With the current craze of Zelda randomizers, I figured I’d give one of them a shot, what better game for me to start with than — you guessed it — my all-time favorite, A Link to the Past. After several attempts, I finally got a good playable seed in which I wasn’t stuck at the beginning of the game with only a few bombs instead of a sword, so I was able to relive those moments and feelings in the original game that filled my childhood with so much joy.
But eventually, I came across certain spots in the overworld which just seemed odd, out of place, and had me stop to figure out what they meant — all while there was a princess out there somewhere, awaiting my arrival.
I am the kind of person who always needs to know the “how” and “why” of everything, so if I see something breaking a pattern, I can’t help but think there must be a reason for it and my brain won’t rest until I find said reason. Imagine the frustration of a 10-year-old dealing with this while peacefully playing his favorite game and finding such a situation. So, to finally share my frustration with the world, here are some of those things around Hyrule that still haunt my nights.
Quite early in the game, as soon as you arrive in the desert, you are greeted by a bizarre figure imprinted on the sand. Is it an eagle? Is it an octopus? Perhaps an octorok? It certainly baffled me when I first saw it, and little did I know then, it was only the first mystery I would find.
Still very early in the game, south of Kakariko Village, there lies another mystery that had me racking my brain longer than I would like to admit. Right after the maze minigame, behind the man at the end of it, there is a stump. Yeah, there are stumps all over Hyrule, but this is the one I despise the most. It isn’t the stump itself that bothers me, but what is found behind it.
Behind this dreaded wooden obstacle is a path. To where, I don’t know, and I never knew, and I’ll never know. Being right on the edge of the map, it probably goes nowhere. But if that was the case, why would the developers put it there? Why not just have the mountain borders cover all that space? Maybe they intended to have it lead somewhere, or maybe it is just some cruel joke, but my 10-year-old self could not understand this. I abused this stump in all ways possible: I tried to burn it, freeze it, bomb it, shoot it, hookshot it, poke it with the highest level sword — all with no success. There was no legitimate way I could get that stump out of my way and explore whatever it was hiding behind it. And like many things in my life I know won’t work, I had to leave it behind and move on. Until I found something else.
Now, before I continue, I have to confess something: I never completed A Link to the Past 100 percent. I know, I know, shocking, but I missed two Pieces of Heart (though keep in mind I managed to do all that without any guides or walkthroughs), I explored the map for months and could not find them, and sadly I later lost my game. After that, I have never been able to get that far in another playthrough, so this game will forever remain unfinished for me.
So the last thing I found — way after I had finished the game at around 99.8% and while I was looking for those two missing Pieces of Heart — was south of the pyramid in the Dark World. Right there, a few steps in front of the Pyramid’s stairs, is an odd-looking part of the fence.
Again, my brain started asking all those questions: “Why is it like that?” “Why is it there?” “How do I remove it?” “What is it hiding?” And just like the poor stump before, I used my entire arsenal against that piece of fence that, to me, had to be hiding something to look so different from the rest.
After hours of failed attempts, I found nothing. There seemed to be no way of opening or removing it, as though it was just some graphical oversight, or perhaps a way to make up for the size of the area and the size of the fence tiles. I don’t know, but every time I get there in a playthrough, I will always remember being a frustrated little child, not giving up on anything I have hope for until I have utilized all of my available resources. For I learned that, even if that hard work ultimately ends with no gain, there comes a later satisfaction of knowing you did everything you could.