Home > Spectacle Rock - A Zelda Memoir
Spectacle Rock - A Zelda Memoir
The rain poured in like a million little missiles. Never missing their target. My lantern flickered in the dark of the night. I could only make out a single bush at my feet… And a massive castle wall to my left. I burned the bush with my lantern, revealing a grotto. A secret passage.
I jumped down it, headstrong. I was ready.
To storm the castle.
To kill some rats and snakes.
To collect some rupees.
Oh, and to be a hero, I guess.
Actually, that wasn’t me. I lied. It was Link. I wish it was me. I was too busy sitting in the living room, controlling Link, and having him walk right by a locked door in the Desert Palace. It was because the right side of the TV monitor was much more dim than the left side. I couldn’t see the locked door! It was a TV from the 80s, with a big orange clicky button that turned it on and off.
That was part of my A Link to the Past experience, back before the Internet was widely accessible. Back when you had to ride your bike a mile across a weed-infested dirt field just to get to a computer that had Internet. Oh, and you only had an hour on that computer, because it was at the library — another relic of the dark ages. You bet your bottom dollar that everyone used that one hour on Runescape. And if you didn’t have a bike, man, were you hurting.
If you got stuck in A Link to the Past, as I did, you had to consult super-vague player’s guide like this one I have sitting on my bookshelf.
If you couldn’t decipher the player’s guide you found at the discount store, you had to sift through all the rumors your friends told you about the game, about what to do, and about where to go.
No, there isn’t a glitch to save the smithy’s partner earlier and get an upgraded Fighter’s Sword.
Yes, there is a magical cape that lets you walk over spikes.
Yes, there is a magical rod that shoots ice.
No, Bush didn’t do 9/11.
The lack of accessible Internet and living in a developing neighborhood only added to the magic that was A Link to the Past, and later Ocarina of Time, and Link’s Awakening, and The Legend of Zelda, courtesy of the cool uncle with an NES.
Every kid in the neighborhood wanted to control Link. We didn’t play multi-player games like Donkey Kong or Mario Kart or something.
We played Zelda.
We wanted to be Link.
And to some extent, we were Link. Sort of.
Our dungeons were the half-built homes in the neighborhood. Our treasure chests were the dark-red dumpsters that sat outside them. Our treasure was the wood inside those dumpsters.
Our weapons? Swords, of course. Like Link. Wooden swords made from stakes that we pulled from the ground. The stakes were always in front of new home building areas. They were probably important or something.
Every hero needs a kingdom to defend.
Ours was made from the wood we snatched from those dumpsters. Castles that resembled lop-sided wooden shacks that swayed in the wind.
We propped them up on top of a massive dirt pile at the edge of the neighborhood. We called it Spectacle Rock. It’s still there, a decade and change later, although a lot less Spectacular.
One of my fondest memories was finally — FINALLY! — beating A Link to the Past while sitting inside my wooden castle-shack. On Gameboy Advance. That screen didn’t have any dim spots.
So you could understand how I must have felt when my younger brother destroyed our kingdom.
Coincidentally, the same way I would eventually feel about Phantom Hourglass.
Like any good hero, I had to set things right. I had to get justice.
Like any good eighth-grader, I had to get this justice in the most vengeful way possible.
A few weeks after the Forsaken Day of Destruction, my friend and I — we’ll call him Nathan — took my brother up to Spectacle Rock. To find some more swords, we said. To rebuild the kingdom, we said.
We knew that he destroyed our kingdom. He didn’t know that we knew.
He stayed back at the heart of Spectacle Rock propping up a little dinky shack for himself. The traitor! Just sitting there like he didn’t wreak havoc on that very place just a few weeks prior.
Off in the distance, Nathan bludgeoned me upside the head with a club. I fell to the ground.
I don’t know if my brother saw that part. It was a good fake, though.
On the ground, I applied ketchup all over my body. I hate ketchup. It ruins everything. I really took one for the team that day.
I crawled my vengeful butt all the way back to my brother. Nathan followed behind slowly, club over his shoulder like he was some super cool dude.
My brother dropped to his knees. Tears streaming from his eyes. What a wuss.
I tried to say his name — but I muffled the words. Face in the dirt. I was dead.
“You’re next,” Nathan grunts.
“Carl… No… You can’t be dead.” My brother was still crying. In his defense, he’s like three or four years younger than me.
“What’s that smell?” He asks.
Busted! But the job was done. I stood up, looming over him.
“Don’t mess with Spectacle Rock again,” I told him. I didn’t use the word “mess.”
Actually, I don’t remember what I said. I imagine it was something cool. More likely, though, I just stood there saying nothing.
And I know the snakes are called ropes, nerds.