Most of what you're asking for was in the manuals back in those days.
I've read the LoZ manual. It doesn't tell you any of the things I'm complaining about.http://www.nesfiles.com/NES/Zelda/Zelda.pdf
Things the manual makes absolutely no mention of:
- Lanterns can burn certain bushes (it just says it's used for lighting dark rooms)
- Bombs open passageways (it just says it's a weapon)
- Recorder opens passageways
- Certain walls can be walked through
- Hints at where any hidden dungeons are
If anything, the manual's description of items is deceptive, as it leads you astray as to what the items true purpose is.
Page 9 basically admits it's a trial and error game. "Try anything to get out!"
I don't defend its design decision but I give it a pass.
Believe it or not... so do I. For 1986 standards.
Again.. my whole point here is not really to rip on LoZ... it's to point out how much expectations of video games have changed because the bar has been raised so much. By modern game design standards, these decisions are unacceptable. Not because players now are less intelligent... or are less willing... but because it's bad game design. These mechanics are more frustrating than fun.
Other things you mention there's a lack of explanation for is there in the manual, even the part with the flute opening paths.
What page? I didn't see it anywhere.
The manual just says "Use it and it'll amaze you with what it can do". Reasonably, after trying it the first time on the overworld, you'd come to the conclusion it's used for teleporting. There's no indication it opens a passageway.
Hence why I jokingly called the new games Adventures of Lolo. Where you look at puzzles in Zelda in a positive light, I don't. Puzzles can be fun and great but they have often zero replay value to them once you've figured them out. The dungeons in the old games in the series were labyrinths, hence why they had a map and compass in the first place. The emphasis was on arcade like combat and on navigating mazes. You could get lost in those dungeons without a map and a compass, it was not just a series of rooms with silly and stupid puzzles.
I agree the combat oriented style of LoZ is arguably better than the puzzle oriented style of later Zelda games. LoZ and Z2 are just about the only Zelda games where it's possible you might die. The rest of the games are pitifully easy.
Though honestly I think all Zelda games are more about exploring an immersive world than they are about combat or puzzles.
And there was very few rooms where you had to push a specific block to advance.
There are lots of rooms with a closed door that doesn't open when you kill all the enemies. At that point you have to resort to pushing every on-screen block before realizing that the door simply doesn't open at all.
And 2nd quest has a lot more of push-block rooms... and a lot more teleportation rooms. But apparently 2nd quest doesn't count. For some reason everyone in this thread wants to sweep half of this game under the rug and not talk about it.
It's hardly random, it's called spectacle rock in game for a reason.
No indication is given to you that screen is spectacle rock. Yes the game makes mention of spectacle rock, but it doesn't tell you where that is. You could just as easily think the giant rock east of the desert is Spectacle rock... after all, it is a spectacle to behold, being the largest rock on the overworld. And that rock even has a secret in it if you bomb it!
Or the old man might be spouting gibberish like he has in the past. Wtf does "Eastmost penninsula is the secret" mean? Are there even any peninnsula's in this game?
I didn't even make the connection that the level 9 screen was spectacle rock until my 20s. Who calls glasses "spectacles" anyway? Certainly not 10 year old kids playing Zelda. And that's assuming you can even make the connection that two rocks are supposed to be spectacles in the first place.
This was never for me the stumbling block I've heard it was to many players. My guess would be that most people tried to kill him first, when it didn't work, there's only the flute and bait left.
Or the candle. Or bombs. Or the wand. Or walking through screens in the right order. Or pushing a block you missed. Or maybe that's an 'exit only' room. Or maybe you're supposed to beat a boss first. If this game established anything its that any item can have a hidden meaning, and that pathways open through cryptic means. Again, the game never establishes what the rules are, and the manual literally tells you to "try everything".
Using the bait -- and really most of the cryptic things in this game are the kinds of things that makes sense only in hindsight. You're not really given adequate clues to figure it out, so you have to dick around and try a bunch of different things... but once you find the right thing it's like "Oh... okay. That's how that works. I guess that kind of makes sense"
I think it's hard for people to take off the nostalgia glasses on this one. LoZ is a beloved game -- and not without good reason. This was a fantastic, revolutionary, and super fun game when it came out. But it really has not aged well. Or at least... not as well as you'd think.
I would love to see someone take a teenager who has never played LoZ before and sit them down for a playthrough. See if they can figure out all the cryptic shit without clues or guides. I bet you most of them would get frustrated and angry at the game.