This is a story about love at first sight — a love that was lost. In a previous article I mentioned how A Link to the Past was the first Zelda game I owned, and that it is also my favorite game of the series. Now here is the story of how it came into my life.

I was around 10 years old and it was almost Christmas, and you know what that means. My mother took me to a toy store to pick my Christmas gift and roaming through the aisles among all kinds of toys and games, my eyes suddenly came across a peculiar box, with a somewhat familiar logo. It was the first time I ever laid eyes upon The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past.

I had already played the first game on the NES before, but it was just a rental so I could only play it for a couple days. Needless to say, I didn’t get too far — and yes, I was left with the idea that the playable character was called Zelda — but it was still a very enjoyable experience. I loved the gameplay and was left wanting more of that fantastic franchise. When I saw A Link to the Past there, I knew I had to get it, and I did. It was the best gift I could ever get.

And so I played and played it for hours, days, months. It was pure joy, fun, and challenging. I finished it, then played it all over again multiple times — all without the need to use guides or walkthroughs! I enjoyed each and every moment of it. Every new discovery, achievement, difficulty; I would play until very late and the next day go to school and talk to my classmates about how awesome it was. I would often bring the instruction booklet (wow, remember those?) to show them at least a glimpse of its beauty like one would show pictures of his significant other to brag about her.

But of course, it wouldn’t last forever. One day, all of a sudden, it was gone. Just like that, I couldn’t find it! I searched every corner of my house, turning the place upside down looking for it, but it just wasn’t there. “Someone must have taken it” — I thought. It couldn’t just have grown a pair of legs and walked out of my house and my life. I asked everyone I could, and when asking a cousin about it, he said his brother had it. I felt both relieved and enraged. I might have finally found it, but I was furious because of the offense of him taking it without asking — basically stealing it. Of course, when I questioned him about it, he denied it. I asked several times, and every time he would deny it. I knew he wasn’t exactly a very honest person, so I assumed he would only lie to hide what he did. But no, he never admitted to having taken it, and I never saw it again. I lost it.

Many years passed without me ever seeing that cartridge again, and I haven’t seen it to this day — not like I even expect to anymore. But still, I would take any chance I could to play it, even on an emulator or virtual console. Whatever way I could relive that beautiful experience, I would take it. And one day, while browsing my local retro game store, I saw it — another copy of the game. Used, but in good condition, someone had abandoned it, exchanged it for another game or something else. This previous owner did not see the beauty I saw in it. Would it be the same cartridge I used to own? Probably not, but it was there for a reason. If I have ever believed in destiny, I knew this was it, two individuals left heartbroken and meant to meet at some point. Obviously, I bought it without a second thought, and now it is a treasured part of my life and my game collection.

There is no way I’m letting this one go. Ever.