Legend of Zelda HD Remaster

The original Legend of Zelda has received a HD remaster treatment by the romhack community.

The hack is playable through an emulator called Mesen. Mesen is free, and you’ll need a copy of a specific version of the original of the Legend of Zelda ROM as well as the HD remake files in order to play it.

Applying the HD remake files to the game is not difficult, but requires following a series of instructions that are demonstrated in the video below.

I gave it a try. The graphical updates give it a look on part with the SNES, and have a look reminiscent of Zelda III: A Link to the Past, although the sprites appear to be original artwork, not rips from the SNES ROM. Likewise, the audio sounds much like a SNES update of the original LOZ soundtrack.

The terrain sprites are fantastic, and make old Hyrule look spectacular. The repetitive tiled look of the original is completely made over, and now overworld features like bombable rocks and burnable bushes are a bit less of a pain than they were before — rather than having to try to burn every single bush on the screen, there’ll be one bush (or a small handful) of bushes that will stand out and look suspicious from the rest of the background terrain.)

I’m not as impressed by the character sprites. Moblins, Goriya, and Stalfos all look less charming than they did in the original. Creatures like Octorocks, Tektites, Leevers, and Kees look like they are done better, to me.

One thing I notice right away is that Link’s HD sprite looks visually smaller than the original, but his hitbox doesn’t seem to have changed. This makes him feel somewhat clumsy, and I kept colliding with enemies when it looked like I should have a bit of space between us. While I’m sure this can be gotten used to, to me it’s an unfortunate, huge, and immediate negative. Ultimately, enjoying a videogame comes down to gameplay, not graphics, and gameplay is impacted by an improper hitbox like this. I believe the developers of the HD Remaster could fix this pretty easily by making adjustments to Link’s sprite.

Another thing I noticed is that when climbing up/down stairs, there is no animation showing Link descending and disappearing into the dark hole, as there is in the original.

The HD Remaster enhances the game in a few other notable ways: increased bomb capacity, pressing Select toggles your B-inventory item so you no longer have to pause to the subscreen to select it, text draws faster, and the dialogs are somewhat altered from the original, offering better translations and more useful clues than were present in the original.

I’ve played through the first dungeon. I notice that in the dungeons, the map doesn’t seem to give you any visual indication to differentiate between rooms you have visited vs. rooms that you have not yet reached. This is another gameplay issue that I feel should be rectified by the maintainers of the mod.

Overall, this seems like a fantastic mod, very well done, but not without minor flaws. It is nevertheless enjoyable and should not be missed if you’re a fan of the original game. Nintendo legal often clamps down on fan projects like this, so if you want to play this yourself, it’s best to grab it while you can. Although, the maintainers do appear to have taken pains to separate the mod pack from anything that directly infringes on Nintendo copyright, such as the original ROM that is needed in order to make the mod pack work.

Awakening from cryo-sleep

So I guess GDEX had a virtual event last weekend, or recently, or whatever. You know, because of the COVID pandemic.
I didn’t attend the virtual GDEX this year, and for the last year+ I have been inactive as a game developer, due in large part to the feeling of hopelessness that I have about ever doing anything meaningful or memorable in that field. The tools frustrate me, programming feels like drudgery, the market is brutal and impossible. So why even bother trying.
Mind you this is all in my head, I just have an incredibly negative, defeatist attitude about life, and this poisons me every day that I’m alive, and I wish I could have a brain surgeon cut that part of my brain out of my head.
An odd coincidence that Fri-Sat I made a tiny little snake game for my own satisfaction. I didn’t make it for any reason other than I wanted to make something, and feel what that feels like again.
For some reason though, this morning I recalled a dim memory of a GDEX from several years ago.
I was walking in to the event, feeling like an imposter, a nobody, never worked in the industry, just a wannabe who had a life-long dream of working in game development, ignited from the moment I played my first video game.
I was walking into the building where they had the event that year, this was the first year that they held it at COSI, and some random guy who was also walking into the event starts talking to me, and I tell him who I am, and as I’m telling him about my website and the couple of books on GameMaker that I donated my time to for no compensation other than my name appearing in the book, the guy KNEW WHO I WAS. He was like “Oh you’re that guy! I’ve read some of your tutorials! They were helpful!”
I’m standing there, not quite an important person, and yet there’s this guy who knew of me because of my work, and he had been helped by it.
I don’t need to be, like, a rock star, or anything, but being recognized on the proverbial street by a random person I ran into at an industry convention kindof almost made me feel like a rock star, almost. Like, yep, that’s me, the guy who can’t learn how to program good, so he publishes little tiny increments of progress on a website in order to not lose track of what little he could figure out because it sucks when you spend 12 hours pounding your head against some problem, finally figure it out, and then can’t remember it the next time you need to do it, so I put it on the web so I can find it again when I can’t remember it myself. That’s me. I’m that guy.
And I just kindof shrugged it off, and forgot all about how, no matter what other failures I don’t even bother to try to accomplish in my life, there’s direct evidence that I did a thing that was meaningful in the field of game dev.
OK, maybe I didn’t make Pac Man or Tetris or Mario, and I’m not a “successful indie developer” who has a following and a career and goes around saying important things to people who want to hear them because I’m the one saying them.
But I was able to figure out how to make some pixels wiggle on the screen using trigonometry, and because trig confuses the shit out of me and a lot of people, I decided to write up what I had figured out while it was still in my head since I’d for sure need it again, and to make sure it was really good I published it so that someone who reads it might suggest an improvement, maybe.
And then other people came by and read it, and I still get about 50 or more readers a day, and like 375,000 people have visited the site since I started it, which sounds like a lot of people. And they walk around in real life and you can randomly encounter them, and tell them who you are, and they will sometimes know who you are already, after you start telling them about you.
And then you still don’t have a million dollars, or any dollars really, but you feel different after that, you feel a way that you could never have felt unless you did those things.
And I realize, like waking up out of cryo-sleep, that I can, you know, keep doing things.

So, here’s a vlog from a guy with a successful youtube channel where he talks about astronomy, because he loves the cosmos and seems to know a lot about it, and his latest vlog is about how he’s glad that he’s no longer homeless, because vlogging about astronomy is totally a thing you can do if you really love astronomy. This seems like an important reminder for those of us who have a passion for a topic, or a goal of some kind, and can’t seem to believe in ourselves long enough to do a thing significant enough for us to feel like we did a thing of significance.

Tangle: A simple Snake clone

After about a year of not feeling like doing anything related to game development, last night I felt like making something. 

So I stayed up all night and made a simple Snake clone that I call Tangle. 

There’s nothing special about this project, it’s just a bare bones, no frills clone of the classic snake game, but I think for a few hours work it’s decently well done, and it plays well. 

I think it took about 2-4 hours to build, and would have taken about a quarter that if it wasn’t for the fact that I haven’t done anything with GameMaker in a long time, and have never felt comfortable using GMS2’s revamped IDE.  It’s minimalist, so don’t expect a whole lot, is what I’m trying to say.  But enjoy it for what it is.


play in browser

Thoughts on the problem of racism in the year 2020

I keep seeing posts from friends with sentiments to the effect of “If you’re a racist, you have no place in my life, so unfriend me” as a response to Trump’s loud and clear message to the Proud Boys in last night’s Presidential debate with Joe Biden.

