Over this past year on this blog, I have written a lot about Zelda. In fact, I had an entire week dedicated to the franchise, along with a couple of other games that didn't fall into the Zelda week. I've always thought extremely highly of the series, and I did my very best to fully express that during the course of My Year of Gaming. Well, since December is upon us and the final stretch of the marathon has turned into a sprint to the finish line, I want to give The Legend of Zelda one last hoorah before my final send off.
And what a fitting game to write about than this game, The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds. I wrote about the newly released Wind Waker HD game, and while that is an astonishingly beautiful game, it was also a great game many years ago with a new, fresh coat of polish on it.. Skyward Sword, which came out a couple of years ago, was the freshest take on the series in a long time, and while that game had some amazing charm, it was pretty true to the classic format fans were already familiar with. Not that it was a bad thing, because as they say, why fix what ins't broke?
Well, sometimes you have to revisit the past in order to realize that you can always improve on something, even if it isn't broke inthe first place.
As I wrote about before, during my week of Zelda, A Link to the Past is my all-time favorite Zelda game, hands down. In fact, it is one of my favorite games of all the games ever, and if I could only play one game for the rest of my life, it would be a strong contender for the one to choose. It is a game that first got me thinking about the development of video games, way back as a kid. The creativity that the game brought out of me would go on to guide my interest and intrigue in the behind the scenes aspect of video games.
Quite frankly, I never thought I needed more from A Link To The Past. Sure, a remake would have been awesome, but I never sat there and wanted a sequel to it. As I heard on a podcast earlier last week, no one has ever looked at the Mona Lisa painting and thought, "Sure, this is an amazing painting, but I can't wait to see the sequel!" There have been many, many Zelda games since LTTP, but none of them ever tried to recreate, emulate or replicate the formula of that classic game.
That is, until now.
Nintendo and the Zelda team went back to the universe of A Link To The Past, and created another game, A Link Between Worlds. It isn't merely trying to make the same game, but rather add to the story and the world that was created all those years ago. The map is familiar, the enemies are all back from the first one, and the game just takes you back to what you know and love. This time around, however, they have added a new dimension to the game, and I'm not just talking about the 3D effects that work perfectly, even with the slider on the 3DS all the way turned up. No, what I'm talking about it is the painting effect that is introduced early on in the game, where Link can transform himself into a painting on the wall and move about along the walls, slipping in between cracks and experience new sights and perspectives on the world never before seen.
So far from what I have played, the idea works perfectly, and is executed to its fullest extent of potential. Another fascinating twist on the Zelda formula that they decided to add to the game is the ability to go to any dungeon you want at any time, not having to stick to a linear path of progression as you do in pretty much ever other Zelda game. If a dungeon is too hard or you are ill-equipped for it, just leave and go somewhere else. It's that simple. It's a great way to make a non-open world game feel more open and gives the players options rarely found in Zelda titles.
This game is making me fall in love with the Legend of Zelda all over again, which I already thought wasn't in question in the first place. It's taking me back to my childhood gaming, but also reminding me of how great video games are now today. Also, you may not have to fix something that isn't broke, but there is no harm in reinventing the wheel, as long as it is done r
First off, before you all get up in arms, I already know what you're going to say. Yes, I already played The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker for my blog, back in April, during my week long adventure through The Legend of Zelda franchise. And as you already know, I am supposed to play and write about a new, different game each day this year. So what's up with this entry in my blog, you ask? Well, Nintendo released the game as not just a port or a virtual console game, but as a full-fledged HD remake. It's not just a HD polish put on the same old game that came out over a decade ago, but a legit remake as only Nintendo knows how to do.
Speaking of which, I just have to say, that if there is any company out there, Nintendo is it when it comes to the masters of remaking old classics. They genuinely love their franchises, and while they put many older, classic games on their Virtual Console markets as a fan service, they don't take the job of remaking games lightly. In fact, they choose to remake very few games, but seem to be coming around to the idea more often than ever before. However, they don't just slap a new sticker on it and call it a remake, but they take their time, focussing all of their attention to detail and love for their creations into the remake at hand as if it truly was a brand new game.
