Boss Rush Banter: How Many Playthroughs Does it Take to “Memorize” an Entire Game?

I’m not the most intuitive gamer. I usually sink way more hours than what’s average for a playthrough, and/or I need to peek at a guide to get through some challenging portions. Yet, as with most things in life, the more you practice, the better you’ll get. Everyone has at least one game that they’ve played over and over again to the point that they know it like the back of their hand. So, which one is it for you?

I’m currently running through The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time on Nintendo Switch Online at my son’s request. He is enjoying watching the Link he’s been dressing up as for Halloween for the last few years! This is the one game that I know the layout of every dungeon and the steps to beeline it to the end. By no means am I a speed runner, but missing that one key in the Water Temple? No longer is this a struggle–I’ve already put my time in for that.

When my son is asking me why I haven’t traveled to the Gorons yet or made my way to Jabu-Jabu’s belly, I explained what is required for each level, and that it was faster to obtain the required “items” (using this word as a catch all) first to avoid the back-and-forth. My son proceeded to ask me how many times I’ve beaten Ocarina of Time. I had to pause. It was at least a dozen. He told me he’s thrilled to watch me beat it a thirteenth time.

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time became second nature approximately after my third run. Back in the day (1998), there were no quick Google searches for online playthroughs, and my parents refused to spend money on the Player’s Guide. So, I struggled through my first try with only my memory watching my older cousin play it. And yes, I got stuck at the Water Temple for at least a year. I quickly replayed it a second and third time, and that’s when things got much, much easier for me. By run number four, I didn’t even need that Player’s Guide–or Google for that matter–now that the internet was up and running in the 2000s.

Surely, there is no magic number of playthroughs that grant you that special power, but the frequency and time between sessions are factors. The most important key, though, is the struggle. Back when I was forced to fend for myself, I really cut my teeth on video game levels. When your brain works through a challenge, it learns, and I feel the hard work provides you with that rich knowledge that will live with you forever!

Are there are any games you’ve essentially “memorized”? Please share your thoughts with us on our Boss Rush Facebook Group or our Boss Rush Discord.

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The Boss Rush Podcast – The Boss Rush Podcast is the flagship podcast of Boss Rush Media and the Boss Rush Network. Each week, Corey, Stephanie, LeRon, and their friends from around the internet come together with other creators, developers, and industry veterans to talk about games they’ve been playing, discuss video game and entertainment based topics, and answer questions solicited on social media and the community Discord. 

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