A couple of things:

* I don’t think that goes far enough. We do not fix racism by distancing ourselves from racists. That only allows them to fester and multiply.

* I am avowedly anti-racist, and probably the most work I do in combating racism is finding it within myself and then removing it wherever and wherever I can.

This is a lifelong process that I could not have done at all on my own.

I recognize I was born in a culture where racism was commonplace, and takes on many forms, some overt and obvious, others insidious yet pervasive. The shit seems normal, because it IS normal. Normal and wrong, but very much normal. Racism is the norm, and we need to change the norm.

One of the earliest things I learned though was that prejudice, stereotyping, and hating people for things that they have no control over, such as the way the look, or where they come from, is wrong, and has caused tremendous suffering throughout our history.

When I speak of racism as being “the norm” I do not mean that most people are actively and affirmatively racist in thought and deed, and admire and agree with or belong to extremist terror organizations like the KKK, Aryan Brotherhood, Proud Boys, etc.

That shit is definitely NOT normal, but it is on the rise, and must be actively fought against.

What IS normal is that families are genetically related. Families support each other and favor each other. This extends naturally to racial identity and so forth. You root for your home team because they’re your home team, and you hate the team from the nearby town, because when they win your games, you don’t get trophies.

Racism begins from that point, and extends into pretty much everything you can think about. And that sort of cultural racism is like the air we breathe. It surrounds us and we don’t even think of ourselves as being immersed in it. We see an empty box as an empty box, not a box that is full of air. And like the air, it is necessary to an extent. We need it to breathe. We need oxygen to burn. We can put fire to good use. We can also burn ourselves and destroy everything we’ve built. We need shelter when the wind is too strong.

That is the way the world is. You can’t hate fire. It’s just chemistry. You can hate what fire does when it is out of control and destructive. You can also find that fire is very useful.

Love and hate are like sides of a coin. Love of self, hate of other. Extend the self to embrace love of all. Or hate everything around you and be consumed in the fire of hate.

Most of us have a fairly short love horizon. The self. Your family. Your child. Your friends. Maybe neighbors, if you have a strong community and good neighbors. The people in your home town. The kids you went to school with. The people who settled a geographic region and have existed there for generations. Not everyone in the world though, not Them. They look different, They turned to Other. They talk funny. They act strange. We cannot share with such people. They are not people. They need to be exterminated.

You can see from the above that the love horizon reaches out to a distance, and between the point of origin rooted at the self and that horizon there is a gradient. For those who’s love is greatest, it pushes all the way past the horizon to include all. For most of us, we fall somewhere short of this. For too many of us, we fall well short.

When we lose the ability to see our neighbor as an Us, and see them as an Other, that is the beginning of our undoing. If we try to turn Racist People into another Other that we can hate, that will be our undoing as well.

We need to recognize that Racists are Us, and that We are Racist. We need to address that fact, head on, and deal with it. We need to fix ourselves. Those of us who have committed to fixing ourselves are obviously not the clear and present danger of a militant radical motivated by racial hate to do violence. Those motherfuckers are indeed where the focus needs to be right now. I don’t know myself how to see Them as Us, and I am so revolted by them that I truly have no desire to. I would rather fight them and kill or be killed. But I know that if we go down that way, many of Us will be killed.

We need to know that just as you can’t live in a world where it is impossible for anything to burn, you can’t live in a world where there is no possibility that the idea that you favor that which is closest and most familiar to you will lead to larger harm outside of a circle that you draw beyond the horizon of your vision. We need to stand taller than that, and see further, so we can draw a circle that includes everyone.

I deprogram myself of racist tendencies on a daily basis. Like a computer defragmenting its hard drive. The way I look at it, it’s like the laundry. The laundry is never done. You get dirty every day, you clean yourself every day. You focus on this, you make your mind right.

I did not make my mind right in a vacuum. I did not make my mind right by being inherently right and just. I did not make my mind right. I am making my mind right. An ongoing process without end. I was put in a particular place and time by fate of birth, and I moved around from there. I picked up things that were readily available around me and built myself. I followed my instinct, and I used my mind. I questioned and I listened. I made judgments and then I questioned those judgments. I worked. I made better judgments.

I am not perfect. My dad was not perfect. My uncles were not perfect at Thanksgiving and Christmas. The founders of the nation were not perfect. We can learn from them. We can follow their example or we can learn from their mistake. And we can do both.

I think of myself as better than a lot of people on this, but still I am not perfect. I will never be perfect. I will always be in the struggle. Even when there are no fires burning, you still need the Fire Department. Those who recognize this see the world as it is.

When there is a fire that is destructive and out of control, you do not reason with it. You fight the fire. You can fight a literal fire in three ways: You take away the fuel. You take away the oxygen. You can take away the heat. We are the fuel. We are surrounded by oxygen. We must deal then with the heat.

My words reminded me of the great wildfires out west. These are the times we live in, now. We must deal with that. When the fire comes and is bigger than anything we can handle, we must run. Sometimes you can get far enough out ahead of it. You may need to do a controlled burn to prevent a wild fire from spreading. I like trees, but sometimes you have to cut down a swath to make a firebreak in order to protect the forest. You get the point. I don’t need to go on torturing an extended metaphor. You can see how it applies here.

I totally get the desire to remove them from your life. I did that with many people. But it doesn’t fix the problem. And as I see it, distancing from Others only serves to increase their Otherness, which is at the root of the problem.

So while it may be necessary in some cases, for mental health, or physical safety, for example, it’s not a solution. Jumping out of a burning building doesn’t put the fire out, but people in the burning building need to get out.

The solution is for people who have the capacity to engage, get close, and then smother the fire, get it under control, and find ways to tame and use fire, turning from a destructive force into a tool that can be used for good.

I know it sounds weird to call racism a tool for good, but that’s not what I mean. I mean turning the love of self from a generator of hate for others and into a love for the expanded self that includes all.

Zelda: BOTW Diary (92)

Three more shrines today.  I looked them up on the internet rather than discovered them in-game through my own effort.

The first is one in Tabantha.  I go there and there’s a mountain with a great stone door in the base, similar to the one in Hebra that I found weeks ago.  Like that one, I have to bowl a snowball into it in order to open the door.  But I have to carry a small snowball up a hill, then roll it down and have it hit the door.  I do this, but the ball just sort of nudges the door, and it doesn’t open.  So I hit it with time-stop, and put energy into it, and it knocks the door down.

I don’t really remember the inside of the shrine.  I think maybe it just says you already passed the challenge by finding it, and gives me a spirit orb.

The second shrine was in the Gerudo highlands, near the area where I had to rescue some Hylian travellers who got kidnapped by monsters in the canyon ahead of the Gerudo stable.  I explored one side of this canyon thoroughly, but the other side, I missed completely.  Here, there are three Gorons who are challenging themselves to endure heat.  I talk to them and they invite me to partake in the challenge.  I put on the flame resistant armor and pass the first challenge, but then they tell me to take it off and prove myself for the second one.  I take an elixir and endure the heat with no problem, and a shrine appears.