Even if they aren't directly creating the game in-house, but rather outsourcing it to dependable developers, they are sure to make sure that the consumer and fans don't ever feel like the remake is just a cash-grab, and that they are getting the full value of the product they are investing in.
With that said, The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD is Nintendo's most recent love letter to their fans in every way, shape and form. I almost feel like they are still holding a grudge to all media outlets and outraged fans who shunned this version of Link and his universe when the game was originally released, and with that grudge, they wanted to firmly establish this Zelda game one of the finest in the series. While the original Wind Waker finally received critical acclaim after it had time to age like fine wine, Nintendo, in my humble opinion, wants everyone to see this HD remake in the same light they feel it should have been from day one.
Despite what people tend to think and accuse Nintendo of, in regards to doing their own thing without care of the wants and desires of their fans, they actually sat down and took every complaint about Wind Waker into consideration when creating this game, changing almost all of it. Sure, they have a machine now, the Wii U, that can handle what they possibly always wanted to do with the game but couldn't because of the GameCube hardware. But they could have just been lazy and put the same experience into HD and called it good.
They actually fixed many game mechanics, such as the slow, tedious sailing, and made the experience more enjoyable for gamers. Also, they made the GamePad functional and useful, transforming it into the inventory screen, adding touch screen controls slight motion controlls, and of course, adding the ability to play the game from just the GamePad, freeing up the TV for anyone needing or wanting to watch it while you're playing.
Above all else, this game looks absolutely phenomenal. I always loved the cell shading look of this game, but now, the lighting effects, the shadow and the polish to the cell shading with this HD remake is gorgeous. The world comes to life like never before, as colors pop and graphics you may have thought were average before now prove to be unbelievable. Again, only Nintendo could take what was already a beautiful game that actually held up well over time, and recreate it to make it look like something never seen before.
The prospect of Nintendo taking their classic games and remaking them for the HD generation is so exciting. I can't wait for other games to receive this level of love and care from Nintendo as updated remakes of what we all already know and love. Go ahead and bash Nintendo for "doing the same thing for years" and "relying too heavily on their long-standing franchises." If they can take awesome games and remake them to almost perfect status, I'm not going to complain.
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. The epitome of a Zelda game, and the first game in the franchise's fictional timeline. It was the last new Zelda game to be released, and critically acclaimed to be one the best ever, receiving perfect review scores from many different video game news outlets.
Obviously, this was going to be the last Zelda game I played in my week of Zelda, as I had that planned from day one. But that's not because of how great it is, how new it is or how gorgeous it is. No, I chose to play it because it is the only Zelda game I never finished, and it is the first game in my "pile of shame," otherwise known as the stack of games I own that I haven't played or beaten yet.
That's right. Skyward Sword might be the only Zelda game I've yet to beat. And honestly, not for any particular reason other than I just never did. Before the game came out, I was more excited about it than possibly any game that has ever been released that I was excited about before. It came out a day or two before my birthday, so I bought it with the understanding that this was the only birthday present I needed or wanted.
When I started playing it, I fell in love immediately, It is a beautiful game, the game play mechanics are fantastic with the Wii Motion+, and the story is unbelievable. There was absolutely nothing wrong with the game that would ever keep me from wanting to finish it.
Yet, I put the game down, after playing it only a couple different times, and never returned to it. Never. Until today, that is.
Maybe it was because I knew this was the swan song for the Wii, a very important console to me in my gaming history. Maybe I was already mentally and emotionally moved on to the Wii U, causing me to subconsciously dismiss any and all Wii games. Maybe it was because of the impending holiday season, and the hustle and bustle of it all kept me from spending the amount of time needed to keep me engaged, and because it is so story-heavy, it was almost impossible to just pick up casually and play. You need to stay engaged in the story to fully appreciate it's awesomeness, and unfortunately, I lost that connection.
I realized this when I tried to fire it back up today after over a year away from the game. I had no idea where I was in the story, what was going on, or why I should care about what I was doing. Even the few cut scenes I came across didn't help refresh my memory. This was disappointing, as I didn't enjoy it as much as I should have, just because of how disengaged I was in the story. I know it's a great story, but without context, it's impossible to get behind.
