I know that there are not a few of you who long for that time when buying a game and receiving a instruction booklet It was not the exception, but the norm. I have recently done the exercise of remembering that time by opening the cases of some of the video games in my collection. The truth is that it was a small wonder to have those brochures full of illustrations, screenshots and advice. Of course, there were editions that were not worth much, but in others the dedication deposited.
One of the most unique cases is that of Legend of Zelda for NES. It was the first title in the saga and had the particularity that the cartridge was covered in a striking gold-colored paint. The cardboard box had a small window so that when you bought the game you would realize the detail, but the best came inside. Of course, I had the required instruction book, but next to it was a map! When I was a kid and I discovered it for the first time, I thought it would be a complement, without more… I was completely wrong.
An essential map to survive in Zelda
Nowadays, all games have their own in-game map, but at that time the existing technology did not allow great fanfare in terms of interface. Therefore, Nintendo chose to include a physical map with each copy of the game. I don’t know if this was intended to discourage piracy, but it was certainly an essential object. I gave you the location of the first four dungeons, aside from a few tips about enemies and the items you find throughout the adventure.
When in his day I played Zelda from NESI remember that the first feeling was that of being lost. You were dropped in the middle of nowhere, and you had to explore blindly to make your way. It was a game concept that I had never seen before and it was completely off center. So owning this map was your only help: it gave you an idea of what the game was like, where you should go… and also about the things you still had to discover.
These words may not make much sense today, because we have become used to challenges. We’ve been playing for years! However, in 1987 things were very different. Of course, there was no Internet, and it was easy to happen that you did not know anyone with the game. You had to trust, if anything, that the paper magazines of the time included some kind of guide. And it is that this Zelda was not a simple game at all. It had tricky puzzles, some of which could have you stuck for hours or even days.
This map was your only help: it gave you an idea of what the game was like, where you should go
Luckily, this map included a series of strategies and aids to make your journey more bearable, but in a suggestive way. It is true that a complete map of the first dungeons was included, but access to the following levels was made through small clues. Having rediscovered this small collector’s item (now it is) has made me think that miss the physical maybe it’s not just a simple matter of nostalgia. What do you think? Do you have any similar experience?