Inside the shrine, I have to use motion controls to re-orient a cube to electrify all 6 faces of it, to open a door.  Then I get into another room, where there’s a more difficult puzzle, involving motion controls and a cube that has wind blowers on it that I need to aim to hit four turbines.  Two turbines are on a lower level, but can be raised by activating a switch.  There’s a metal box that I can put on one switch, but the other is harder to figure out.  I eventually use inventory items to weight down the switch, and it triggers, and then I can blow all four turbines.  This opens a third room.

Inside this room, there’s another cube, with six unlit torches on it, and two water fountains.  I have to light the torches using a fire in the ceiling, and get all six sides lit without putting them out with the water.  It’s tricky, and after failing once I decide to just cheat it and use fire arrows to hit the torches without moving the cube with the motion controls.  This makes it easy, and I get a diamond and a spirit orb.

Outside the shrine, I spot another korok seed block puzzle that I hadn’t gotten before.  I have enough seeds to buy another shield inventory slot from Hestu, so I go do that.

The third shrine is found by a shrine quest triggered at Tabantha Bridge Stables.  I transport there, and there’s a man named Geggle, who I’m supposed to talk to during the day.  It’s night, and he’s inside the stables, but talking to him doesn’t trigger the shrine quest.  I go sit by a fire until noon, but then he’s nowhere to be found.  So I talk to random people at the stable, and I find another korok race puzzle under Tabantha bridge. I can’t find Geggle anywhere, so I go back to the fire and sit by it until morning.  At 5am I get up and go back to the stable inn, and Geggle’s sitting where he sits at night, and doesn’t do anything.  I have to wait for four hours before he finally gets up and does something, which is to run out from the stable.  I follow him, and try talking to him several times, but he just asks me if I need something.  I continue to follow him to where he’s running to, and he stops and looks out across the valley. At the far end of it, he is looking at something.  I talk to him, and he says he sees something out there, that looks man made, and asks if I can see it too.  I use the sheikah scope to get a better view, and see a large design painted on the side of the cliff.

I mark it, and then look on the map to see how far it is, and it’s rather far.

I make the journey, climbing and gliding as much as I can, and get to the end of my trek.  There’s s series of scaffolds and catwalks built into the cliff face, with monsters patrolling.  They’re not tough, I take care of them easily, and continue toward the point I marked on the map, until I get to where I’m going.  This involves riding up two updrafts with the glider, and then I’m there, looking at the giant design painted on the wall.  It looks like in the center there’s a shrine pedestal.  The painted design looks like lightning and birds, so taking a guess I shoot at the pedestal with a lightning arrow.  I barely miss with the first one, as it falls slightly short, but correct my aim and connect with it on the second shot, which reveals the shrine.

This one is another no-puzzle blessing shrine, and I get a diamond and a spirit orb.

I have enough orbs to upgrade my stamina wheel, so I go to Kakariko village and do that.

So that’s 6 shrines in 2 days, and I think there’s now only 2 more left in all of Hyrule for me to find.

Zelda: BOTW Diary (91)

I haven’t played in a few weeks.

Just wrapping up the remaining loose ends on the BOTW ToDo list.

The last active sidequest I have running is to show the boy in Hateno village an Ancient Short Sword.  I transport to Akkala Tech Lab and have them make one for me, and then transport to Hateno and show him.  The kid gives me a diamond.  This kid’s flippin rich.

While in Hateno, I visit with Bolson for a minute, and he tells me I should try to popularlize a dance that he shows me how to do.  I never had him tell me this before. Is it the start of a new sidequest?  How do I do these dance moves?  He also has an amulet around his neck, and the dialog tree gives me the option to ask about it, and he talks more about Hudson’s wedding.  I guess he used the amulet to create a stream of falling confetti or something.  I do not understand why in fantasy literature amulets always have powers.  Real amulets don’t do anything. They just hang from your neck, and do nothing.  What gives authors such ideas?

I notice that all the Akkala Tech Lab weapons costs the same, 1000Rs, + some ancient tech parts.  Specifically, it’s the exact same recipe to make a short sword, which does like 30 damage, or a bladesaw, which does 55 damage.  Why would you ever buy a short sword then, other than to show it to the kid in Hateno and get a diamond?  I haven’t bought a bladesaw yet, but I guess it probably must be a two-hander.  I think about picking up an Ancient Bow.  I have enough coin for it, but not enough weapon slots.  Maybe later, then.

I’ve completed 71/77 sidequests according to the pause screen, but I don’t know what the remaining 6 are, or where I’d need to go to find them.  I wonder if there’s a list of BOTW sidequests online that I can look up and see what I have yet to discover.

The controller feels rusty in my hands. I forget that you can’t transport to stables, and momentarily wonder why I can’t.  I figure it out eventually.

I have found 112 of 120 shrines in Hyrule, so there’s still 8 more out there somewhere for me to discover.  

I don’t have time to aimlessly wander around the world hoping to stumble into them, so at this point I am OK with cheating a little bit and looking them up.

The first one I couldn’t find on my own is right off the road after Fort Hateno.  There’s a shrine quest involving the man who lives in the little cabin just inside the ruined wall.  I’ve been to this house a few times, but never at night.  I arrive there during the daytime and read the book that’s sitting out on the desk, and it gives me a clue about some statues that glow at night.  I don’t remember reading this before, but it’s possible I just never noticed the book, or that I read the book but couldn’t figure out what it means, and forgot about it long before I learned enough about the game to figure it out. I notice there’s a bed in the cabin, and when I stand near it, it gives me the option to sleep for free.  I never knew that before!  How did I not know that?

The clue in the book speaks of a statue that has eyes that glow at night, so I use the bed to sleep until night. When I wake up, the inhabitant of the cabin is there!  He is a doctor who is studying the mystery of the glowing statue.  We talk for a bit.  It reminds me a bit of the other shrine quest on the top of the snowy hill near the Gerudo desert, where I discovered the ruins of an old cabin and a diary there that gave a clue about the shrine there.  I feel like in so many of the shrine quests in this game, you meet someone who has been looking for the shrine their entire life, and then you go and discover the solution to the puzzle in usually a short time, like five minutes.  Sometimes I’ve taken longer to figure them out, but that was really only the first couple; once I learned what shrine quests were about, most of the rest of them were simple to figure out.

In this case, though, I do not know where the statues that glow are.  I have to look this up, too.  It turns out, a little ways down the road toward Hateno village, there’s a canyon off to the left, where there are numerous statues. One of them glows at night, and if you shoot it with an arrow, it reveals the shrine. I mostly don’t travel the roads — when I walk on foot, I’m usuually foraging and exploring off-road, and often climbing and gliding, and if I’m not exploring, I usually transport with the teleportation power to save time.  So I have probably only used this road maybe a couple of times, and apparently went right past this canyon and never noticed it was there before.