And this is why I think people can't get into Zelda games as I think they should be able to. All the other Zelda games, I have beaten (some several times), and because of that, I have lots of context for the storyline. I also have played so many of the Zelda games and am quite familiar with the overall storyline as well, which helps with whatever game I pick up to play in the series. For someone new to the series, however, I honestly understand now how intimidating it would be to jump into the series fresh, or even worse after a very long hiatus from it.
I understand, all you non-Zelda gamers. I understand.
Today, I really struggled with which Zelda game I was going to play. I knew all along I wanted to play a handheld Zelda game in the series, but which one specifically is what I had trouble with. There has been seven original handheld titles, all of which played a certain role in advancing the franchise along and reaching out to the on-the-go gaming market.
So after much deliberation, I decided upon the Phantom Hourglass game, which was the first of two Zelda games on the Nintendo DS. The DS is Nintendo's most successful handheld console to date, and one of the gaming industry's biggest success stories. A lot of its success can be attributed to the Japanese market, where being on the move at all times is common place in the land of the rising sun. The DS nailed that market perfectly, and thanks to a couple different upgraded versions to the system, it was able to become king of the handhelds.
It was only a matter of time before one of Nintendo's most successful gaming franchise would make its way to juggernaut handheld system, and when it did, we were blessed with Phantom Hourglass. Being released after Twilight Princess, it was very clear that Nintendo had no intention of keeping just one version of Link and the storyline running throughout the series, as Phantom Hourglass returned to the cartoonish and cell-shaded style that we first discovered in Wind Waker, and continued the storyline that the game had put in place. This of course was in drastic contrast to the Twilight Princess style and story, further pushing the idea that the Zelda universe and timeline isn't exactly linear.
I bought this game for my oldest son back in the day when it was released, as we had gotten him a DS for his birthday before hand, thinking he would enjoy it. Despite my best efforts at the time, and introducing him to several different games of all styles and genres, I could never get him interested in playing the DS. Eventually, my youngest boy got his hands on it and never let it go. He's definitely a gamer through and through.
When we got him Phantom Hourglass, however, I knew the game would be challenging, especially considering how difficult Twilight Princess was at times. To jump ahead of the potential of him quitting the game before he gave it a fair shake, I even bought him the strategy guide so that he could read along with it while playing, preventing him from every getting stuck on a puzzle.
Turns out, he couldn't care about that game or any Zelda game at all. He may have started it up and started it, just to make me happy, but I don't think he ever played much of it at all, much less cracked open the strategy guide. I ended up playing way more of the game then I ever thought I would back then, basically because I felt bad it was getting played - but also because it was a fine game.
I enjoyed it back then, and I enjoyed it again tonight. I really enjoyed it, and probably because I've just been dying to play a good handheld Zelda game since Ocarina of Time was re-released on the 3DS last year, and especially since Link to the Past 2 was announced to come out later this year. Combine that excitement with the Wind Waker remake that's also on its way, and its quite obvious why Phantom Hourglass clicked with me tonight.
Aside from the great story and fun, stylish graphics, the one thing I loved most about this game - and still do, possibly even more so - is the ability to write notes and draw markers on the game map itself, which is super helpful in figuring out puzzles and backtracking to already explored areas later in the game. The game introduces you to the concept of doing this, forces you to try it out, but then it backs off and lets you use it as you so choose. And believe me, with my short attention span and lack of a decent short-term memory, I use this function a lot. I actually started to wonder why more games haven't gone this route.
So maybe handheld gaming wasn't for my oldest boy. Maybe Zelda wasn't his thing. And maybe that is true for lots of gamers out there. I just wish more who agree with that would actually just give it a shot and find out firsthand. If you do decide to take that plunge, especially if you feel froggy enough to give Phantom Hourglass a shot, I have a strategy guide you can borrow. Oh, and you can copy my notes, too. Not like that didn't happen to me enough in school.
