest 64 and that was basically it for me. The N64 was not the system for an RPG-lover like myself, so I went back to my PC games and that's why I didn't know anything about this game until I played it.

I feel like I'm still missing a lot, honestly.


"You've met with a terrible fate, haven't you?"

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dorchadas: (Link and Zelda sitting together)
So what am I doing in these, the last days of the American republic?  photo emot-911.gif

This Friday is another of [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd's and my Shabbat dinners. After the turning of the year, we decided that once a month we'd invite a handful of people over, eat dinner, and then discuss whatever that week's parshah is. This week it's Emor, Leviticus 21:1-24:23. We've tended to get really good discussion out of even the more "the lamps shall be made of beaten gold" parashot, and Emor has a lot of material in it. Some of it especially discussion-worthy, like the ban on people with disfiguring injuries from giving offerings to G-d. I don't find this to be as jarring as some people, because I don't have a universalist concept of G-d, but there's good commentary on it out there I've found that I'll try to bring up during he discussion.

I just went and found a bunch of Legend of Zelda icons and added them. Since I'm only using half my icon space, and since I'm on a quest to play through every Legend of Zelda game, I might as well. And maybe I need a Legend of Zelda tag, too... Hmm.

(done)

Speaking of which, I ordered a copy of the Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time manga in Japanese! I've learned that the best way to get me to actually study is to make it an accompaniment to something I already want do--hence playing all these video games in Japanese--and when I idly posted about whether I should read it, [facebook.com profile] kelley.christensen1 mentioned that she had fond memories of reading it as a teenager. That's enough of a recommendation for something I already wanted to do anyway, and now it's in the to-read pile.

We bought tickets for [twitter.com profile] faylynne's wedding next month. Due to waiting so long because we needed to figure out [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd's summer program schedule, they were more expensive than I was hoping. I was expecting $750 and it was closer to $900.  photo emot-byodood.gif Fortunately, my sister lives in Portland and has offered to put us up, so we don't need to also pay for a hotel. [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd promised to cook for her to pay for our keep. Delicious! Kawaii heart emoji photo heart_emoji_by_kawaiiprincess2-d51re77.gif

We didn't do much of anything last weekend, or at least I didn't, and I'm looking forward to more of the same next weekend. Majora's Mask is longer than I thought, especially since I'm trying to get all the masks, so while I thought I would be finished already I won't be done until tomorrow at the absolute earliest. Probably more like Saturday.

I hope everyone else's weeks are going well!

Edit: It turns out that [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd has strep!  photo _crying__rvmp_by_bad_blood.gif The doctor said she's cleared for Friday, though, so she'll stay home from work tomorrow and then Shabbat dinner will continue as scheduled.
dorchadas: (Link and Zelda together)
This is the game in the lineup I was most worried about replaying.

I mean, even a cursory search on the internet will find an enormous crowd of people who think that Ocarina of Time is the best game ever made, or at least in the top five. I still remember the first time I played it--I have my original gold cartridge sitting by our television--and how amazing it seemed coming from the first Zelda game, since I had only played Zelda II on a brief rental and never owned an SNES or Game Boy. Going from 8-bit self-contained screens to a giant expansive world? Running across Hyrule Prairie that first time, seeing Death Mountain in the distance and getting that "you can go there" feeling that Todd Howard mentioned in an interview about Skyrim? Combat trading sword blows, dodging and circling? It was amazing!

It was amazing, I won't deny that. At the time I first played it, I thought Ocarina of Time was the greatest game I had ever played. But I figured that it was mostly nostalgia and that since much of the amazement was based on technical innovation that had long since been obsolete, I'd have to force myself to play through this to get to Majora's Mask and then other Zelda games I haven't played.

I'm glad to say that's not the case. It's not the greatest game ever made, but I had a lot of fun with Ocarina of Time.


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dorchadas: (Chicago)
Not at the same time, obviously.

Yesterday, my parents came into town and [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd and I went down to meet them at the Shedd Aquarium. They're members and go a few times a year. They're much better about it than we are--while we were members of the Field Museum for the last year, I'm not sure we went once--and often we only end up going when they come in to visit. This time, it was pretty fortunate that we were meeting them. The line was out the door, down the stairs, and stretching out into the park in front of the aquarium when we arrived, but we were able to skip all that and just walk in the member's entrance.

Maybe everyone was trying to forget the election. There was a large protest downtown yesterday which my parents walked by. My father mentioned that he wasn't sure what good it would do, since Trump was a terrible person but he had won the election, so I pointed out that it's more to demonstrate that Trump doesn't have a mandate despite any claims to the contrary. Though I admit, in some ways I share his cynicism. I remember the Iraq War protests and how much effect those had.