Although, when I walk into the canyon, I do find a Korok buddy who I had already discovered, so apparently I have been in this place before, at least one time.  I don’t remember it, really.  But there are a bunch of little statues, and one of them sure enough has glowing purple eyes.  I shoot an arrow at it, and the shrine appears.  This one has a complex mechanical platform puzzle, involving a rotating drum with a couple of spikey metal balls, and platforms that line up, and treasure chests that are difficult to reach.  I do not bother with the chests, since I am not in need of any more equipment, and proceed directly to the shrine master’s chamber, to collect my spirit orb.  The trick to getting up to him is to time-stop the rotation of the room briefly, to enable you to cross over the center of the room when the platforms are properly aligned.

I look up another two shrines that I haven’t discovered, and both are in the northwest area of the map, near Rito village and Hebra.  One is well hidden in a overhanging rock cave with a swift river of icy water that damages you quickly if you try to swim in it.  I just tank the damage and get across, and enter.  The shrine offers no challenge, and rewards me just for finding it.

Exiting the shrine, there are two logs laying about on the little island with the shrine entrance.  I push one of them into the water and climb onto it, and ride it out of the cave.  The rushing water runs out of the cave and comes to a waterfall.  When the log goes over the falls, I glide to a landing on a little island in the river at the base of the falls, where at the top of a tree I find a korok seed.  I find another korok seed at the top of another tree nearby somewhere, too.

Nearby, there’s another shrine, at the bottom of the Tanagar canyon.  I drop down and find it, and go in.  This one has puzzles that involve using the time-stop power to move heavy objects to activate switches.  I get a Great Thunderblade from one chest, ignore another chest, and get the spirit orb.


Zelda: BOTW Diary (90)

It’s been nearly two weeks since my last play session.  Having beaten the game, the missions nearly 100% completed, there seems to be less draw for me to return to play more.

I had not found the Hylian Shield, and wanted to do that. My last save point is right at the doorstep to Ganon’s sanctum, in the center of Hyrule Castle. I know the Shield is supposed to be somewhere on the castle grounds, and I’ve been through most of it and not turned it up yet. Also, there’s supposed to be a shrine in the castle complex somewhere, and I’ve yet to find that either.

I glide down from Ganon’s doorstep to the northeast quadrant of the castle, as I have a general idea that the shrine is in that general area.  I start exploring, and enter the castle at the dungeon.  I’ve been through here before a time or two, but this time I’m not in a hurry, and I explore thoroughly, and clean it out completely rather than avoid unnecessary combat.

At the far end of the cell block, I find a large, round chamber, and as I draw near to the entrance, I see a huge pile of bones in the middle of the floor, and recognize it immediately as a dormant Stalnox.  As I enter the chamber it springs to unlife, and we fight. 

I am hoping it will be an extra special boss-level Stalnox, but it seems that it is just a garden variety specimen and it’s not any more difficult to fight than the others I’ve faced much earlier in the game.  After vanquishing it, a treasure chest appears and I open it to find the Hylian Shield.

That’s one thing off my checklist.

I proceed to explore as much of the Hyrule Castle complex as I can, following every corridor to its end, and I definitely covered a lot more of it than I had on previous expeditions, but I don’t know that I found everything there is to find.  I did manage to find three more koroks.  Two hiding under rocks, and one at a pinwheel archery challenge — I couldn’t manage to hit the balloon for this one, as it was a great distance away, and I didn’t have the range with my bows, but I tried shooting a sword beam at it, and nailed it on the first attempt with that, after wasting several arrows.

I eventually fought my way down to the lower levels of the castle, and re-entered it at the banquet hall.  I cleared it out again, and followed the hallway down to the library, and cleared it out again.  This time, using magnesis, I note that some of the bookshelves on the lower level are movable.  I had never noticed this before.  I discover the King’s Study, and a hidden room where I find a number of nice arms and shields, and some rupees.  And the third bookshelf leads down a staircase to an underground cavern, filled with water, where there are some lit torches and a large, unlit torch.  

Using my great flame blade, I light the torch, which triggers the emergence of a shrine.  I enter it, and find a combat trial.  It’s a Major Test of Strength, and again I’m hoping for something really extra special.  But this shrine guardian seems almost docile, hardly aggressive at all, and I have an easy time fighting it.  I use electric arrows and the Master Sword, and together they seem to be rather effective.  It doesn’t seem to get off its spinning charge attacks, and when I get its health down it doesn’t start shooting its super laser at me, either.  

The guardian drops an Ancient Axe++ and a Spear++ and a Sword++, but all I have space for in my inventory is the axe and sword.  At the end of the shrine, I’m awarded a flame sword, but I don’t need it.

After emerging from the shrine, I continue exploring the cavern and find some docks down by the water, patrolled by some red lizalfos.  I find a lot of loot in the crates on the docks.  I explore the cavern a bit and find that the cave opens out to the outside, and then I realize that I’m just about back where I started, at the entrance to where the dungeon cell block is.

I make my way off the Hyrule Castle compound, and once back on the overworld map, transport to Kakariko village to visit the goddess statue so I can exchange four spirit orbs for my final Heart Container upgrade. Thus my life meter is maxed out.

Checking my progress, I now have 112 shrines completed, meaning that there must be 8 more shrines yet to be discovered somewhere in the world.  I have no idea where to look.  I’ve been everywhere, or so it would seem.

Zelda: BOTW Diary (89)

To max out my sheikah slate photos, I cash in a bunch of gems at Hateno’s shop, and then go to the Ancient Tech Lab and drop about 18k and buy everything left to buy.

As a “reward” for buying all the photos, Purah’s assistant, Symin, gives me a special photo in an envelope.  The game doesn’t let me actually see a photo, but it is supposed to be a beautiful young woman.  It’s implied that the image is of a “young” Purah, who reversed her age as part of her research.  

I want to see if I can find the Hylian Shield, and I have heard nothing about this shield in all my adventures in the game so far; the only reason I know about it at all is that I’ve read about it in articles about the game. I have no idea where it might be found, but I suspect it is in Hyrule Castle somewhere.

I return to the castle, and explore. This time, I take another route through the castle grounds, and I find more treasure chests, containing bomb arrows, ice arrows, swords, bows, rupees, but no Hylian Shields.  

I continue to continue exploring, and eventually find my way to the inner sanctum. I’m here, I might as well do a Ganon battle.

This time, the fight takes less time, because I know what I’m doing this time, and defeat his first form in a fraction of the time that it took the first time. 

Dark Beast Ganon takes even less time.  

The final battle is so easy.

This time after the credits roll, there’s a bonus cutscene where Zelda and Link are preparing to travel by horse to Zora’s domain to check out Vah Ruto, which has stopped functioning. I guess the implication is that the adventure continues. 

I’ve enjoyed playing the game, but it is finally running out of things for me to do.  I have a few sidequests and shrines left to find and do, if I want to. It might be better to spend time on the DLC packs.

I’m planning on writing up some wrap-up thoughts — I don’t know whether they’ll be final thoughts, as a capstone to this series, but I’ll save that for another time.

