Tag Archives: retro

The Black Tie Event Presents… All I Need to Know I Learned in the First 5 Minutes of the Legend of Zelda

We’ve learned so much over the years. From our days of schooling or the au par that would take care of us when our single mother was out “looking for a new Daddy” in Rome or Las Vegas. There are things we were taught that we forgot and there are things that never really mattered that we will never forget.

For this week’s Black Tie Event presents everything I really needed to know, I learned from playing the Legend of Zelda. And only in the first five minutes.

Tighten those ties, it’s about to get life-learned lessons classy in here.


Patience is huge in gaming. Either in finding out what a boss’s pattern is down to moving one pixel at a time to journey across a large gap or cavern. Those who are familiar with retro gaming and the NES in general, they know patience is a must.

You find the Legend of Zelda on a shelf next to many other titles for sale. You’ve seen the screenshots, you’ve read the reviews. This is the adventure you have been waiting for. You have the sweet crest on the front of the box and a little window that shows off the gold exterior of the cartridge. You purchase the game, run home and slap it in your NES only to get this:

Now, everyone has their own method of getting games to work on their NES because, I don’t know if you know, but every NES is different and requires your special touch. It won’t work on anyone else’s just yours.

You know it’s going to work, sooner or later it’s going to work. But this is what really separates the men from the boys. Some of you will give up and just try to get it to work later. Others will sit for hours getting the game to work. And those who have patience will win in the end. Because after those hours to getting it to work, becoming light headed from all of the blowing into the cartridge, that beautiful logo screen with the flowing waterfall and the glorious theme will sing through your mind until you are lying on your deathbed. Patience is a virtue. And the reward is the Legend of Zelda.

The Importance of a Name

Now, for those who first played Legend of Zelda, didn’t read the instruction booklet or waited for the story scroll. You wanted to play the game right? Right?! So naturally you would put your own name in or something funny hoping for the NPCs to use your name in some sort of conversation. Oh, and by the way, it almost never happens.

Many of us would just put their own name in just to bypass the screen and get to the game. Some of us will find this as a way to reinvent themselves. If you’re shy and an introvert, you could be Krun, the strong and powerful! Ready to save any kidnapped princess or damsel in distress. All of that starts with a name.

I use to think that I was plagued with a boring, easy to forget name. Eric Hunter. Lame. As I grew up, I found out that I have a very powerful name. A name that nearly no one would have an issue spelling first time out (huge deal there) and something that fits my personality. That’s the secret. It’s not my name that makes me, it’s me that makes the name. The name you pick will be echoed through the ages!

Or if you read the instruction booklet, you’d pick Link because that’s what the game’s hero’s name is. You know, whichever works for you. That, or you could pick Zelda, and give your game a totally different view.

Being Alone

Starting a new game in the Legend of Zelda, you get a sense of being utterly alone. You pull down your inventory and you have nothing. No items, no money, nothing. All you have are the clothes on your back and a full bill of health (which, you won’t know until later, can be increased). In front of you are three passageways. You have no idea where they go. You are building your map as you go. No one has given you a hand to push you in the correct direction.

A small note of valuable information here, is that this is the only installment in the Legend of Zelda series where you don’t have a home. In every iteration, you start in someone’s house or Link’s own home. But not here. You get a sense of larger things at work here and something or someone just dropped you in the middle of nowhere.

This is true in life as well. There are many times in your life that you will feel completely hopeless just like Link. You may have a good bill of health and a few roads ahead of you for you to take. But you are on your own. No one is going to help you.

Learning to Trust People

One of the first people you meet in this strange new land is an old man living as a hermit in a nearby cave. Upon entering, he has these famous lines…

The first time I met this “old man” (if he really is an old man), I was worried. There were too many holes in his story. How does he know it’s dangerous out there? He’s old. He’s not going out and running around. He’ll probably stay around his cave only going out as far as he has to for food and water. If he thinks the land octopuses that shoot rocks are dangerously, he’s got another thing coming. How does he really know it’s dangerous out there?

