It's been about 25 years since I first played this game, and I think I could still draw the entire world layout off the top of my head.
There are few video games in existence that I've played through more times, or put on a higher pedestal than Link to the Past. After never particularly caring for the NES Zelda games (a wrong I've corrected. At least for one of them), I remember borrowing this game from my friend Matthew. I had low expectations, and they were absolutely blown away.
From the very beginning of this game where you walk out into the rain and have to find a way to break into Hyrule castle, the environment sucks you in. By the time you break out of the castle with Zelda and set off the get the first of the three medallions needed to retrieve the Master Sword, you're hooked. This game comes with a massive world to explore. And when you think you've seen all of it, it turns you on your head and sends you to another one! One of my favourite mechanics in this game is flipping between the Light and Dark worlds, and seeing what changes have occurred in one as a result of your actions in the other. It might seen commonplace now, but this shit was revolutionary in 1992.
I remember going to the library with my Mom as a kid, and they had a guide for this game there. I would take it out over and over again. We didn't have the internet back then to just look up how to find something, you had to grind it out. And there was so much to find!! Two or three playthroughs after I first finished this game, I was still finding new items and upgrades.
I know people love Ocarina of Time, and that's great. But you won't change my mind - A Link to the Past is the greatest Legend of Zelda game of all time. Or at least, greatest pre-Breath of the Wild Legend of Zelda game, anyway.
Fellow comedian/video game nerd Mark McCue is my guest this week, and we had a great time remembering the 16-bit of Hyrule. Give it a listen, won't ya??