Zelda: BOTW Diary (88)

I spend a bit of time staring at the painting in Impa’s house of the image of Link’s last remaining un-recovered memory, and conclude that I must have been close when I looked for it before.  

Before heading out to find it again, I walk down the wrong road, and end up at the end of Kakariko village where the garden of stones is, and I see the little girl, Koko, who likes to cook and is too hard on herself, standing there, which is unusual.  As I draw nearer, I see that she is crying.  I talk to her, and learn that her mother has died. This fills me with a deep sadness, for I have had a soft spot in my heart for little Koko.  She cries a little, and I feel overwhelmed. There is nothing at all that I can do.  

This isn’t a side quest, it’s just a tear jerker moment that you can’t do anything about. So much death and loss for this world.  Of all the characters in this world to do this to, why Koko?

I spend longer there than I need to, before moving on.  Before leaving, I take one of each of the different types of flowers that you can pick, and drop them there.  It does nothing, but feels appropriate.

I turn back to head down the road out of Kakariko, and pass by the clothing shop, and decide to stop in one last time.  I never bought the Hylian tunic, since around the time I  first came here, I received the Champion’s tunic.  But it’s only 120 Rupees, and I have the trousers and the hood, so I might as well complete the set.  I’ll see about upgrading it later.

Winding my way down the road from Kakariko village, I hop in the air and glide, following the path, but moving a bit faster than running, to make time.  I land at the bottom of the trail near the north end of Kakariko Bridge. There’s a traveler by the side of the road, and when I talk to him, he reveals himself to be a Yiga Clan ninja, and attacks me.  I cut him down quickly with the Master Sword, and then cross the bridge.

It occurs to me that I really haven’t been here but perhaps a handful of times — once I gained the ability to transport, there was little practical reason for traveling along the road. I decide to take a little bit of time and look around the vicinity to see whether there might be anything of note hidden nearby.  Looking down into the water toward the west side of the bridge, I see a ring of rocks that signifies a korok seed spot.  I need to toss a boulder into the ring, but this is one of the most difficult things for me to do, as the aiming is difficult.  I carry a boulder down to the bank of the river and use the Cryonis power to create an ice bridge to carry me to the ring, one block at a time, and then just jump into the ring carrying the stone.  It works, and I get my korok.

When I extract myself from the water, I notice a little campfire beneath the bridge, on a sandbar, and swim over to investigate it.  There’s a couple of steel boxes and some roasted fish and I find some arrows and an old, weak shield, but little else worthy of mention.  It’s late afternoon by this point, so I decide to sit by the fire and wait for morning.

At dawn, I resume walking out along the road, taking the fork that leads to Hateno village, and am quickly beset upon by some little chuchus, and I blast them with a bomb, and move on. My eyes are locked on the skyline, trying to spot the familiar contour of the mountains from the last memory photo. I feel like I must be very close, as there are some features which do look like they match with the photo.  I move off the road, watching the horizon and watch as the shifting parallax creates the image from the memory, more and more faithfully, until I’m sure I’m in the right area.  I look around and keep moving about, and then finally I spot the shimmering energy field that signifies the spot. 

I recall the memory.  Link and Zelda are in the field 100 years ago, there has been a great battle, and the Guardians are marching towards them.  Link is badly injured and exhausted, besotted with dirt, and looks like he is near his limit. Zelda implores him to leave her and save himself, but he doesn’t leave her side. Then, a Guardian approaches, looming over them, and is about to blast them, and Link is too weak to defend them, when Zelda steps in front of him and something happens.  Her power finally awakens within her, and she emits some kind of energy field that does something to the Guardians that renders them inert.  Link collapses. A moment later, two Sheikah soldiers run up, a bit late, to rush to the Princess’s aid.  She commands them to take Link to the Shrine of Resurrection at once.

So this is the spot where the Hero of Hyrule fell.

I now have all of the memories, and so the main quest to recapture the lost memories of Link is finally completed.   After returning to the present moment, Link hear’s Zelda’s voice telling him that now is the time to face Ganon, and to head to Hyrule Castle for the final battle.

I just need to do a few more things before I’m ready to do that again.

First, I want to farm that last bit of Star Fragment that I need in order to upgrade my Ancient Helm to full power.  I also want to find the Hylian Shield, which I believe is somewhere on the castle grounds that I haven’t yet found.  

I decide to look for falling stars by standing on the top of the Dueling Peaks, and wait for night, and watch the sky for as long as it takes.  From this point, I’m pretty close to the center of the map, and can see a long way in any direction, which should make it likely that I’ll see any falling stars that happen to come at night.  Only, I do not know how long I might have to wait for this.  I hope it will not be very many nights, but it might take quite a while. I just don’t know.

I’m also running way low on normal arrows, so I go to all the places I can think of to buy arrows, and buy every arrow they have:  Gerudo Town, Kakariko Village, Hateno Village, Korok Village, Tarrey Town, Beedle’s stable shops.  I end up with 160 by the time I’m done scouring Hyrule for all the arrows I can muster.  

While at the Dueling Peaks stables, I find a couple of guys who look like they want to talk to me, and discover a new sidequest that I hadn’t known about previously.  These guys are looking for the treasure rumored to have been hidden by a master thief.  They give me a clue for 100 Rupees, and it’s easy enough to interpret.  There’s a pair of bridges nearby, which the riddle references, and then says to find a cave at the source of the river.  I hike out that way and find it, and it’s a decent hike, but the treasure is pretty good, although this would have been a lot better to find in the early game.  I bomb open a cave at the top of a waterfall, and find about 5 or 6 treasure chests, containing a sapphire and some weapons. There’s a hidden bonus chest behind a bombable wall, which I get as well.

While at Hateno village, I go into the clothing shop by mistake, and see an armor set that I’d never purchased before, the soldier’s armor.  I vaguely recall when I first came through Hateno that I had visited here, and was pretty low on Rupees then, and the suit just seemed way too expensive for me to think about buying right then, and so I eventually forgot about it.  I think also that when you’re looking for better equipment, there’s not really an advantage to buying the suits, because anything you buy starts out low power, and doesn’t give you an immediate boost.  So unless the outfit has a special bonus, like the climbing gear or the rubber suit or the fireproof suit, or the Gerudo Vai clothes, until much later in the game when you realize that you can upgrade clothing at Fairy Ponds, you look at these things and think they are way overpriced and don’t really do anything for you, and it seems like a waste of resources to buy them.

Now, however, I have a surplus of rupees, so I buy the Soldier’s Armor suit, and then go back to the Kakariko fairy and get it upgraded.  To fully max it out, I need more Hinox guts and Lynel guts, so I go kill a Hinox, the one near Zora’s domain, and it doesn’t drop any guts, so then I go to the one in Giant’s Woods, in central Hyrule, and get guts from that one.

I also stop at Hateno Ancient Tech Lab, and drop the rest of my cash on Sheikah Slate photos.  I still need close to 18,000 Rs in order to get every last photo for the album, and you can bet your bippy if I spend it all I’m going to spend a good 6 hours looking through the whole damn thing so I can say I got my money’s worth. 