And he’s giving me a free sword. FREE! No swap, no “I’ll get you back later”, nothing. Just… here ya go. At this point in the game, you are already overwhelmed by, what you think anyway, the shear size of the new land you’ve just been thrown into, you haven’t seen or heard anyone or anything at this point, then you have this guy.

Just like in life, you have to decide on a moment’s notice if you can trust someone or not. He seems legit. At least to the point of, on a first meeting, he’s willing to help you along your journey without asking for anything in return. Do you take the sword and hope it really does help you in the end or do you go about your way making your own success without the kindness of strangers? I have seen players do both. Those who don’t take the sword have a tougher time adventuring. Even though it is impressive to watch a swordless Link speedrun.

Sometimes You Get Lucky

Some people seem to just get by without any outside help or direction. It just seems like all the roads are pointed their way and it’s clear sailing from here. Well, let’s face it, sometimes people get lucky. I don’t know how many times I’ve been playing a game and I’m so close to dying that the next hit will take me over the edge sending me back to the start of the level. Then this happens.

That’s right. I got lucky. Sure it could be that the program is written just so that it’ll recognize that you may need a little boost to keep playing while others are trying to keep you down and part of that may be true. Then there are other times where it seems just like a gift from god. Which in some ways is true. Life isn’t a program (unless you believe in the Matrix), and sometimes it just feels like things are going your way. Happens all the time. Take advantage of these incidents. They may be few and far between.

You Learn as You Go

If you’re like me, you didn’t read the instruction booklet that came with the game and you sure as hell didn’t wait for the story to roll after the title screen. So as far as you know, you’re alone in a vast unknown world and it’s up to you figure it out as you go.

You make it through the first dungeon, take out huge dragon and are awarded a… what the hell is this? You pull down your inventory and now there’s something there that wasn’t there before. Hmm… what does it mean? Who knows. You continue on your journey. Because you will figure it out eventually.

That’s the beauty of most things. You learn as you go. You come across something that doesn’t make sense now, hold on to it. Sooner or later it’ll make sense. Either for you or for someone else. There’s a note you receive from another old man (yes another one. They are everywhere in the land of Hyrule) and says to give it to the old woman. There isn’t any young people in Hyrule either, just in case you were wondering.

Now, you can’t use this note. It’s not for you, but as you continue your journey, you come across someone who needs it. This “swap” mechanic is used over and over again in pretty much all of the Legend of Zelda games. It’s a good life lesson. If there’s anytime you are concerned about the goings on in life, just keep going. You’ll figure it out.

I love the Legend of Zelda. It is my absolute favorite game of all time. Sure there are games that come out that may want to compete with it, but they fall short every time. The Legend of Zelda is a one of a kind. Just like you. Now wipe that childlike wonder out of your eyes and start slaying some beasts!

Wait… Which Player Am I?

Sometimes people can be lazy. Usually no one is really affected by this laziness because those people typically stay at home, eating chips off the floor, and watch reruns of “Who’s the Boss?” still trying to decide who’s really the boss. But then you have some of those lazy people who produce something from their laziness. It’s especially noticeable in the retro gaming industry when deciding to create a 2 player mode. Playing games with your friends is fun right? Unless 2 player is just a lame rip off of player 1. Let’s look at some lame ass character rip offs shall we?


Double Dragon 2: The Revenge

Released: December 1988

Developed by: Technos Japan

Published by: Technos Japan

Player 1: Billy

Player 2: Jimmy Lee

So I don’t think they ever explained that the Double Dragons were actually twins. Or that they prefer the same hair cut, color, and style. They seem to work out at the same gym, by the same trainer, and have the same stance.

