It was almost 13 years to the day that the Nintendo Wii and The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess released. I was 20 years old, attending the University of Florida. That Friday, the 17, I loaded my backpack up with a 12 pack of soda and went straight to WalMart to wait in line for Nintendo’s most-anticipated console ever. Not to mention, I’m a huge Zelda fan. I had been waiting for Twilight Princess ever since it was revealed at E3 2004. On November 17, without a tent, I slept in sub-20 degree weather to ensure I was one of 10 people to get a Nintendo Wii, along with Twilight Princess. It was a magical experience and the bonds I made with my fellow gamers are memories I will forever cherish. We had TVs. We had video games. It was a blast. It seemed like an eternity, but then midnight struck on November 19. The Nintendo Wii was available, along with the most-anticipated game of the year. It was majestic. A magical moment The next thing I knew I was in my apartment, WiiMote in hand, playing Zelda. While the game was originally developed for the GameCube, the controls were so immersive. It was right before Thanksgiving break, so I had plenty of time to play (my midterms were easy.) The experience was nothing short of astounding. It was the first Zelda game since Ocarina of Time to take place in Hyrule proper, include horseback, and even had sword fighting on horseback! Hyrule Field was enormous and there were so many nooks and crannies to discover. The motion controls worked and weren’t overdone. Aiming your bow and arrow was so much fun. I spent hours in Hyrule Field alone fighting off enemies, shooting enemies, etc. There was so much to do. Hyrule was enormous, for the time. The dungeons are some of the best designed in the series and the puzzles could be rather challenging. While not too difficult, the bosses were the best in the franchise. The game introduced new items, which created new gameplay mechanics, such as the Spinner. Stallord is still one of the best boss battles in the entire Zelda series. On top of all the other positives that Twilight Princess had to offer, the story was superb. Your sidekick Midna stole the show and is Link’s best companion to date. Link’s ability to turn into a wolf, the main gameplay mechanic in the title, was used in innovative ways and was even crucial in puzzles throughout the dungeons in the latter half of the game. It’s easily the darkest Zelda game, which is what everyone was asking for. It also redefined what a dungeon was in the Zelda franchise. For instance, one dungeon was literally a mansion. The game took a lot of risks, and they paid off tremendously. Link and Midna, the OTP The fierce blue-eyed beast A mansion. As a dungeon. What made the game so memorable was the final boss battle, which of course was Ganondorf. He had four separate stages and simply would not die. The wonderful thing about these final battles was that you were prepared throughout the strategies that were crucial to beat him. In order to stop Gorons on Death Mountain, you had to grasp them and toss them aside, which prepares you for Dark Beast Ganon. There are several battles on horseback which prepare you for the eventual battle in Hyrule Field while riding Epona, sword in hand. There are plenty of sword fights in the game which prepare you for the true final battle. The game is so perfectly paced, although some view this as hand-holding; I view this as incredible game design. During the final sword fight, I would literally stand up, Wii Remote in hand, and act as I myself was literally fighting Ganondorf. No video game experience has ever been so immersive, and nothing in the future will emulate it. It was pure enjoyment. Ganondorf reveals himself A fight on horseback The ultimate sword fight By Thanksgiving Day, I had beaten the game. It was something very special, both as a Zelda fan and as one of the few people who managed to snag a Nintendo Wii. I was mesmerized. The experience changed my life and set me on the path toward my passion, video games, as a career. The wonderful thing about Twilight Princess is that it adds so many new elements, yet it is familiar as well. I mean, heck, the Temple of Time is one of the dungeons! Link in the Temple of Time Link grasps the Master Sword 13 years later, Twilight Princess is still not only one of my favorite Zelda games, but one of my favorite games of all-time. I have never had so much fun, bringing my Wii over to friends’ houses and simply playing Zelda together. These are memories that I will cherish forever, as will those who experienced what I did when the Nintendo Wii came out. You had to be there to know what it was truly like. The Nintendo Switch may be a better system, but nothing to this day has matched the magic of Twilight Princess and the Nintendo Wii’s release.