Then I go to raid the Lynel near Eldin’s Leviathan, and I have a decent fight with it, it drops a Savage Lynel Sword and Bow in addition to Lynel Guts, a gem, and 10 shock arrows.  Pretty good loot drop.  I still need more Lynel Guts, so I transport out to the plains that separate Gerudo from Faran, and fight the two Lynels there.  I drop in from above on my glider, and get a slow-motion mid-air headshot on the first one to start off the fight with a stun and mount, then as I dismount I nail it with 3 perfect headshots before I run out of stamina and fall to the ground.  It comes back and hits me a couple of times, and I have to heal myself, but I have a pretty good fight with it, and this one drops a Savage Lynel Crusher with a high attack bonus, this one has an Attack rating of 104, which is sick.

The other Lynel has a Savage Lynel Spear, which also has a pretty good attack bonus, and is the best spear I’ve ever seen in this game, with an attack rating of 41 or 42.  Against this Lynel, I manage to get my first perfect dodge and flurry rush since the training shrine where they teach you those moves.  I jump left just as it’s coming at me with its spear, trigger bullet time, and rush in to do a flurry of extra strikes with the sword.  It recovers and does a flame burst attack, which generates updrafts, which I take advantage of to ride up and get another slow motion headshot with the bow, stunning it again, land, mount it, and hit it a bunch, then fire more arrow headshots as I’m dismounting again, and this takes it down pretty quickly.  With the multi-shot Lynel bows, those dismount headshots hits are super effective at running their hitpoints down.

Having acquired all the monster parts that I need, the only thing left for me is to get the final star fragment so I can finish upgrading my Ancient Helmet.

Because this is such a rare item, and I don’t have a lot of other things to do while I watch the sky for falling stars as a background task while I attend to other business, I decide it’s time to go to the internet and read up on star farming.  I learn from this that shooting stars occur on Full Moons, and there’s a guy at Dueling Peaks Stables who I remember way back when who first told me about the moon cycle and the Blood Moon.  So I go there, and talk to him, and pass days sitting at the fire until it’s the day of a Full Moon.  Then I transport to the shrine atop Dueling Peaks, and wait until night and watch the sky to the East, until finally, just past 2am, game time, a shooting star appears at the right of my peripheral vision. 

I watch it fall, and mark the site with the Sheikah Scope, then glide down as close to the crash site as I can get, and run the rest of the way, and retrieve the fragment.

I return to the fairy fountain one last time and upgrade the Soldier Armor and Ancient Helmet, maxing out both sets.

Looking at the Adventure Log, I notice that it says that I’ve completed 71 of 77 side quests, and 38/42 shrine quests. I’ve found 330 of 900 korok seeds, and 111 of 120 shrines.

So there are 4 more shrine quests, and 9 more shrines.  I wonder how I could have missed the shrine quests, and where I might find them.  And for that matter where the other 5 shrines that are not associated with shrine quests might be found.

I’m so close to 100% completion for the game now, not including korok seeds, I consider whether I should continue looking for the remaining 9 shrines.  One more will give me a fourth Spirit Orb, which will max out my life meter, and then that leaves 2 final upgrades for the stamina meter.  These final upgrades will only give me a marginal power boost over where I’m at already, so I’m pretty much at full power right now.

Zelda: BOTW Diary (87)

Although I’ve defeated Ganon, saved Hyrule, won the game, there’s still a number of things I’ve left undone. Like in those dreams where I’m back at elementary school as an adult because of some homework assignment I never turned in, I restore from my last save point, the auto-save generated right at the steps of the door to the inner chamber of Hyrule Castle where I had my final boss fight with Calamity Ganon.

I turn around and run back down the trail, and when it turns to the left I leap off into the open air and glide straight down to the outer gate of the castle.

I’ve used up all but 7 of my normal arrows, and broken more than a few hard to replace, high-end weapons. If I’d kept to my original plan, I wouldn’t have advanced past this point to begin with, and now I’m reversing course. If I could, I’d just restore all the way back to the point that I found the recipe inside of Hyrule Castle, or maybe to the point where I had reached the outer main gate, and discard all of that progress.

I return to Riverside Stable, where I find the man who is searching for a recipe for a meal made for the Hylian royal family, and tell it to him.  I also make him a fruit cake using the recipe, and give it to him.  He gives me 100 rupees in return.

Next, I transport to Tarrey Town, and visit the sick little girl, Hunnie, and her family.  I’ve prepared a second cake, for her, since I know she has said that she likes cake.  But she won’t take it, and the conversation dialog hasn’t changed. I’m not sure what the deal is. I haven’t actually officially triggered the side quest, either, as it’s not in my Adventure Log.  I know that I need to do something, and it feels like I’ve already started, but I can’t understand why it hasn’t created a sidequest for me in the Log.

Puzzled, I google the answer, and find out that in order to trigger the sidequest, I was supposed to wait until night, and then when the father is home and is talking to his wife, and she asks me to leave because they are having a personal conversation, I’m supposed to go around to the back of the house and eavesdrop from the open window near where they are speaking.

I don’t know how I would have ever figured that out on my own, so I guess cheating and looking up the answer is the only solution for me on this one.  It’s not the first time Link has eavesdropped on the conversation of regular folk who don’t want him around, and I can’t understand why doing that is considered heroic.  Like, spying on enemies, I can understand.  But not respecting the wishes of townsfolk who wish to be left alone and conduct their private affairs, even when I’m the key to helping them, I dunno, it just seems wrong. 

There are a few actions that Link takes in the game that I have moral qualms with, and this is pretty minor compared to sneak-striking sleeping enemies to kill them in cold blood, and generally fighting the monster races for no other reason than the fact that they are defined by the rules of the game as enemies, even when they are just minding their own business and not hurting anyone. But it’s also a much more likely thing for a person to do in real life. I hope that no one playing the game decides that this is the right thing to do, but I guess everyone gets to think and decide for themselves, in the end.

It turns out that Hunnie doesn’t want just any old cake, she wants a recipe called Monster Cake.  I don’t know how to make Monster Cake, but there’s that old woman who is a retired royal baker who lives in Tarrey Town, and now when I talk to her, she has heard of Monster Cake and knows how to make it.  She tells me:  monster elixir, goat butter, tabantha wheat, and cane sugar.

I have all of these ingredients, and make a Monster Cake, and go talk to Hunnie’s mom, offer her the cake, and then she gives it to Hunnie, who recovers and becomes healthy and active again.  In gratitude, Hunnie’s mom gives me 300 Rupees.  Not bad.

I have the Lynel parts that I need to power up my Barbarian leggings, so I transport to the Fairy Fountain and get that done.  In looking at my inventory, I see that I did pick up 2 ancient cores somewhere along the way as I ransacked Hyrule Castle, so now I’m just two short of maxing out the Ancient Armor suit.  And if I get some more beyond that, I can talk about building myself an Ancient Bow, which is one of the best bows you can obtain in the game, or buying an Ancient Short Sword, which I can show to the kid from Hateno village who wants to see one in person, and complete that side quest.