The only thing they seem to differ on is what color clothing to wear. It looks like they are either wearing jump suits or a baby’s onesies. In either matter, Billy likes Blue and Jimmy Lee likes red. You ask if they want sprinkles on their ice cream they both yes. But when it comes to coloring of clothes, not style or design, just color, the Double Dragons differ. Who in their right mind would buy a red pair of jeans anyway? Geez. Totally not fashionable.


Guerrilla War

Released: 1987

Developed by: SNK

Published by: SNK

Player 1: Unnamed rebel commando 1

Player 2: Unnamed rebel commando 2

War is hell. War makes men out of boys. Guerrilla War decides it’s best not to color coordinate with the environment because it’s more fun to stick out like a sore thumb to the enemy than wear the same jacket from Kohl’s as your buddy. Oh the humanity!

Not only are the jackets a different color, apparently the Government has the funds to create blue and yellow helmets as well for your personal selection. The helmets and jackets have to match! You can’t have a yellow jacket with a blue helmet or a blue jacket with a yellow helmet. That’s just crazy talk! Crazy talk I tell you.

But it does give a great insight at how we treat virtual soldiers fighting for our virtual country and freedom. They’re not good enough even to have names. Just Unnamed Rebel Commando. That’s all you are, maggot! Now drop down and give me 20 while I try out these new green pants that are standard issue.


River City Ransom

Released: January 1990

Developed by: Technos Japan

Published by: American Technos

Player 1: Alex

Player 2: Ryan

The streets will run red in River City as street gangs positioned by Slick combat Alex and Ryan to stop from retrieving Ryan’s Girlfriend. The cult classic River City Ransom has been met with much criticism and fans begging for sequels.

The color swap in this game is an interesting one. The game developers didn’t go for the ho-hum Red and Blue swap. They switched it up! Who wouldn’t look better in comparison in white jeans and a blue tee than his friend who just so happened to show up in blue jeans and a white tee shirt? Make the eye a little smaller so he doesn’t look scared all the time, give him the little Superman curl at the end of his hair and Boom! You’ve got a completely different person with a different set of beliefs, goals, and life lessons. Yeah… that’s how that works…


Heavy Barrel

Released: 1987

Developed by: Data East

Published by: Data East

Player 1: Soldier 1

Player 2: Soldier 2

Granted, Guerrilla War and Heavy Barrel are basically the same game. Both are over head run and gun types that pits you against an unlimited amount of terrorists to shoot and destroy.

I’m guessing though, the virtual war in Heavy Barrel must be in the future because the Government now has the money to not only issue matching jackets and helmets but also pants and guns! That’s right! Does the red colored gun not match your eyes? Well, now you have your choice of red or blue! And you don’t need a helmet like the old fashion wars! No, sir! We now have the technology to provide high impact sweat bands. Sweat bands – not just for those 70s & 80s work out videos any longer. Sweat bands – the only way to fly.


Smash TV

Released: 1990

Developed by: Beam Soft

Published by: Acclaim Entertainment

Player 1: Contestant 1

Player 2: Contestant 2

Now, let me bring you into the future of reality TV in the year 1999! That’s right. Smash TV pits two contestants in a hands-on, no-holds-barred, do-or-die adventure set in 1999! Crazy what could have been if this game would not have been made.

Not only does this game do the red and blue color swap, the creators also assumed that the second player is black. Now is that racist? I don’t think so. I believe that Williams Entertainment felt that in the year 1999, the world population would be split down the middle with race and engaging them to work together to kill their opponents with machine guns for cash and prizes at the entertainment value for society. We are almost there, world. We are almost there. Let’s make Williams Entertainment proud. Big Money!


Life Force

Released: August 1, 1988

Developed by: Konami

Published by: Konami

Player 1: Vic Viper

Player 2: Lord British

Swapping red and blue color schemes for co-operative game play isn’t segregated to just human-type characters. Oh, no. It’s also a guide line for space ships as well.

