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.

first screen and sword cave

The Legend of Zelda, generic first screen and sword cave, hospital by Josh Millard.

Something I made a while back but didn’t get around to uploading until now.  This is a Mapstalgia Challenge two-fer; it’s both a First Screen and a Zelda Time entry.

I don’t have enough lego blocks to do this to one-block-per-tile scale; at this reduced scale I had to be awfully abstract with the graphics.  You’ll note that the grey stripe above the red bonfires in the cave, buy cialis for your IT’S DANGEROUS TO GO ALONE, TAKE THIS stand-in.

It’d be fun to see an entire Zelda overworld done in block-for-block scale, but that’d sure be an awful lot of legos; Zelda maps were 11*16 for each screen, which is 176 blocks per screen.  And the overworld was 16*8 screens in size, so that’s 176*128 blocks or over twenty-two thousand total. LEGO will sell you bricks ala carte; 2*2 blocks run $0.15 each, so buying enough to put this together that way would cost about $3,400 total.  Oof.

A standard two-by-two block of the sort used here is about 5/8ths of an inch, so a world map made per the previous calculations would be a rectangle about 13.3 feet long and 4.5 feet high.  Hell of a wall mural!

Level 5 – That one room with six Blue Darknuts

This is a great room with a great concept that definitely isn’t completely awful and annoying.

Man I hated those guys.  SO MUCH.  You could cheap ‘em out sometimes by hanging out in the safe zone of the doorway with full hearts and taking shooting-sword potshots, but even THAT wasn’t reliable since some rooms had shutter doors or bomb-through entries, neither of which allowed for that kind of cover.

world map

I’ve played through Zelda a dozen times.  I’m a bit fuzzy on some of the area in the mountains in the upper-left corner, unhealthy but the rest of the map I can piece together in my head pretty well, working outward from certain unforgettable areas, like the area near Level 1, the fairy fountain in the central region, the area around the 100-rupee spot in the upper-right corner, the graveyard, etc.  Although the game came with a couple of maps I didn’t use them; in fact, I kept most of the game in my head. 

Don’t worry — my boastful, swaggering ways were later brought to heel by nothing less than The Bard’s Tale II, a Wizardry-style CRPG that exists mainly to humble people who think they don’t need to map.  I think I still have my BTII maps somewhere, I’ll upload some of them (there are 25!) if I can find them.

I’m still working in fits and starts at my own attempt at the Zelda world map, and so I’ve been religiously avoiding looking at Zelda maps to avoid accidentally cheating.  So I’m just going to assume John didn’t scrawl any scandalous mottos across this thing.  He’s a good guy, I’m not too worried on that front.

Light World

This is a map of the Light World from A Link To The Past. The hardest parts were the ones where the player has limited mobility (the land parts around lake Hylia or the way towards the Flippers) and places like the area of the first dungeon to the east that is just confusing. I helpfully noted the location of the Master Sword because it’s too dangerous to go alone. I last played the game 2.5 years ago and it remains brilliant.

P.S. If anyone does the Dark World, add the inscription “There be Gannons”.