Looking at my recovered memories, there are two yet to be found.  One, I know, is from a sheikah slate photo taken at Hyrule Castle, somewhere, and I’m not sure exactly where to find it, but I have no doubt that I can find it somewhere on the outside perimeter wall. 

The second one, I don’t know what it could be, but it’s not a memory photo.  It might be that it’s triggered by finding the Hylian Shield, which I’ve read about, and is supposed to be Link’s personal shield, and the companion piece to the Master Sword.  It, too, is found somewhere in Hyrule Castle, but I haven’t found it yet.

There’s also a bunch of places in the central Hyrule region just south of Hyrule Castle that I really have not begun to adequately explore, and since I’ve already cleared out a bunch of the Guardians that lurk around that area, I might as well return back there soon, before the next blood moon happens, so I can find whatever I might find, be it memory, Hylian shield, or korok seed.

I figure that the memory photo was taken from a location along the outer wall around Hyrule Castle, but probably not inside the castle proper. It seems unreasonable that they would put a memory photo so close to the final boss. I transport back out to Central Tower, so I can take a long route and poke around the western side of central Hyrule and explore, and hopefully find some more korok seeds, or do battle with Guardians and obtain the last ancient core that I need to upgrade my helmet.

I do fight more Guardians and I do get enough ancient cores to upgrade my helmet.  I also find a few more korok seeds, and a bunch more hidden chests, which have some pretty good weapons and shields.  Since I have barely spent any time in this area, it rewards me on my second and third passes through, and I keep finding things that I had missed previously.  Eventually, I make it up to Mount Daphnes, and find a lake with a massive ancient tree stump in the center of it, which has a bridge leading to it, guarded by a couple of moblins and a bokoblin.  I kill the first moblin, then bomb the bokoblin off of the bridge, and take out the final moblin, and there’s a great flameblade there for me to take as a reward.

Proceeding to the north, I come to the Sage Temple Ruins area, and there are some Lizalfos armed with lightning arrows.  The ruins are flooded and the wet ground makes the lightning arrows more effective, as their shock discharges over a wider area, making it easier for them to hit me, and I have a hard time of it.  It’s raining at the time, as well, making it all the worse.  I get out of the water by climbing a tree, but the rain makes it too difficult to get up the tree high enough to allow me to glide down and attack from above.  So I give up on that idea and just rush them, absorb the damage, and take them out hand-to-hand.  There’s not much in the ruins, a couple of chests, but nothing spectacular.

I head up and east out of the ruins and pick my way through the Giant’s Forest, where I find a blue Hinox sleeping.  I don’t need to disturb it, so I leave it alone, finish exploring the woods, and press on.

I cut eastward over open meadow, and run all the way to Mabe Village Ruins and the nearby Ranch Ruins.  In this area, I keep encountering Yiga archers, who harass me nearly constantly, as well as the occasional bokoblin and chuchus, not to mention a Guardian or two.  But I’m all about fighting the Guardians, and I get a bunch more ancient technology parts, including the last core I needed to upgrade my helmet in one of these fights.

Next, I proceed further to the north, and explore the east side of the town directly south of the castle.  This area is festering with Ganon goo, and most of the builds are completely leveled, just piles of rubble with a bit of wall standing here and there, a collapsed tower or a couple of beams leaning against each other.  Everything looks like it’s been burned up pretty good, too.  The outer walls of the castle town fortification have multiple breaches where some massive blasts have completely obliterated whole sections of wall.  There are active Guardians about, and I no longer need to fight them, so I try to avoid their notice for the most part, but if one is in my way and preventing me from exploring, I’ll take it out.  I make my way up to the north end of the east side, and there’s some walls with towers here, which I think may be the area where I’ll find that memory photo, but I do not find it here.

I explore around, and then it starts to rain again, this time with lightning, which forces me to change my equipment for non-conductive stuff.

I spend some time studying the map, and studying the photo, trying to figure out where it might have been taken.  The photo looks to have been taken from atop a wall, and shows a battlement tower directly in front of the camera, with some part of the castle in the background, but it’s hard to tell for sure where it could have been taken.

Guessing, from the fact that the castle seems to be at the left of the wall, I’m thinking it’s more likely the photo was taken on the west side of the castle, somewhere.  So I continue to make my way through the ruins and rubble that was once Hyrule castle town, and get all the way back to Castle Town Prison.

From studying the map, I notice a spiral formation of rocks that I’m sure is a korok seed spot, and I’m heading in that general direction anyway, so I try to find the korok.  There’s also the korok puzzle with the three statues and the rusty shields nearby, as well, and I go back to see if the shields have respawned, but they haven’t.  

But while I’m here, I notice something that I had seen previously when I was here, but did not pay much attention to at the time:  there’s a wide moat or river between the island where Castle Town Prison is and the Castle proper.  And from a certain vantage point along the wall, I am able to see that near the water line there appears to be train tracks, like the tracks that the Goron mine carts rolled on.  I didn’t come across this area when I did my frontal assault on Hyrule Castle and defeated Ganon last night, so this must be some other section of the Castle that I didn’t even find on my first run.

I decide to check it out. Maybe I’ll find the Hylian shield, or some other good stuff.  I glide across the moat as far as I am able, and use the Zora armor to swim the rest of the way, and climb out, and get to the tracks, where I find a mine car. I get in and set it in motion with a bomb, and it takes me a short distance, and then reaches the end of the line.  I get out, and there’s a small entrance into the side of the rock wall that serves as the castle’s foundations, and I enter.  I proceed through a tunnel, and come to a hot spring, where I rest a while, the waters healing me.  I’d lost about 2/3 of my hearts by this point, so it was a good thing to find.

There’s also a korok seed puzzle here, where there are 3 statues with eggs in front of them.  There’s a nest where I find two more eggs.  When I get close enough to check the eggs in front of the statue out, I find they are hard boiled, not raw eggs.  So I have a bunch of bird eggs, I put them in the hot spring and they turn into hard boiled eggs, and I put them in front of the statues, and get a korok seed.

I continue on, and encounter a moblin or a lizalfos here and there, and these ones are tougher variety, and better armed than the ones I ran into at the library and in the banquet hall on my first run.  They’re white and striped and take a lot of hits to kill, even using the Master Sword.

Eventually, I reach a gate that I can’t open.  I try magnesis, and it’s not affected.  I can’t time-stop it.  And there’s no water beneath it, so I can’t use cryonis to raise an ice block to lift the gate.  On the other side, there’s a goo pile and an eyeball, and also a moblin and a lizalfos.  I am noticed and the moblin starts hurling rocks at me through the gate, and hits me.  I use an arrow to shoot the Ganon Goo eye, and it blows up and the gate opens.  The lizal rushes in and I start kicking its ass, but it has a lot of hit points, and the moblin gets in before I can finish it off, and gangs up on me.  Two on one, in tight quarters, it’s not easy to avoid taking damage, but as I’m freshly healed from the hot spring, I can take the damage, and I just duke it out toe to toe with my sword until they drop.  

