Thursday, 13 December 2012

Waxing Lyrical: Legend of Zelda Title Screen (NES)

     I have no idea how often I have heard this song growing up. It was this song, not the original Super Mario theme that was the anthem to my childhood days on the Nintendo. While it was my dad who played Super Mario, I would be the one traversing the plains of Hyrule on a quest to save the princess.

     The title screen for The Legend of Zelda might be one of the most influential songs in all of gaming. While some may argue that it is the original Super Mario Bros theme, the music never got me hooked the same way the Zelda title screen did. This was a song of an adventure of epic proportions. Like Kingdom of Alefgard it painted this image of you as a lone hero trying to reunite the pieces of the Triforce and stop Ganon's tyranny and bring peace to the land.

     What makes this song better then the Mario theme is that during the title screen, you get a story. The player is told what exactly has happened and what your quest entails. With Super Mario Bros, we get nothing of the sort. Zelda had the music to make you want to save the world. Kingdom of Alefgard was a sombre song. You had the weight of an entire nation resting on your shoulders and should you fail, the kingdom was doomed. Legend of Zelda was exactly the same. The people of Hyrule had gone into hiding, trying to flee the minions of Ganon. Like in Dragon Warrior they had no hero until one young man stepped forward with the courage to put an end to the villainous deeds.

     One of my fondest memories is that I was visiting a friends house and after playing Zelda for a while we went out into the adjacent field and pretended we were a hero trying to save a princess. The man behind Legend of Zelda himself had the same feelings when he was a young boy. He would explore the wooded area around Kyoto thinking it was a fantasy world and he was a hero.

     The title song would go on to be remade in several other Zelda games, most notably in Super Smash Brothers: Brawl when it was done using an orchestra. Now I know these days orchestrated video game music is a dime a dozen, but with Zelda, there is something special about it. My inner child wants to grab a wooden stick he calls his sword and walk around the nearby field, fighting monsters and saving a princess from a monster.

     While I do enjoy the current generation of Zelda music, none of them hold the same feeling of grandness and adventure as the original title did. With that song, I was going to be a hero. To be given a sword and fight the monster horde. The graphics were simple, but in my young mind it was the start of an adventure that would take me on a 20 year journey. Even the Zelda games that were not as good as others (not including the Cdi) they had excellent tracks. I can find at least a dozen songs in any game's soundtrack.

     That is the power of The Legend of Zelda.

     This is Daimo Mac and I am lost in the music.

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