This series is to quickly familiarize people with The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past randomized runs (henceforth, ALttPR). These posts will be quick and not entirely comprehensive — for more in-depth view of the game and the community, check out stuff here.
Because blogs are context-sensitive with respect to time, I'll note I'm writing this in early 2020 and v31 is the current version of the randomizer.
So you want to run ALttPR: The Bare Minimum
Think you're tough enough to run Zelda randos? Alright, hot shot, let's get you started. This brief list below details what you should be familiar with before even attempting a randomizer of ALttP:
Learn the Basic Game Mechanics. If you have never played ALttP before, you're going to be at a distinct disadvantage. It's not impossible (some players get into randomizer and can just groove with it without ever having beaten the vanilla game) but it's recommended that you've played through the vanilla game at least once. You may want to play it in English so you get a sense of the story and what's going — or, you might just not care and just go along with the fact that a Maiden becomes a monster when you bring her into the light.
Learn what the items do. It's important to know what things do in this game since the randomizer revolves around getting items which allow for further progression. Read the wiki and make sure you know how items work by playing the game and trying things out.
This is actually not as trivial as it sounds. I've seen runners that don't know that you can do the "4-way shot" with the Cane of Somaria and runners that had no idea what the cape could be used for. Not all items are required to beat the game, but some make the game significantly easier to get through.
Learn how to kill the bosses the Vanilla Way. You'll probably be able to beat some bosses more easily in the randomizer due to having more powerful equipment at the time (silvers with Armos Knights, butter sword with Moldorm, ...) but it's important to know how to kill the bosses when you don't have these advanced items. It's frustrating to die over and over to the same boss because you don't know how it's supposed to be killed, and that puts a damper on your rando run. Nothing worse than having to do the entire Ice Dungeon again because you didn't know you needed more magic than you had.
Okay, now what?
You got the basics down. Now you need the ROM. I cannot tell you how to get this but you may want to study the top picture associated with this post. You'll also want to get an emulator. I use Snes9x but most emulators will work. Got it? Good.
You're gonna follow the instructions here and create another ROM (which is the patched, random version of ALttP that you want). You can choose to get spoilers (recommended for beginners) by choosing "Normal" or whatever the non-race and non-tournament option is. You can also choose your sprite. I usually do Squirtle.
Now, get to playing. You'll probably want to see how far you can get before needing to look anything up. There's whole things related to New Player Gotchas, which is also on that site, so if you get stuck check that first.
If all else fails, check the spoiler and see what you're missing. If you have no idea how to progress even with the spoiler you can ask in the discord or ask on the subreddit. For my first few runs I didn't know that I could do a few weird tricks that were necessary for me to progress — but once I learned a few things I was able to get most of the way there by myself.
Don't be discouraged if you can't finish your first few seeds. Don't get discouraged if it takes you a long, long time. I played ALttP vanilla for a while and my first randomizer seed that I finished clocked in around eight hours. My second was around four. After that, I was able to trim down time significantly, and, while I'm not a fast runner, most of my runs are around the two-and-a-half hour mark which is not terrible. Point is, you'll get faster quick — you just have to keep with it.
Also, and this might be a bit more controversial, but I recommend streaming the game on a platform like Twitch. Not only can you get help from others in the community and make friends, but it's a great way to hold yourself accountable ("Okay, I've got to finish this seed because my viewers are watching it. I can't just rage-quit!"). This is biased by my love of streaming and my love of the twitch community.
Most of all, have fun. It's frustrating in the beginning, but don't beat yourself up too much. If you aren't enjoying yourself or you don't see yourself enjoying the game in the future, don't do it. Why would you put yourself through that? Sheesh.
In the next post, I'll go over my Start-Game route and strategy, and a little more about some of the weird stuff you'll need to know and a few glitches that are not required but which will make your life significantly easier.