It may sound funny, but one of my all-time favorite gaming memories involves chickens.
The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past is a classic. I don’t mean that in a way to say it’s old (it was released for the Super Nintento Entertainment System in North America in 1992; still a teenager, truthfully), but rather that it’s eternal. There’s moments and scenes in this game that can never be duplicated or truly re-experienced. From the rain-laden search of the castle grounds for a secret entrance to the first time you ever switched from Light World to Dark World and saw just how twisted the map screen became, it’s no surprise this game is on my gamers’ top fives, top tens, top fifties, top one hundreds, and top whatevers. It is simply great, with mindful pacing, brilliant action, tons of secrets, and…retaliatory chickens.
Yup, you read that right.
Shortly after you sneak Zelda out of Hyrule Castle and safely deliver her to the sanctuary, you’re given freedom as Link to explore the nearby lands on your quest to destroy Agahnim. One of your first stops will be in Kakariko Village, a colorful spot with lots of interesting characters and secrets to unearth, and there you’ll also find a few chickens hopping about. I immediately went over to one, scooped it up high over my head, and tossed it at the boy to no effect. Well, the chicken was pretty flustered and tried its best to stay as far away from me as possible. Then I remembered something I overheard at school, something about hitting them with your sword. A lot. And so I did. Slash, slash, slash, back that chicken into a corner, slash some more. Those kids at school were right; this is fun and funny.
But then it all changed. Out of nowhere, a swarm of chickens come flying at you to protect their fallen cousin from any more danger. They swoop down in a thrum of feathers and bah-clawk clucks, angry as chickens can be, and they actually damage Link. Only one way out, and that was to run. Once you’re a little ways away, the chickens relent, and you’re safe to wander back over…to do it all again.
There’s lot of other great moments in The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, but this is the one that makes me smile the most. The fact is, these chickens exist in this world just to be abused. I know PETA won’t like that. I’m sorry, but there’s no other reason for their existence, and even though the gameworld could ultimately go on without them, I think it’s better that they are there, now and forever, those classic little chickens that take a beating and keep on clucking.