world map excerpts

I should clarify that this is woefully incomplete not because I can’t remember any more of the map but because for some fool reason I convinced myself I could do the whole map basically screen-perfect from memory and then found out in the trying that that was a ridiculous, demoralizing thing to attempt.

And so these drawings, across three sheets of paper (measured out carefully to 16*8 screen proportions on the graph paper but pasted together not-to-scale here in order to make the emptiness a bit less sprawling), stop the moment I was Not Quite Sure about how a screen broke across to the adjacent one.  Or in a couple cases, a screen too late — I’m certain that on the left end of the central section I divvied up the screen real estate wrong.  And I knew it as I was doing it.  And so I stopped.

I’ve been meaning to come back to this one for weeks and weeks now, and I keep not quite having the will to make myself crazy on it again.  I know ninety percent of the remaining map reasonably well, but not well enough to glue it all together without a reference like this.  It’s a maddening little feat — and defeat — of memory, the way individual screens come to mind without effort but slotting them into one precise puzzle of map with a ballpoint pen just doesn’t happen.  How uncertainty over where the tiles of the map went moving from screen A to screen B blossoms into a kind of mind-melting circle of doubt.

Because, the thing is, I’ve spent a lot of time with the Zelda map. 

Not just as a kid, though to be sure I spent a great deal of time with it, it was one of my early NES loves and I’d scoured most of the map in great detail, burning every bush, bombing every rock wall, memorizing the locations of the heart container. 

But more recently, even, less than two years ago, I spent days building Hyrule’s overworld from scratch in Minecraft from reference maps.  I felt after that like I had the map tattooed in my mind, indelible, unforgettable.

And yet, here we are.  Memory fades.


A good old-fashioned megadungeon, drawn from memory of the hours I spent playing it over at a friends house. I definitely missed out a whole bunch of areas here. The biggest bit is the trip down through blight town, because what I remember most is making the horrifying descent down through to Ash Lake, then realizing that I had to go back up again. Then you get there and the bastards steal your save point!

Bonus: A squashed bug that got scanned in with the picture. 


I played this game often as a kid, trying to figure out just what in the hell to type to make things work. I remember getting a mile into the game once and then realizing I didn’t have an item needed to complete the game. That was fun.

I’m pretty sure I’m missing vast sections of the game, but the first screen I remember very well. Mostly I remember dying. A lot. Either by drowning, or being eaten in the plant maze, or killed by guards, or the tazmanian devil, or my own stupidity. Still, I had fun.

Also, I can’t draw. Even a little.


I remember that I loved this game, and I loved that you could pause when hurting certain bosses and they would continue to take damage while the game was paused. Spoiler alert!  I remember playing it, and the physics of the tank and the jumps, but obviously I do not remember the layout of any level at all.  It’s sad, actually. 

I loved this game to death as a kid.  I don’t think there as a game I anticipated more eagerly, and I was a champ at eagerly anticipating NES releases.  And yet I’m having the same sort of memory problems as Slander — I can’t remember much about the specific layout of the game.  Individuals screens, yeah, but how do they go together?  I should give it a shot at some point anyway.  Maybe load the game up in an emu at some point as well.


When I saw this brilliant idea, I knew I had to submit a map of my own. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that I couldn’t really remember the layout of most of the games I played, with the possible exception of Super Mario Bros. worlds 1-1 and 1-2. And then I remembered Zork I! There’s a game I’ve made dozens of maps for. I made a mistake when I originally mapped the maze as a kid, so I didn’t know about the room with the <SPOILER>cyclops</SPOILER>. As a result, I couldn’t finish the game, and I so I ended up playing it off and on for years, until I found a hint-through that put me right.

When I decided to do my map here, I first tried to do it the way I originally made my maps, as a grid of boxes with names connected in particular directions, but after a few minutes I realized that while I knew the white house backwards and forwards, and I knew numerous details about the objects and puzzles, the game’s world made no geographical sense whatsoever and thus I had no idea which rooms went where. Is the loud room next to the circular room? Where is Flood Control Dam #3 in relation to the rainbow?

So I scrapped the original map and decided to go for an ultra-detailed version of the initial above-ground region (although I’m just wild guessing on the forest), including all the objects. Some of those descriptions stick with me to this day: “an elvish sword of great antiquity”, “a glass bottle (containing: a quantity of water)”, etc. To this day, I am bedeviled by the lack of description on the “lunch”. What kind of lunch is it?