On Saturday night, I finally overcame a challenge that has haunted me for 15 years; I completed the Water Temple in Ocarina of Time.

When I was a kid, OoT was one of my favorite games EVER. I played that game religiously, even though I wasn't great at it. I was chugging along, making steady progress, having a good time...until I hit the Water Temple. That dungeon broke me; even with a strategy guide, I could barely figure out what to do. Still, I managed to get part-way through, up to the point of getting the Longshot; all I needed was the Big Key, and I was home free.

But somewhere down the line I had missed a small key. Just one. Hidden somewhere in the temple where I couldn't find it. And I looked everywhere. Even with the Compass, I couldn't figure it out. The Big Key was locked away, just out of my reach, and I couldn't get to it. After many weekends of frustration and beating my head against the wall, trying to figure it out, I gave up. I put OoT away and never played it again.

The failure stung. Everybody I knew had beaten the game. Hell, even my brother, who is 6 years younger than me, eventually picked the game up and beat it. But I couldn't. Try as I might, I couldn't manage it. Eventually, I just moved on to other games and tried to forget. But it always gnawed at me, knowing that I had come so close to the end but couldn't finish.

Last weekend, I picked up my copy of OoT 3D again. I hadn't played it in a while, but I had to hang around someplace on Saturday with nothing better to do, so I started in again, cleared the Fire Temple with minimal effort, and spent the rest of the time getting Biggoron's Sword and all the heart pieces I could find at the time. I did everything I could find to do, short of going to the next Temple. I was dragging my feet. So that night, I steeled myself and took the plunge (literally).

I blew through the Water Temple in about an hour. Suddenly, every puzzle that had baffled me as a kid made perfect, easy sense. I breezed through it, and even found the key that had evaded me all those years ago. I finished it, and laughed like a madman for about 5 solid minutes. It was bloody glorious.

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