Navigating Hyrule by sound alone
July 12, 2019 12:08 AM   Subscribe

Video games from the 8-bit era hold a certain timeless appeal, and many gamers still enjoy the iconic pixelated graphics with their limited color-palettes. But what if you take the video out of the video game? Some classic (and modern) games without their video make an enjoyable challenge for a skilled player, leading to the "blindfold challenge" becoming increasingly popular with speedrunners. One such player recently became the first to beat the original Legend of Zelda's Second Quest while blindfolded.

LackAttack24 is a video game speedrunner who holds the current record for fastest completion of several games in the Legend of Zelda series. He knows the original Legend of Zelda game pretty well, and decided to attempt to complete the game blindfolded, using only auditory information and his knowledge of the game to collect the eight pieces of the Triforce of Wisdom, defeat Ganon, and free Zelda to restore peace to Hyrule. Streaming live on Twitch, he completed the challenge in about ten hours, joining the ranks of only a handful of other players to do so.

First quest, part 1 and part 2.

A few months later, LackAttack24 returned to increase the difficulty, setting his goal to beat the game blindfolded again, but this time playing the much harder Second Quest. Using only one minor exploit of the game's pseudo-random number generator to allow himself to earn rupees quickly from the Let's Play Money Making Game, he became the first player known to beat the Second Quest blindfolded, edging in at just under ten hours of play time.

Second quest, part 1, part 2, and part 3.

It's very compelling to watch an expert player who knows the game extremely well use only a minimal amount of information to navigate, engage in combat, and solve puzzles. The boomerang and the magic wand become invaluable tools for "echolocating" walls, and listening for the presence or absence of sword noises is a reliable signal for shifting screens. But these information-gathering tools are not unambiguous, and watching an expert reason through and update his theories about where he is in the game in real time is fascinating.
posted by biogeo (4 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
This is lovely. Thank you for sharing. It's amazing what driven gamers will do to play and enjoy the games they love.
posted by Fizz at 3:30 AM on July 12, 2019 [1 favorite]

I have been searching for *years* for videogames that are audio only. Not narrative games, but games that represent spaces based on audio.

It should be so easy to make! Yet, I've come up with nothing.
posted by rebent at 12:30 PM on July 12, 2019 [1 favorite]

rebent, I haven't tried them myself but you might find Audio Game Hub interesting. I also recently ran across, a community site for people interested in games primarily based on audio.
posted by biogeo at 6:22 PM on July 12, 2019

It would be a cool challenge to the romhacking community to make modified versions of classic games like Zelda which can be played and enjoyed entirely by sound, even for non-expert players.
posted by biogeo at 6:24 PM on July 12, 2019 [2 favorites]

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