Cast your mind back to 1991…
It was not long after the gratuitously fashionable 80s, and the Nintendo vs. Sega war was in full swing. Grunge was still a few years away from its peak, the year was palindromic, and the SNES had only just been released.
The mighty NES had been superseded by, what many people believe to be, the greatest gaming system of all time.
I, myself, bought an SNES for Street Fighter II, as I’m sure many others did. I had no idea that one of the games I got soon after was going to change my world… Nowadays, I can play a fighting game for about five minutes before I’m bored. There’s just no variety with at least 95% of them. However, an RPG is a different kettle of fish altogether.
The very first RPG I ever played was Link to the Past on the SNES, and it rates to this day as the greatest RPG I’ve ever played, and definitely in my top five games of all time. In fact, the only RPG that has come close to it would have to be Ultima VII: The Black Gate.
Everything about Link to the Past is amazing. The graphics are beautifully detailed and varied. The sound is trademark Nintendo, with instantly hummable tunes that don’t grate on your nerves after prolonged listening. There’s a massive (for its time) variety of items and weapons to use, and the storyline, though predictable, is a joy to unfold.
Where this game really exceeds, though, is the massive playing area and the staggering amount of sidequests and minigames to be found.
The game is amazing just to wander around the towns talking to the townsfolk, completing little challenges to get a piece of heart; whatever you’re doing, it’s great fun!
The design of the playing areas is incredible. The dungeons have a perfect learning curve, in that you never feel completely stuck; the main outside playing area is beyond enormous; and there are warps (well, a little bird that carries you) later on in the game so you don’t have to trek from one area to another.
Back then, there weren’t a great deal of games that could provide the player with a lot of freedom. Most games were either fighting games or platformers, and most of them weren’t very good. Nowadays you have comparatively huge amounts of storage space, MMORPGs that provide unparalleled freedom, and technology that creates more realistic worlds than ever before, but back in ’92, this game, was basically, the shit. And it still rocks my world to this day, albeit in a much more portable form.