As we celebrate the one year anniversary of our beloved Breath of the Wild, I thought it was only fitting to share the memories of my first encounter with this game. Breath of the Wild was my first taste of open-world gaming, and wow, was I spoiled! As I avoided all but the two main trailers like the plague, little did I know what I was about to behold.

Celebration of the Wild is a month-long celebration of the anniversary of this beloved game. All month long we will be picking our favorite songs, fan works, places, memories, and more of this wonderful addition to the Zelda series. Breath of the Wild has revolutionized the franchise all for the better and it’s only suiting we take this month to celebrate its achievements.

The first thing I remember about the game was exiting the Shrine of Resurrection, and of course, that gorgeous scene of Link looking out at the grandiose landscape. Shortly after, I returned to the path and continued with the plot of the game before taking a slight detour to walk straight into the campfire. Why? Because I could. It may seem silly and insignificant, but to me, this was attempting to do something outside of the usual structure of a Zelda game — taking baby steps, if you will. Sure, I could have done that in any other Zelda game, but Breath of the Wild made me feel like I really could do anything. If I wanted to go and stand on top of a fire, then who was going to stop me? I mean, I stopped myself once I lost two hearts of health, but it was my choice. That would be the first of many crazy, over-the-top decisions I would make later on, such as trying to climb up a waterfall with cryonis, running past Guardians in just shorts and a hat, and seeing if I could glide over the volcanic pit of Death Mountain.

The next thing I remember was that long, tedious climb up the Shiekah Tower. The view was really something, and I remember seeing how shocked I was to see the old man up there already. That was when I guessed that (spoiler) he was some sort of ghost, probably the King of Hyrule — and as it turned out, he was! Then he proceeded to teach me how to use the Shiekah Slate and mark areas with colored beacons. I bought the game the first day of release, as well as the Switch, and I was still adjusting to the controls. That being said, when I thought I had figured out how to zoom in with the Slate feature, it turned out I was walking forward and stepped off the edge of the tower, leading to my first game over.

Soon after, I found myself entering the giant overworld, learning that the Great Plateau was only a small segment of this vast land. When I was exploring the Great Plateau, it felt like I had explored the entire world already! It was big enough that I couldn’t imagine that the world could be any grander, but I was wrong — and I’m so glad I was. I now had the paraglider and I was ready to venture into this vast new world.

Breath of the Wild was truly a unique take on the Zelda series we all know and love. It was completely different, yet also so very familiar. I can only pray that the next project Nintendo has in store for this magnificent legend holds the same spirit as this wonderful entry does, and I hope that it shows no signs of stopping.