So, I already wrote about when I first got my Nintendo Wii for Christmas in 2006. Shortly after receiving it, I went out in search of a second Wiimote, which oddly enough were almost harder to locate than the Wii consoles themselves. On one particular trip out to find a second controller, I noticed a game sitting on the shelf that I didn't even know about.
You see, I had taken a gaming hiatus for a couple years, which again, I have talked about here on the blog. In those couple of years, I didn't play games, read about games or even pay attention to what games were even coming out. This dark period of my life caused me to not even realize a new Zelda game had been developed, and subsequently, released. Of course I am talking about The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, the game that was originally in development as the GameCube's swan song, but ended up being released as a port for the Wii before the GameCube version even came out!
Anyway, when I saw this game, sitting there on the shelf, I picked it up immediately. Instead of coming home with a second controller, I came home with a game instead. That's kind of how this hobby works.
Shortly after getting the game, maybe a couple weeks or so, I ended up losing my job that I had for roughly five years or so. It was the first job I had out of high school, and that was the first time ever I had been an adult and been unemployed at the same time. Basically, I had no idea what to do with myself or my new found free time. Sure, I wanted to go out and join the workforce right away, make myself feel like I was contributing to the family and all that jazz - but let's be honest here. I had unemployment checks coming in and I knew rushing out and taking any old job wasn't something I wanted or needed to do at that time. So in between submitting applications and resumes for jobs that fit my skill set, I had a lot of time alone, at home, to play games.
And what was the one that game that I had that was ideal for single-player adventure time? Zelda: Twilight Princess, of course.
This game was surprisingly challenging back then, as I remember getting stuck on a few puzzles in the game. To get unstuck, I turned to the internet and found a little site called IGN that had a guide up to help me out. Turns out, they had more than just game guides, including tons of news and features about all aspects of the gaming industry. This is the moment that opened my eyes to video game journalism, and would eventually set me on a path to be where I am now, here, writing this blog.
Playing tonight, once again, brought back all these non-gaming specific memories of one of the best looking, most creative and highly thought of Zelda games in the series. I realized it was the first Zelda game to get a "T for Teen" rating because of the more mature theme and violence never before seen in the franchise. Clearly, this was a bold step for Nintendo, but one that was necessary to give the series a shot in the arm and revolutionize it. Transforming back and forth between the wolf is a fantastic game play mechanic, yet one that almost made it feel like it wasn't a Zelda game at some points. The Twilight realm was cool, and played on the concept of light and dark which is prevalent through the whole series.
For a lot of people, especially the new Wii owners when it was released, this was the first Zelda game they had ever played. While it is not exactly the most tried and true representation of the Legend of Zelda series, it is one that I could easily see roping people in. Hopefully, players that enjoyed this one went back and rediscovered the beginning of the series to see where it all started and how this new, scary world came to be.
With the release of every Zelda game, there was always tons of fanfare and hype. Well, a lot considering that most releases didn't have the benefit of having the internet prevalent enough to create the kind of buzz that Zelda games do now.
Usually, Zelda games are highly anticipated, as everyone is looking forward to seeing which direction and what changes Nintendo will make to the series in order to to it to the next level of awesomeness. After Wind Waker was announced, however, with screen shots and details showing off the next version of Link on the GameCube, Zelda fans pretty much all turned their collective shoulders and pretty much boycotted the very drastic changes. And this was all before the game even came out.
You see, the biggest problem people had was the look of the game, specifically the characters like Link. The game was designed in cell-shaded style, a unique thing at the time of the game's release and definitely a first for the series. Link was still recognizable by all his trademark characteristics, but the fact that the developers went the way of cartoonish art style instead of a more realistic style that everyone was anticipating, really irritated people to no end.
Personally, when I first saw what the game would look like, I was more excited than anyone else I knew. Sure, the thought of a realistic Zelda was intriguing, but I've always seen the series as a story, a fairy tale of sorts, and this new style fit perfectly into the vision I always had for the series.
Sure enough, after the game's release, people started to realize how great the game looked despite the cell shading style, and how well it complemented the story that it was telling, The game has only grown on people more so every day since its release, and just recently Nintendo announced that it was remaking Wind Waker in HD for the Wii U. So much for no one liking the game, right?