In Life Force, the 2 player space ship goes through a red transition from it’s player 1 counterpart and it appears to have an addition to its engine while in flight. The easiest way to create blue flames is by combining it with an element that burns blue naturally. These include: ethanol (e.g. rum, vodka), methanol, isopropyl alcohol, or natural gas. Three of those include some sort of alcohol. And after playing the game for about 20 minutes, my money is on rum. Maybe with a shot of coke. Or even better, R.C. Cola. Mmmm.


Bubble Bobble

Released: 1986

Developed by: Taito

Published by: Taito and Romstar

Player 1: Bub

Player 2: Bob

Bub and Bob make their way into your home via your television set and Nintendo Entertainment System to blow bubbles… and bobble around…?

Color swapping dragons. They both have the buck tooth sticking out which proves that inbreeding is a natural way of life in the dragon kingdom. But the blue isn’t really a blue, is it? It’s more of a teal. Maybe the mommy dragon drank some food coloring? Or maybe Bob fell in a bucket of mud? Blue mud? I mean crud. There’s just no way these two are twins. But at least they tried to make some sense of 2 Player.

I don’t care what anyone says, there is nothing cute about these monstrous dragons. You think trapping enemies with bubbles and watching them get squashed is cute? It’s not. It’s frightening. And there’s nothing cute about a blue dragon. It’s unnatural. Then again, I would think a dragon that spits bubbles as an attack mechanism is unnatural as well.



Released: June 1991

Developed by: Rare

Published by: Tradewest

Player 1: Rash

Player 2: Zits


So, we see a ton of strange things in video games. A set of Battletoads is just another to add to the list, but Rare did something interesting here.

As you may recall, Rare developed the Battletoads series to be in direct competition with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. So why wouldn’t you pit reptile against reptile?

Rather than having each “battle toad” have a different set of colored gear and sweat band, they  went full force and changed the whole spite yellow. But one of the things that always seemed strange to me is the absence of Pimple. The story always revolves around the 3 of the Battletoads battling the Dark Queen and her renegade space troops. He’s also green, by the way. Maybe that’s why. Even though the story says he was kidnapped in the first two original Battletoads games. I just don’t believe it. Do toads change their skin tone over time? Must be a mishap from how ever they became the ‘Toads.

REBOOT: Wizards and Warriors


Wizards & Warriors is a platforming video game developed by UK-based company Rare for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). It was published by Acclaim and released in North America in December 1987 and in Europe on January 7, 1990. It was also released in Japan by Jaleco on July 15, 1988 under the title Densetsu no Kishi Elrond (伝説の騎士エルロンド?). In the game, players control Kuros, the “Knight Warrior of the Books of Excalibur“, as he sets out in the Kingdom of Elrond to defeat the evil wizard Malkil, who holds the princess captive in Castle IronSpire, located deep within Elrond’s forests. During the game, players make their way through forests, tunnels, and caves, battling hoards of enemies and collecting treasure, magical items, and additional weaponry to get past the obstacles and hazards that lie in their path. It was Rare’s second game released for the NES, after Slalom.



I rented this game from my Uncle’s video store back in the day (let’s hope that is the first and only time I use that phrase). At first glance of the box art, this game has a similar art design that of Mega Man. It’s super realistic that makes you believe (as a 6-year-old) that this shit is going to be off the hook or whatever the kids say nowadays. Is it chain? Off the chain? I remember hearing someone say “popping off at the neck” which sounded really odd to me. Maybe I’m getting too old… huh…

Why doesn’t the guy in the game look like him?

The music is impressive for it’s time. The tunes are super recognizable and have the ability to get stuck in your ear drums. The game play is a bit unruly at times. It’s the FUCKING JUMPS.

The jump system used has a strange delay. Most of the time I would do a double jump, swinging the controller around like the Dad in The Wizard. Who knew that something we did all the time as kids would one day make it part of the game controller? Nintendo that’s who. But back to the jumping.

