I LOVE Zelda games. No matter which console they’re on, I’ve played them all and enjoyed them all. My favourite in the series has to be The Wind Waker, partly for the cel-shaded graphics, partly for the feeling of sheer freedom when you finally reach the Great Sea, it’s just a wonderful game. Until this was released however, Link’s Awakening was my no.1 Zelda game. I was 10 years old when I first played this, receiving it with my brand new Gameboy at Christmas ’92. I couldn’t believe that A Link to the Past had basically been re-created for the Gameboy. The Gameboy shouldn’t have been capable of this! It was a huge world to explore on that little handheld and I lost myself in it for so very many hours as a 10 year old.
The day I began re-creating The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening in a Minecraft fashion, I had no idea what I was (and still am) getting myself into. It all began with me having played yet another session of the game’s Survival Mode and realising that I just can’t make anything worthwhile. Creating a house or a fort usually meant I had created a 6 sided room with a door on one side and windows in two others. I’m useless when it comes to creativity within the game. For some reason totally beyond me now, I remember thinking, “What would Link’s Awakening look like if it had been created in Minecraft?” So I re-created the house you started the game off in, Marin’s House. It took me a good 10 minutes to get to grips with the scale and such, but as a first attempt I thought it worked well. This little thing:
Turned into this:
It started off simply with that house. I thought, that looks cool, what if I did some of the other houses in the village? That extended to this:
I’d spent about 3 hours on this by this point, not realising where the time had gone. It was at this moment I thought, I can do this. I am actually going to recreate the whole of Link’s Awakening, and do it to scale!!!
‘To scale’ was hugely ambitious, as I found that Nintendo’s idea of scale went up the creek with the Virtual Boy. Mountains were all out of whack in relation to one another, plateaus lived atop of each other but with sides which meant they all looked like they were on the same level as one another… the map is a logistical nightmare.
Needless to say, I got on with the task at hand not knowing how far I’d go or how long it would take. 6 months after starting it, I’ve completed over a quarter of the 256 screens that make up the in-game island, torn my hair out at trying to work out the ups and downs of Nintendo’s map design, and haven’t even considered where the indoor areas and dungeons will factor into the surrounding exterior map. My progress is shown as follows:
I could go on for thousands of words about what i’ve enjoyed and hated about under-taking this project, whether it’s mastering the water features, applying a forest’s worth of canopies to emphasise a creepy wood, or even just decorating interiors of houses. It’s a task that only someone who is truly passionate about the subject at hand should throw themselves head first into because if you’re not? You won’t last a single screen of the 256 that make up the entire Link’s Awakening map.
Will I ever finish it? Maybe in years to come. For now, I’m content knowing that I have enjoyed recreating something which was a HUGE part of my gaming experience from before I had even entered my teenage years. I’ve had great feedback from friends who’ve seen it, and even had one guy test it with the Oculus Rift. He stated, and I quote, “It’s just as amazing as you would think. The scale works perfectly, especially in the Mysterious Forest. The canopy has an amazing effect.” It’s a nice feeling knowing that people who loved this game as much as me, are able to appreciate it again 20+ years later but in a totally different environment. And in 3D no less. Minecraft allows us to do this. No other game has ever given us the amount of freedom to do what we want. Whether it’s people making the Starship Enterprise, the entirety of Westeros, or even actual working computers, Minecraft has allowed people to run rampant and in a totally safe way to boot. It’s let this guy right here relive his childhood dreams in a way he could never have imagined. Of course, there’s hundreds of different other games out there that could benefit from the Minecraft treatment, maybe one day you’ll decide to go a bit crazy and give it a go yourself?
Say what you like about Minecraft, but I believe we have only scraped the surface of what we can do with that program and if it continues to bring joy and happiness to people around the world, I say let those Creepers keep on hissing. Just keep those Ender Men away.
Follow Carl on Twitter: @Auto2112
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