Anyway, tonight I played it and it was great. The story is so engaging, as the new cast of characters and settings felt refreshing and different, yet surprisingly familiar. The game still holds up graphically even by today's standards, but with the touch of HD, I simply cannot wait for the remastered version of this game to play on my Wii U later this year.
Everyone usually complains about the sailing adventures within this game, but honestly, I don't mind them at all. The sheer amount of territory to cover in the game, even if most of it is water, is astounding. But hey, to each their own, I guess.
All in all, this is a great game, and one of the best looking games of the series, if only for the unique art style. Thank goodness the Internet wasn't as big as it is today, or the amount of hate before hand might have derailed this series permanently.
Link. Hyrule Kingdom. Princess Zelda. All in 3D. and that, my friends, is what blew the doors completely off the Zelda franchise.
When Ocarina of Time came out for the Nintendo 64, it revolutionized how gamers looked at the Zelda franchise. The step into 3D realms for a popular Nintendo franchise was already taken by Mario in Mario 64, but what Ocarina did was by far above and beyond the simple leap into 3D graphics. It cemented how important Zelda was not just to Nintendo, but the gaming industry as a whole. To this day, it is still looked upon as one of, if not the best video game ever - which says a lot considering how many games there are on that list.
It's funny, too, because last night when I was playing A Link to the Past, I thought without a shadow of a doubt that it was my favorite Zelda game. Then I played Ocarina tonight, and low and behold, I had to change my opinion. Not because I think of LTTP any less now, but I just realized how awesome and amazing that Ocarina of Time was - and still is.
As I kid, I never owned my own Nintendo 64, but my cousin Jake did. Because of that, I went over to his house a lot to play games. Going over there usually meant spending the night as well, obviously meaning I got to play even more games. While he liked playing games, he wasn't nearly as in to them as I was. He liked the idea of them, liked bragging about having them and showing them off, while feeling like the cool kid for having them all. But I was clearly the gamer of group, and he more often than not watched me play games, while he did ... whatever it was he did.
This was definitely the case for Ocarina of Time. He watched me play a LOT of that game. When he first got it, I was over there every chance I got, each time getting a little further into the story. Every time we got stuck playing it, we had to figure our way through it, eventually, thanks to the Internet not exactly being what it is today. So when we finally beat the game, I remember how epic and amazing it felt, after the countless hours we dumped in to it. Immediately after beating it, however, all I wanted to do was start it all over again. Yeah, it was that kind of game. And really, it still is.
Tonight playing it brought back all those memories. Since playing it back in the day, I have bought several re-releases of this game, which is becoming common ground for great Nintendo games at this point. Tonight, despite owning it on several platforms, I played the Virtual Console version.
Aside from the extremely long opening cinematic that you cant skip and the ridiculously annoying fairy companion (Navi) that follows you around the whole game, this adventure through the kingdom of Hyrule is unforgettable. There are some games that I can play over and over again, and each time I remember certain things about it that I may have forgotten until I come back across them in the game, But with Ocarina, I remember tons of specific things within the game before I even get close to getting to them in-game. It's one of those special games that leaves a permanent imprint on your gaming memory,
The 3D graphics were groundbreaking for a game that big and robust back in the day, and the 3DS remake did an excellent job not just enhancing them, but putting them under a spotlight and showing them off to the adoring public. The game play mechanics worked like a charm, everything from the combat system to riding Epona the horse, and everything in between. Sure, the camera was a little wonky, but most games at that time had a learning curve for figuring out how to properly use the camera in the 3D environment. With so much that the game did right, the hands-down best thing about this game is the story.
The story. Wow. For all the talk recently about how BioShock Infinite has one the best video game stories ever, people need to go back and replay Ocarina of Time for a sample of a time when GREAT stories was a common thing. It's not an overly complex story or one that will make you sit there and ponder the meaning of life after it all wraps up, but it is still fantastic in what it is. It's simple, it's easy to follow, but man, does it rope you in and make you actually care about it, not just enjoy it. In its simplest and most purest form, it is a story of good vs. evil, with love and trust sprinkled in for good measure.
