[Realm of Memories is a series where we reflect on our absolute favorite moments in Zelda games. These could be the times we first fell in love with a game, were moved by the events of the story or actions of a character, felt triumphant when overcoming a tough boss or challenge, or we had an experience so unique that the adventure truly became our own. The Zelda series has touched our lives in many ways, and just as Hyrule has endless stories to share, so do our writers!

In celebration of Black Friday, Sara looks back on her absolute favorite shopping experience in Zelda.]

Shopping is always a fun activity in Zelda. There have been so many different stores to visit and quirky shopkeepers across the series, providing tons of useful potions and gear at Link’s disposal. Personally though, there is one shopping experience that stands out above all the rest, and it hails from the weird and wonderful Twilight Princess: Castle Town’s Malo Mart.

Malo, and his successful business known as “Malo Mart”, seem to have caused a great love-hate division in the fanbase. Some people may argue that Malo is creepy, that a baby can’t run a business, and that the Hyrule Castle branch has a very creepy aesthetic/musical track — but I have to firmly disagree.

I personally liked Malo the best of all the children in the game: He was sarcastic, cynical, and provided a fun side-quest. Twilight Princess is a game where Rupees are plentiful (so plentiful, in fact, that I had to leave many chests unopened due to reaching my wallet’s maximum capacity), so having to donate money to Malo for him to expand didn’t seem too much of a chore. I also crave Zelda side-quests, so I had no issues with completing it.

Malo fits well into this dynamic, and I could take his character at face value without worrying about the logistics of him being a baby owning a shop.

The Malo Mart in Castle Town may be weird, but I think it’s great. I love how it deviates from normal Zelda locations and shops. The interior is bright, colorful, and slightly ostentatious. While I appreciate most traditional elements within the Zelda franchise, I do like additions of originality, and I felt places like Malo Mart, the STAR Game, and Fyer’s mini-game really added that sense to the game. I thought Twilight Princess in general had a great variety of NPCs, making Castle Town one of the most interesting groups of people seen in a Zelda franchise — not just diverse, but weirdly so (good examples of this are Agitha, Fyer, Telma, Yeti and his wife, Midna, and Ooccoo.) Malo fits well into this dynamic, and I could take his character at face value without worrying about the logistics of him being a baby owning a shop.

The Hyrule Castle Malo Mart music is also some of my favorite in the game. Sure, it is a remix of the traditional shop music, but it’s taken to such an extreme that it becomes laughable. It always puts me in a good mood, and I always find myself attempting to make sense of the “words” being sung in the track. I’m not sure if it is supposed to be Hylian being sung, or if it’s merely gibberish; either way, it’s an amusing experience, along with the shop patrons dancing to the music in a ridiculous, almost praising way. Plus, while the Magic Armor can be a huge pain to actually wear/use, I love the way it looks, and it is a cool side-quest prize.

All in all, visiting Malo Mart in Castle Town is something I look forward to, even just for the novelty of listening to the music and seeing the dancers. I think it’s a great break from the game, and from a lot of the darkness found elsewhere in it. While Malo as a character gets a lot of hate, I think in the dynamics of this game as a whole his character fits well with the other NPCs, and Malo Mart provides a silly, fun break from the more serious aspects of the game.  On that note — Happy Thanksgiving! Bargain hunting in real life is fun, but don’t forget to visit Malo Mart again some time!