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Spectacle Rock - A Zelda Memoir

Spectacle Rock - A Zelda Memoir

The rain poured in like a million little  missiles. Never missing their target. My lantern flickered in the dark of the  night. I could only make out a single bush at my feet… And a massive castle  wall to my left. I burned the bush with my lantern, revealing a grotto. A  secret passage.

  I  jumped down it, headstrong. I was ready.
  To  storm the castle.
  To  kill some rats and snakes.
  To  collect some rupees.
  Oh,  and to be a hero, I guess.

Actually,  that wasn’t me. I lied. It was Link. I wish it was me. I was too busy sitting  in the living room, controlling Link, and having him walk right by a  locked door in the Desert Palace. It was because the right side of the TV  monitor was much more dim than the left side. I couldn’t see the locked door!  It was a TV from the 80s, with a big orange clicky button that turned it on and  off.

  I  swear!

That  was part of my A Link to the Past experience, back before the Internet  was widely accessible. Back when you had to ride your bike a mile across a  weed-infested dirt field just to get to a computer that had Internet. Oh, and  you only had an hour on that computer, because it was at the library — another  relic of the dark ages. You bet your bottom dollar that everyone used that one  hour on Runescape. And if you didn’t have a bike, man, were you hurting.

If  you got stuck in A Link to the Past, as I did, you had to consult  super-vague player’s guide like this one I have sitting on my bookshelf.

If  you couldn’t decipher the player’s guide you found at the discount store, you  had to sift through all the rumors your friends told you about the game, about  what to do, and about where to go.

No,  there isn’t a glitch to save the smithy’s partner earlier and get an upgraded  Fighter’s Sword.

  Yes,  there is a magical cape that lets you walk over spikes.
  Yes,  there is a magical rod that shoots ice.

No,  Bush didn’t do 9/11.

The  lack of accessible Internet and living in a developing neighborhood only added  to the magic that was A Link to the Past, and later Ocarina of Time,  and Link’s Awakening, and The Legend of Zelda, courtesy of the  cool uncle with an NES.

Every  kid in the neighborhood wanted to control Link. We didn’t play multi-player  games like Donkey Kong or Mario Kart or something.

  We  played Zelda.
  We  wanted to be Link.
  And  to some extent, we were  Link.  Sort of.

Our  dungeons were the half-built homes in the neighborhood. Our treasure chests  were the dark-red dumpsters that sat outside them. Our treasure was the  wood inside those dumpsters.

Our  weapons? Swords, of course. Like Link. Wooden swords made from stakes that we  pulled from the ground. The stakes were always in front of new home building  areas. They were probably important or something.

  Every  hero needs a kingdom to defend.

Ours  was made from the wood we snatched from those dumpsters. Castles that resembled  lop-sided wooden shacks that swayed in the wind.

We  propped them up on top of a massive dirt pile at the edge of the neighborhood.  We called it Spectacle Rock. It’s still there, a decade and change later,  although a lot less Spectacular.

One  of my fondest memories was finally — FINALLY! — beating A Link to the Past while sitting inside my wooden castle-shack. On Gameboy Advance. That screen  didn’t have any dim spots.

So  you could understand how I must have felt when my younger brother destroyed our  kingdom.

  Disappointed.
  Betrayed.
  Vengeful.

Coincidentally,  the same way I would eventually feel about Phantom Hourglass.

  Like  any good hero, I had to set things right. I had to get justice.
  Like  any good eighth-grader, I had to get this justice in the most vengeful way  possible.

A  few weeks after the Forsaken Day of Destruction, my friend and I — we’ll call  him Nathan — took my brother up to Spectacle Rock. To find some more swords, we  said. To rebuild the kingdom, we said.

  We  knew that he destroyed our kingdom. He didn’t know that we knew.

He  stayed back at the heart of Spectacle Rock propping up a little dinky shack for  himself. The traitor! Just sitting there like he didn’t wreak havoc on that  very place just a few weeks prior.

Off  in the distance, Nathan bludgeoned me upside the head with a club. I fell to  the ground.

  I  don’t know if my brother saw that part. It was a good fake, though.

On  the ground, I applied ketchup all over my body. I hate ketchup. It ruins  everything. I really took one for the team that day.

I  crawled my vengeful butt all the way back to my brother. Nathan followed behind  slowly, club over his shoulder like he was some super cool dude.

My  brother dropped to his knees. Tears streaming from his eyes. What a wuss.

I  tried to say his name — but I muffled the words. Face in the dirt. I was dead.

“You’re  next,” Nathan grunts.

“Carl…  No… You can’t be dead.” My brother was still crying. In his defense, he’s like  three or four years younger than me.

  A  pause…
  He  sniffs…
  “What’s  that smell?” He asks.

Busted!  But the job was done. I stood up, looming over him.

  “Don’t  mess with Spectacle Rock again,” I told him. I didn’t use the word “mess.”

Actually,  I don’t remember what I said. I imagine it was something cool. More likely,  though, I just stood there saying nothing.

  Like  Link.

           And  I know the snakes are called ropes, nerds.

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