I move forward and there’s a long hallway with a lot of prison cells, inside each cell is a moblin or a lizal.  The lizals use their tongue and spit attacks to hit me from range, and the moblins pick up rocks and throw them at me.  They are well armed, which provides me the incentive to open their cells and kill them, and I do kill a couple.  But my inventory is still pretty well maxed out for weapons, so I don’t bother killing all of them.  Some of the cells have chests in them, and I obtain a royal guard bow, which is a stupendous weapon that has an attack rating of 70, which is amazing, but low durability.

I continue on and eventually emerge from the dungeon cell block, and find myself back outside.  I’m not sure if I should continue this way, or go back into the castle and explore the dungeon area more fully and make sure I’ve covered it from end to end.  But I see a korok puzzle across the moat, and decide to glide across to collect it first.  After doing so, I come back over, and I find that there’s a path or road going up the hill, leading inward to the inner part of the castle complex.  I decide to follow this path, and see where it leads.

I’m on the west side of the castle, and as I follow the path, it’s ascending the hill.   I start to encounter Guardian turrets and there’s a few flying Guardians patrolling about, so I have to be careful.  I duck inside of the castle wall where I can, and occasionally there’s a tower where there will be a chest or some boxes where I can collect some weapons or fruits.  I guess the fruit stays magically fresh for 100 years, or else was brought there by the monsters who now inhabit the castle very recently.

After making a bit more progress, I see a tall tower, and am immediately all about climbing it to see what’s at the top.  I leap out to glide to it, and start climbing from mid-way up.  I reach a window, and enter, and find myself in Princess Zelda’s Study, a small office-like room where she has left behind a notebook, which I read.  It talks about Sheikah technology and fills in some backstory about the shrines, the sheikah slate, the guardians, and the divine beasts.  These were all ancient technologies that they were uncovering and re-discovering, trying to figure out how they work and how to use them.  They did not create the technology or understand it as the ancient Sheikah did. Interesting.

Exting the study, I am on the top of a wall, walking toward a tower, and I see it: the memory photo location!  I walk forward and recollect the memory.  

The cutscene depicts a scene at the castle where Princess Zelda is more interested in developments of the Hylian scientists studying the ancient Sheikah tech.  Zelda has lost faith in  her ability to unlock her birthright power to seal the dark power of Ganon, and is more interested in using the ancient tech to combat the even of the Calamity.  The king comes out and scolds Zelda, and commands her to focus on her study and prayer to unleash her own power, which is her duty and is critical to the defense of Hyrule.  Zelda is upset and it’s clear she has lost faith in her own ability and is looking for this as an alternative way to save Hyrule.  But the King is stern and demands that she waste no more time with the technology or the scientists, and forces her to focus on her study.

I proceed to enter the tower that was in front of me and in the memory photo.  The tower is blown apart, there’s a section of wall and ceiling missing, and a hole leading down into the next floor below, where I can see a powerful looking moblin sitting, waiting for someone to come by.  He is armed with a powerful looking two handed sword.  I don’t want to mess with him, but I want the sword.  So I hit him in the head with an ice arrow, freezing him, then jump down and hit him with the Master Sword, doing a ton of damage to him before he recovers enough to try to counter attack.  His attacks mostly miss, swinging over me, and I take him down without too much trouble. The word he has is an Edge of Duality, with an attack bonus, which makes it one of the more powerful swords I’ve encountered in the game, but only comparable to the Savage Lynel and Royal Claymores that I already have.  So, worth picking up, but not next-level.

I explore the area more fully, and find a second diary that Zelda kept, which talks more about her feelings about Link. It is revealed that she initially was hard on him, but came to regret her abuses toward him, and admired his stoic calm.  The diary entries seem to hint that she has stronger feelings for him as well, but doesn’t explicitly say it in so many words.

This part of the castle is cut off form the rest by collapsed ceilings and so the way I came is the only way in or out.  

I decide to depart the castle, still haven’t found the Hylian Shield, but not sure where I will find it.  But I have a feeling it will be somewhere in the castle.

Right now, though, I want to return to Kakariko village and see Impa, because the Adventure Log says I should do that after finding the 12th memory photo.

I climb to the top of the tower that hosuses Zelda’s study, and launch off of it to glide out from the castle, so that I’ll return to the normal overworld map and can transport to Kakariko village.

I go there and talk to Impa, and she tells me that there is one more photo for me, one more memory to find, and I’m now ready for it.  She shows me a painting on the wall of her house, and says that when I find that location, that will be where I’ll regain the last of my memories.

The area is not easy to figure out, but Impa says it’s about half a day’s travel from here, and I think it’s probably a good bet that I’ll find the memory spot on the road between Kakariko village and Fort Hateno.  The mountains, fields, and Guardians littering the ground in the photo look reminiscent of that area.

I head out from Kakariko and grab a horse, and take it up the road.  I get to the ruined wall of Fort Hateno, and look around, but the contours of the landscape do not look quite right, and I have a hard time orienting myself with the photo, and can’t tell if I’m in the right spot or not.

I decide to continue along the road all the way to Hateno, and then ride back, and try to see if the mountains line up for me like they do in the photo.

I get all the way to Hateno village, and I haven’t felt like I got any closer.  If anything it’s probably nearby the outside of the fort wall, but I just missed it.  

While in Hateno, there’s been this ongoing mystery of these two women who never want to talk to me, and rudely tell me to buzz off when I try to talk to them.  Recalling the eavesdropping that I had to do in Tarrey Town, I sneak behind them and find I’m able to listen in — they talk about the Hateno Tech lab, and a young girl that has been spotted around there by one of their children.  It’s clearly a reference to Purah, who has reversed her aging. No new sidequest or anything like that.

One of the Hateno children talks to me and asks me if I want to see something, so I say yes, and he says “follow me”, and leads me to the sinister statue that I found way early in the game, which allows me to reconfigure my heart containers and stamina meter, for a price.  I’ve never used it, having never regretted my power up choices.

I ride the horse all the way back down the road from Hateno to Dueling Peaks Stables, and board it.  Along the way, I found a few more korok seeds.  There were a couple of korok archery pinwheels, and I expend about 20 arrows claiming two seeds.  And I find an additional seed on the roof of Dueling Peaks Stables, which surprises me because I know I had been up on that roof before, and didn’t notice it earlier.

At any rate, I’ve gotten back over 10 seeds, which means I can take another trip out to Korok Village to see Hestu, and expand my shield inventory one more slot. I do so, and then I transport back to the shrine near Hyrule Castle Prison island, and now the shields have repawned at the offering statues, so I drop my rusty shield there and get another seed.  And then I remember the spiral formation of boulders nearby, which I’d gotten distracted and forgotten about earlier, so I go there, and get another seed.

I also transport back to Kakariko and upgrade my Ancient Helmet.  The Fairy takes me up to Level 3, which means that I’m not quite done upgrading this helmet just yet.  To get to Level 4, I have everything I need but a star fragment, so now I am back to looking for shooting stars at night to hopefully find one more.

Once I do that, I can probably buy an ancient short sword to show the kid at Hateno village, and then the only things left in the game for me to do that I care about will be finding the Hylian Shield and the final memory.

Then I can beat Ganon again and see if I get a better ending this time than Zelda asking Link if he really remembers her.