We had tickets for the cetacean show at 5 p.m. so we didn't have a lot of time to look around, but we did hit some highlights. The otters for [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd, the special frog exhibit for me--that's a special exhibit of frogs, not an exhibit of special frogs Emoji Kawaii frog photo croaking_frog_emoji_by_kaidahthedragon-dabw3kq.gif--and the penguins for my mother:


"I solemnly swear..."

The cetacean show was a lot more focused than I remember it being. I think the last time I saw it was twenty years ago, and then it was much more about simple entertainment. This time there was a conservation message heavily woven through the show, including a rescue dog that the aquarium keeps. There were no dolphins somersaulting through hoops, but I think I appreciated the show more.

After a dinner at Chicago Curry House, where even my spice-averse parents found something they could eat--though since they have the appetites of birds, they were pretty much full after the samosas we ordered as appetizers--we said goodbye since we had to make our performance:


Link smilie photo lhappy.gif

We first went to Symphony of the Goddesses in 2013 and this is the third time we've been. It's slightly different each time--the first time we went was the "Second Quest" arrangement that featured a medley of the music from Ocarina of Time, and the second time we went was the "Master Quest" and had a feature of music from Link's Awakening. This time was more similar to the first concert, though with the addition of some music from Triforce Heroes and A Link Between Worlds, both of which came out since the last time we went to Symphony of the Goddesses. There was also a piece I remembered from Phantom Hourglass, though I say "remembered" in the loosest terms since I can barely remember anything about that game. That didn't stop it from being a great performance!

I think the loudest crowd cheer was when the conductor reached into her coat, pulled out a perfect replica of the Wind Waker baton, and then started conducting the theme from Outset Island.

There was a little girl, maybe four or five, cosplaying Princess Zelda sitting in the seat in front of us. She fell asleep during the intermission and [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd exploded from cute overload.  photo wheeeeee_emote_by_seiorai.gif
dorchadas: (Zelda Dark Princess)
The Game Boy was kind of a weird time. There were a ton of puzzle games, exhaustively (and exhaustingly) covered in Jeremy Parish's Game Boy World series. There were the games that were brought over and then jammed into an existing series, like how 魔界塔士 SaGa (Makai Tōsho SaGa, “Spirit World Tower Warrior SaGa”) became Final Fantasy Legend. There were the ever-popular licensed platformers with almost nothing to do with their source material, like the Batman game where Batman ran around shooting all his enemies in the face. And there were the spinoffs from popular Nintendo franchises. Sometimes this turned out badly, like the first Castlevania Game Boy game where the developers had to add a ton of invincibility powerups as compensation for the incredibly cheap enemy attack patterns and level design. And sometimes it turned out well, like Link’s Awakening.

A couple of years ago, I went to a concert called Symphony of the Goddesses that features orchestral arrangements of Legend of Zelda songs--I first wrote about it here when I went to an earlier arrangement--and they had a focus on Link’s Awakening. In addition to gameplay sequences from the DX version of the game, they had anime sequences they inserted cutscene style, made specifically for the concert. It was listening to that, to the music from a game I had never played and watching Link work his way through the dungeons, that first got me interested in playing through Link’s Awakening. [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd and [livejournal.com profile] slarnos’s advocating for it also helped, and that’s why I started this game so quickly after I finished the previous Zelda game.

And I like the name a bit better in Japanese, I admit. ゼルダの伝説 夢をみる島, “Legend of Zelda: The Isle that Dreams.”


I, too, write my name on the back of all my possessions.

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dorchadas: (Link to the Past Comic Master Sword)
This is my favorite Legend of Zelda game.

I think.

I know everyone thinks that Ocarina of Time is the best Zelda game and that it keeps winning polls as the best game of all time--with the notably infamous exception of last year at GameFAQs--but A Link to the Past has always been the game I went back to. My doubt is because of Wind Waker, but I won't be getting to that game for a while, so Link to the Past stands for the moment.

I never played it except briefly at friends' houses before emulation revealed the wonders of everything I missed by being a PC gamer, but I still got Nintendo Power through most of the Super Nintendo and part of the N64 era, and what I remember are the comics. Nintendo power serialized a comic based on A Link to the Past. Very loosely based--the constant vision, wings to fly into the desert, and balloon to get into Hyrule Castle had nothing to do with the game--but the game I imagined based on them was amazing. I still remember the story the tree tells Link about Ganondorf and the corruption of the Golden Land.
"Until then, I remain a fool in the shape of a tree."
Fortunately, though the game I eventually played was different, it was still excellent.


The graveyard is much more pastoral this time around.