After hitting the jump button, the sprite takes two or three more images to actually get off the ground. For the brain, the delay makes you hit the jump button again thinking that it didn’t register. This goes back to the ol’ Super Mario Bros days. That jump is immediate. You hit the button, BOOM! You’re in the air.Where as with Wizards and Warriors, you have to time it more to make those real sneaky jumps that any normal game you wouldn’t be able to make. You can make them here. Stupid sneaky jumps.

The combat system is similar to Ys where you just have to run into the enemy to kill them half the time. The game does have a “combat system” which, in quotes, is a loose way of saying “Really… all you have to do is run into the enemies to kill them.” It’s not until later into the first level where you actually get weapons or add-ons to help your combat needs. Throwing daggers, the Duke Nukem Kick, and throwing axes are just a few to help your arsenal in the fighting arena.

The game is set up in eight different stages and you get a sweet ass map showing your process after every boss battle. You keep your upgrades through out the whole game unless you lose all of your lives and have to start from the beginning.

The game also has some sweet glitches that you can preform to make your way through faster. Glitches that will ban you from the Twin Galaxy speed run. Game has to be badass for that right?

why a reboot?

The game series already consists of 3 other sequels: 2 for the NES and 1 for the original Gameboy. All three are entertaining (sans Iron Sword, which just pisses me off to no end. Sans is French by the way) and helps extend the same gameplay from the original. But this is almost 12 years ago since the last one!

No. Go away Iron Sword. I don’t want to play you… Oh, shit… is that Fabio? Yes… Yes it is.

I don’t know about you guys, but this game is fun. A lot of games now a days really aren’t that fun. It’s challenging. It’s one of those games that when you searching through your collection for something to play to kill some time, Wizards and Warriors will easily be over looked. You’ll feel that tension bulid up in the back of your neck giving you the warning that if this game is slipped into that console slot, you better be ready to put sometime away. Tell your grandma that you will have to miss her 80th birthday because you’ll be too busy journeying the woods of Elrond making your way to slay the Supreme Wizard, Malkil. She’ll understand.

The game has a level of fun, challenge, and a lot of replay value. The worlds are huge (well considering the time of it’s release) and there are lots of hidden passageways and forking paths to take. Although I was giving shit to the control scheme, it’s makes you learn how to play from Level 1. There’s no “Welcome to the game. Let me show you how to play!!1!” intro level bullshit, but the level design allows the player to test those “leap of faith” jumps, your combat skills on the ground before battling in the air, and shows right away that you can get a ton of gems just by searching for same colored keys and cracking up chests.

will it happen?

No. Why? Well the series was originally created by Rare (Rare Coin-IT in those days) and was released by Acclaim. Acclaim is now like Atari, not really a company but a name that can be whored out to smaller no name companies to release their games under.

Rare on the other hand is currently owned (at least in part) by Microsoft. And if Microsoft isn’t pumping out Call of Duty sequel after sequel or Halo garbage, there’s really no hope for a reboot on the Wizards and Warriors series. What could they do with it? Well, just another side scrolling adventure that can be played on XBox Live would do just fine for me. There’s enough retro gamers out there that would snatch this up like it was the last of the Cabbage Patch Dolls. But for the new crowd of gamers? It probably wouldn’t take off. Game companies today need to see money before the game is ready to be released in the form of preorders, request for downloadable content, viral YouTube videos blah blah blah.

If the game was reimagined into a 3D world, it would just be another dull boring adventure game that you can find in the $5 bin at Wal-Mart. The essence of the series is that the side scrolling matrix was taken to the limits of the hardware. The story is a simple concept of knight saving princess. Anything more would draw the attention away from the game and lose what is easiest the reason why old school games will always be better than today’s: it’s not about the ending or the graphics, it’s about getting there; the journey.

what do we do now?

Keep playing the shit out of the versions you have and let your days slip away into nothingness. Oh, and that birthday was your grandma’s last. Sorry…