zelda old man

Monday Mysteries: The Legend of Zelda And The Old Man In The Cave

The universe that belongs to the Legend of Zelda series is incredibly vast and diverse. There have been so many characters to meet, so many puzzles to solves, and let’s be honest- a lot of weird things to confuse us. Don’t get me wrong, The Legend of Zelda is quite possibly my favorite video game franchise. I adore it, I spent a great chunk of my childhood absorbed in it, and I will defend it to my last breath. There is not a Zelda game that I haven’t played and when my turn came to right an article for our Monday Mysteries series I knew what my focus would be.

I knew that I had to write something about Zelda but the question was, what mystery? I could focus on Gerudos and the science/politics behind the male child is king rule or I could write an entire thesis on Tingle himself who is one great big mystery. So yes, there is a lot to say on the Zelda universe and after a long deliberation I finally narrowed down my inquires to one. One mystery that I deemed interesting enough to talk about. This is something that goes back, way back into the past and I’m not talking A Link to the Past either.  No I mean The Legend of Zelda. The original game that started off not only one of the greatest video game franchises in history but also introduced a stream of weird characters and events that people would still be talking about to this day.

Do you remember what Link was like when you started that game? Typically like every Link after him, a kid who is way over his head. In Zelda I the character is pretty helpless to start with and the Overworld is filled with monsters who seem to enjoy ignoring the laws of nature, so a little green guy isn’t exactly going to send fear trembling through them. It’s pretty clear that weapons are not a luxury, it’s just too bad that you don’t have any. I mean they exist but for some reason Link decided to strap on his big boy boots and wander the world without even a big stick. It’s a shame that there aren’t any helpful people, say maybe a senior citizen with a Wooden Sword, that might might help you out.

And it begins

And it begins

Oh wait, there is. There is exactly a mysterious Old Man who seems to be willing to give you the Wooden Sword. Now, on one hand I was pretty happy to get my hands on a weapon but I’m surprised that young Link wasn’t aware of stranger danger. But beggars can’t be choosers, so wooden object and creepy old person in a suspicious cave it is. Although you would think that if he was kind enough to lend us a sword, that maybe he could also give up some advice. Maybe a little encouragement, since I’m doing both him and that Old Woman a favor by going on a quest to save a land that has a King and garrisons of trained soldiers. You would think he could at least give me a good old fashioned go get’em and a tussle on the head for my troubles. But what does he do? He just vanishes, at least the old bag gives me heart pieces.

Well, way to give me a crisis of conscience because I must have done something to cause him to just blip off the screen without another word. Was I not grateful enough? Was my sword-taking etiquette lacking? Did I smell? Whatever it was, I never got to find out and honestly I was a little hurt by it. Oh sure you meet up with him again later but I didn’t know that at the time. Instead I thought that I had insulted this nice old man who gave me a weapon to protect myself in this big bad world.

You are being lulled into a false sense of security

You are being lulled into a false sense of security

That was until you meet up with him again and he still refuses to tell you what you did wrong. He doesn’t even address the whole disappearing act that he did. No, instead he just goes on and on about the Northern Peninsula and ignores the quiet awkwardness between us because he refuses to talk about whatever grudge he’s now carrying.

That’s not even the end of the indignities. I don’t know how he did it or why, but apparently so time after he abandons you the Old Man wanders off and starts up an illegal gambling business in yet another cave. How did that even happen? Who makes that kind of life choice so suddenly? And I too went through the same self doubt that I think many gamers who went through this did. That no this wasn’t the same person. It couldn’t be the Old Man who had saved my life by giving me a much needed weapon. Yes,we apparently parted on bad terms but there was just no way that he could possibly be trying to fleece me . But eventually I had to face the truth. That yes, it was the same Old Man.

And the reckoning begins

And the reckoning begins

I needed the money at this point but I should have realized that the Old Man was seeking his revenge.  That he was using a fixed game that I couldn’t possibly win to get some payback because in his mind, he was completely justified. I had wronged him and rather than just allow the apology he decided  to ruin my financial future.  And it hurt.  Once again that Old Man had emotionally scarred me.  Once again, I had fallen into his trap and he walked away with my savings.  All because I did him wrong.  A wrong that I had tried to put right, how I was I to know that he was so sensitive.

Was it my fault that he refused to take an apology and allow me to give him the thanks he deserved? The Old Man was completely old school in his thinking. He had vanished after my perceived slight and lulled me, you, us into a false sense of security with talks of secrets in other sections of the land. Never showing a hint of the callous and maniacal plan of revenge that he had in store. Never letting me see even a bit of the trap he was springing until it was too late and he robbed me blind.  Oh and he can mug you too, so just no turning the other cheek and letting bygones be bygones. At least that’s what Zelda I taught me.That the older set just can’t let go of a grudge.

Or this entire article could be the result of a distinct lack of sleep, way too much coffee, and the fact that tomorrow is April 1st. Whichever side you land on readers feel free to comment.

Also please note that we are holding a contest with our Tales from the Game Shelf series that is currently live on the site. Read any article in the series about some of our favorite video game stories and comment on your own in order to win a copy of Double Fine’s The Cave on the PS3.