My sister Rebecca fell into a coma in 1993. That's really all the background about her that you need to know right now. That, and she loved the Legend of Zelda series.
I'd always been a fan of video games. Mario, Castlevania, Contra, Shadowgate... Name a game on the NES and either I'd heard of it or played it. I was a walking information sponge of Nintendo. AS useless as that sounds, I was happy about it.
The NES was mine, but I was more than willing to share it with Rebecca. Back in August of '87 when The Legend of Zelda came out, my parents bought us a copy of the game. She fell in love with it immediately. We both played and beat the game in our off time... I was a couple years older than her, so I was only in middle school while she was still in elementary school. Finding time wasn't too difficult in the evenings. A little over a year later, The Adventures of Link came out. That one was harder, but we beat it.
You can bet I got the SNES as soon as it came out and in 1991 and we played A Link to the Past in '92. That was her favorite in the series so far. When she heard that a new Zelda was coming out for the Game Boy, she had to have it.
It was in her senior year of high school - my second year of college - that something happened. Nobody really knows exactly, but she just wouldn't wake up one day. She was taken to the hospital, and that's where she stayed. She was there when Link's Awakening came out and I never played it. It released, and the thought of playing it without her was too much to handle.
Comas are strange things. If you don't know how they work, well, it's not like in the movies, so to speak. You're not asleep, and then awake. Sometimes you seem to be awake, but you're still unconscious. You can move around, but still be unconscious. Your brain is inactive but your body isn't. Like I said, coma's are weird.
It was 1995 when Rebecca said something in her sleep. I was in the room with her, reading a book for one of my classes, when I heard her. "Zelda," she muttered.
I dropped my book out of surprise and stood up, ready to welcome her in open arms.. but nothing happened. I brought the doctor in and he explained all about comas. He took a couple tests and said no, she was still in a coma. There was brain activity, but she was still under. He left and I sat back down.
"Awake," she breathed.
"Zelda," I whispered back. "Awake?" There was only one thing her brain could have possibly meant by that. She wanted to play Link's Awakening. All this time in her coma and she still thought about Zelda. I smiled despite the situation. Here I was, unable to play the game because of what was happening to her... and she still wanted to, despite what was happening to her. Unfortunately, I didn't have a Game Boy and those were pricey. Besides, how would she be able to see it if I was playing it on that small screen?
Then I remembered hearing about something called The Super Game Boy. It had released a little while back, in '94, and it could play Game Boy games on the SNES.
I spoke to the doctors and they agreed to let me bring my SNES in. I hooked it up to the television in her room and began playing.
This one didn't take place in Hyrule. This was a game about Link shipwrecking on an island. So how did it fit in with Zelda? No matter. I played the game.
In the beginning, Link is picked up off the beach and taken to a house with a girl named Marin. She's excited to know Link is from off-island, as she would love to explore the rest of the world. She tells him that if she were a seagull, she would do just that: explore the world. The two bonded, and even thought it was just a simple character on character conversation, it tugged at my heart. Here was Rebecca, right next to me. There was nothing I could do for her but play this game.
As I got farther into the game I found out that everything about the game was a dream created by something called The Wind Fish, and I was attempting to end this dream - Link's dream. The entire point of this game was to wake Link up. What a coincidence... A game about waking someone up. I would have been dumbstruck if I'd had to wake Zelda, but then again, that's what you had to do in Zelda 2.
As I explored the final dungeon - this was days later, as I did have class to attend, and my parents liked having some time with her too - I heard Rebecca speak again. "Wake up," she muttered.
"That's right, Rebecca," I told her. "The point of this game is to wake up."
As I fought the final boss, Rebecca's heart rate began to rise. I had never seen it do this before. Each time I got hurt by the boss, she seemed to flinch. Finally, I defeated the boss and The Wind Fish woke Link up. Link awoke, floating on a wooden platform in the middle of the ocean. So the shipwreck had been real... but not his dream. I sighed as I watched the ending scene play out on the television and turned to take a look at Rebecca.
I blanched. There she was, wide eyed, looking at me. "Am I awake?" she asked.
I stood so fast that I knocked my chair over. I rushed to the bed. "Rebecca?" I asked.
"Yeah," she said. "Yeah."
I wrapped my arms around her and she embraced me.
"I had the strangest dream," she said as she held me. "I was a seagull and I was exploring the world."
I turned to look at the television. The credits had just ended. As the Wind Fish flew into the distance, Marin was close behind, ready to explore the world.
"That's not a bad animal to be," I told her.