Thirty-one years ago, The Legend of Zelda became the first video game I ever beat. A year later, Zelda II: The Adventure of Link became the first video game I ever quit.
To be fair, I didn’t finish too many games in my elementary school days. We owned maybe five titles total for our NES, and everything else was rented. So most games I played in the early ’90s were returned before I got the chance to see the credits roll.
But that’s not what happened with Zelda II. Sure, it was a rental to keep me occupied for another stormy Western Washington weekend, but I gave up on it long before we had to take it back to the rental shop. As captivated as I was with everything Zelda following my victory over Ganon in the first game, attempting to play through The Adventure of Link made me want to cry like the little sissy boy I was and mostly still am.
Perhaps the game isn’t designed to be beaten by six-year-olds, but I also couldn’t beat it when I was 18 and it re-released on The Legend of Zelda: Collector’s Edition bonus disc, when I was 22 and bought it for the Wii’s Virtual Console, when I was 26 and got it for free as a part of the 3DS Ambassador’s Program, when I was 31 and tried to beat it in time for the franchise’s 30 anniversary, and four years ago when I set out to conquer it on my NES Classic Edition. This game has been destroying me my entire life, but this year, I finally found a way to see it through to the end.
I cheated my ass off.