I recently had the joy of revisiting FGC stalwart Maximilian's blind playthrough of the original The Legend of Zelda - assisted sparsely with a few strategic lifelines from friends when things got desperate. I don't play fighting games and therefore haven't watched much of Maximilian's output, but in these videos, he's very engaging and genuinely curious, doing a great job of reviving that sheer sense of discovery we all felt upon the game's original release. The first five minutes alone of his quest are a delight, particularly if you've already played the game. There's a YouTube compilation in two parts here and here (start at around 13:45 in the first vid if you want those first five minutes as a preview), but I think it's worth watching the unedited streams (Part 1, with gameplay proper starting at 37:46, and Part 2, with gameplay at 1:13:50). It's rewarding to see the problem-solving in real time - as well as the chat reactions, both from those in the know and those encountering this classic for the first time.

Watching Max make his way through Zelda's puzzles brought to mind some stuff I failed to understand when I played the game. And, uh, well beyond. No lifelines to Vermont used here!

  • "Master using it and you can have this." I understand now, late in life, that the intent here is: "Get good enough and you can have this sword." As a kid, though, I read the first word not as a verb, but as a noun: "There are two people who can have this sword: a) the Master using it, and b) you." Needless to say, this hint was completely incomprehensible to me, but gifts of cool swords don't need coherent greeting-card text.
  • "Secret is in the tree at the dead-end.": I didn't make the connection that the "tree at the dead end" with the "secret" was the burnable tree hiding Level 8. I thought the man was talking about the tree with the "money-making" (uh-huh) game in it. I did find Level 8 on my own, because the location of the tree seemed conspicuously off and a departure from the usual map design.
  • "Spectacle Rock is an entrance to death.": I never interpreted "Spectacle Rock" in the sense of glasses (or, more properly, spectacles, plural) but as the place where something big and important happens - you know, like the climactic showdown of the game. Nintendo USA must have known the in-game hint was not on the up-and-up, as the English-language documentation helpfully tells you something to the effect of: "The two large rocks atop Death Mountain are called 'Spectacle Rock.'"

Of course, no one understood "10th enemy has the bomb."

"You're telling me my reward is information!? What the hell is this, the eighties?!"

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