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dorchadas: (Toon Link Feels bad man)
The Legend of Zelda was a staple game of my childhood, and I eventually managed to conquer the entire game without resorting to more help than we were expected to get in those days. Friends on the playground, questions to the counselors in Nintendo Power, and the dogged persistence of a kid who has an enormous amount of free time and a finite amount of ways to spend it. Particular circumstances that have almost vanished, now that a simple internet connection provides everyone who has one with more entertainment than they could ever watch even if they spent a thousand lifetimes on it.

Do you remember those long summer days, when you had no more media to watch because you had consumed everything available to you? Because kids today don't. They don't know what that's like.

Anyway, I rented Zelda II because I liked The Legend of Zelda and it was the sequel, right? It had to be good. Little did I know that it was very different from its predecessor and mostly in ways I didn't appreciate. Towns? An overworld with random encounters? Experience points? Maybe Nintendo was building off the obvious success of Dragon Quest, but I didn't know that. And neither did other Americans, because we didn't get Dragon Quest until two years after Zelda II hit North America and three years after it first came out in Japan. I flailed around for a while without much idea of what to do, never accomplished anything, and then didn't bother renting it again. And never even played it again, until now.


Well excuuuuuuuuuuse me, princess!  photo 58-2nsylaw.gif

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dorchadas: (Link with Shield)
Kind of like when I played Super Metroid, playing this makes me wonder if I'm really a "Zelda fan," whatever that means. I've played even fewer Zelda games than Metroid games, but in part, this is an attempt to remedy that. Since Sunday was the 30th anniversary of the original Legend of Zelda coming out, I wanted to go back and play some of the earlier Zelda games I missed as well as the good ones that I loved, so I thought why not start at the beginning? And, since I've never played it, why not start with the Japanese version like I did with 悪魔城伝説 and see what the differences are?

And that answer is...not that much, really. Other than being in Japanese--and that's not even entirely true, since the intro is in English--everything is pretty much the same. Most of the quotes are translated pretty literally, and the minor nuances in meaning don't affect what story there is. For example, "It's dangerous to go alone! Take this," in Japanese is, "ヒトリデハキケンジャ コレヲ サズケヨウ," which is, "It's dangerous by yourself. I'll bestow this [to you]," though with a bit of an old man nuance that doesn't really translate into English and with some implied status differences--授ける is generally used from a higher-ranking person to a lower one, though here I think it's just that it's an old man giving the sword to a whippersnapper.

And yes, the katakana and spaces are in the game. I think it's the first time I've ever seen a ヲ in the wild.


Your powers are weak, old man.

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dorchadas: (Zelda Twilight Princess)
Specifically, at this symphony:


About two months ago, [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd and I were listening to the Top Score podcast when they had an episode about something called the Symphony of the Goddesses where they interviewed Jason Michael Paul (the guy behind the Dear Friends concerts) and Jeron Moore about the original four-movement symphony they had written based on the Legend of Zelda. "Huh," I said, "that sounds neat, but this was a back episode of the podcast and so we missed the concert they had in Chicago. I wonder if it's coming around again?" So I jumped on the internet, did a search for it, and found that they were holding a new concert series this year! In a couple months, in fact, and starting in Chicago!

Obviously, I got on that.

After an initial problem buying tickets ("$150!?! Oh, wait, what happens if I unclick 'best available..."), I secured [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd and my place up in one of the balconies and waited, and the concert occurred last night.

The program is here, but it's not super informative. Each movement of the symphony was essentially a medly of each of four games--in order, Ocarina of Time, Windwaker, Twilight Princess and A Link to the Past, and while the concert was going on, footage from the game was broadcast on a screen behind the performers. There were also individual songs that encapsulated other games. After the overture at the beginning, for example, there was a song dedicated to Link's Awakening, and just after the intermission they played the Gerudo Valley theme. The actual music was provided by the Chicago Philharmonic and Bella Voce, with all the quality that implies. It was exactly as great as I was hoping it would be.

Oh hey, here we go. See for yourself!:

It's not the same musicians, but it's the same songs.

My favorite part was definitely the A Link to the Past section, both because it's my favorite Zelda game by far and because they did a good job of sticking to the 16-bit feel of the original music while still making it obvious that this was bing performed by a full orchestra (jump forward to around 1:17 in that video for the ALttP section), but the Gerudo Valley theme was also a hit because it's objectively the best Ocarina of Time song. I actually don't even remember what the songs they performed for their encore were because the ones I already mentioned are the ones that stuck in my memory.

It was also the first concert I've been to that had cosplayers, which wasn't surprising considering the subject matter. On the other hand, we were at a formal symphony held in the Chicago Theatre, so it was a bit jarring seeing people dressed up like Zelda or Link climbing up and down those stairs.

Finally, I'll end with this: The Zelda Project. Not related to the music in any way, but it's people trying to photographically recreate scenes from Ocarina of Time and doing a really good job of it.

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