The very first console I owned was a Game Boy Color. The very first game I owned on the Game Boy was The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening. This was the first game I ever properly completed.
The idea of replaying an old game should be a happy thought. The idea of playing a remake of that game, even more so. Yet, as I stare at the remodelled Link’s Awakening in the Nintendo Shop on my Switch, I find myself feeling more trepidation than joy.
It’s not just because this was the first game I fully finished. Or that the game is still easily in my top 10 games. Link’s Awakening actually began a particular fascination for me. The ending of the game set off my love for a certain kind of ending in all media – films, games, books and otherwise. What I often to refer to as ‘The Happysad’.
Link’s Awakening was not the first game to blend a happy ending with sad tones, triumph with a tinge of heartache, victory for the good guys and defeat for the hero. It was my first memorable experience of it. I’ve spoken about it at least one before. As a child, figuring out all the puzzles, beating all the monsters, collecting all the hidden collectibles, having an absolute blast, and then I hit an ending that I could not have expected. You win, but at a cost. Yay? It’s a feeling that wowed me, even when I was little, and I look for it in all the stories I experience.
This remake could go one of three ways. The first, is that I could not enjoy it. I haven’t seen too many screenshots or read to many reviews (deliberately) but I am worried that all the charm and nostalgia will fail to mask a game thrown together to exploit those looking to skip down memory lane. I’m sure it isn’t, but the fear is there.
The second way is that the game will be just fine. In many ways, that might be worse. Steadily pacing through a serviceable game, only to be brought to realise that a game that founded my love for video games is only quite good. That without rose-tinted spectacles, the remake of Link’s Awakening is an okay game that can’t meet my lofty expectations.
Worst of all, the game might be really, very, wonderful. And I’m least ready for that scenario. The idea that I could sit down soon with a polished and shiny version of a game that fills my heart with gold-plated nostalgia, that I could rediscover those memories of childish joy two decades later, might just overload my emotions. I’m extremely excited about playing it, but equally concerned that I will be left such a teary, gibbering wreck that even my 1-year-old daughter will roll her eyes at me.
The worst moment will be that finale, and it will be in the back of my mind the whole way through. When Link is standing on that mountain side, with all the magic instruments in hand, and the Ballad of the Wind Fish starts to play, I’ll either be super grumpy that my childhood wonder has been ruined, or blubbling quietly to myself with that HappySad feeling renewed.
I am not ready.
Thank You For Reading.
Do you have a game like this? A game you loved as a child, remade or otherwise, that you are concerned to go back to? Is it Link’s Awakening? If you’ve played the remake, did it have the same wonder as the first version?
Written by Rufus Scott