For the most part, this is the basic storyline for the entire Zelda franchise, but for the first time in the series, Ocarina of Time highlighted it, enhanced it and wrapped the entire game around it. The ability to have good cut-scenes in the game certainly enhanced the impact of the story, which is why it remains the absolute best Zelda game to play if you are only going to play one, ever. If you are going to start the series, then yes, start out with Link to the Past. But if you only choose to play a single Zelda game, Ocarina of Time is what you need to be playing. Hands down. No argument.
Ask me tomorrow, though. Maybe I'll change my mind once again.
With 16 full, legit Zelda games in the franchise, obviously I couldn't play them all in one week. I considered the notion of just playing them chronologically, half this week and half another week - but who would want another week of Zelda after this epic one? If I can't fully portray how amazing this series is in a week to all the non-believers, skeptics and rookies, then I'm not doing my job as a writer and a gamer.
So instead, I have decided to play what I see as the most important and influential games of the entire series, while also trying to span the console generations. Because of that, I decided to skip over Zelda 2: The Adventure of Link (despite it being an important puzzle piece in the jigsaw puzzle that is the Zelda franchise. Instead, I jumped right on in to my personal favorite Zelda game (by a close, close margin) and still probably top-five games of mine of all time.
Yes, I played the The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past.
This was probably the first game I ever played that I compulsively obsessed over. Thinking about when I wasn't playing it, playing it every chance I got, and beating it over and over again, just for the sake of enjoying every second of it as much as possible. Despite how much I loved video games before A Link to the Past came out, this game cemented and reaffirmed everything I felt. This game also challenged me to look at games differently, not just as entertainment vices, but as a creative art form. I saw the game for the art from behind the curtain, if you will, imagining what the process of creating something so awesome was like.
You see, this game inspired me to create my own Zelda game. Not in the animation/computer coding type of way, but instead from the artists and writers perspective of how to make a game. I had a binder full - and I mean FULL - of sketches, rough drafts and final drafts of everything that you would find in the game, like all the characters, weapons, items, enemies, dungeons and even maps. I had all the details hammered out and decided, as if I was going to walk into Shigeru Miyamoto's office and present him with the pitch for the game. I didn't have the full script written out or anything, but the basic plot was established.
Granted, everything I came up with was heavily influenced by Link to the Past, so most of the ideas I had came straight from that game, just adjusted and modified to make them feel like my own. The only thing I don't remember coming up with was a title for my "game," which clearly was the only thing holding it back from being pushed into development.
Anyway, as you can see, I love this game, And playing it again tonight reminded me that I still love this game. I try to play through it at least once a year, or whenever I feel froggy enough to jump in.
Everything from the art style to the music is so perfectly well-done, it's maddening that more guys didn't try to just copy this style. Everything from the movements of Link to the new items and weapons you use finally give the player a sense of who this Link character is and what he is capable of as a character. The writing is strong and charming and the game itself, while sometimes quite challenging, is made for the player to enjoy at their own pace and traverse the kingdom as they see fit, exploring all there is to see in Hyrule.
Oh, and did I mention the Master Sword? Yeah...
The coolest part of the game for me, however, is that once you think you have the game figured out, it throws you a curve ball in the form of the Light World/Dark World plot twist. You see, the entire map that you get to know all too well is actually just half of what you think. The whole time up until the big reveal you are in the Light World, but then, suddenly, you are forced to revisit the same-yet-totally-different Dark World.
Crap ... SPOILER ALERT!
I love this game. Everything about it. If I had to play just one game the rest of my life, this would easily be at the top of my list. For everyone who has never touched a Zelda game, I suggest starting with this one. And if you think you don't like Zelda games, go back and give this one a chance. Maybe you will "get it" this time.
Just hurry up, because the sequel for the 3DS is coming out sometime this year. And no, it's not my game idea ... at least, I don't think it is. I better call my lawyer, just in case.
Looking at the calendar, it appears as if this is the last full week (Monday-Sunday) left in April, and because I have yet to have a "Week Of..." this month, the stars are perfectly aligned for me to finally announce what game franchise I am going to play for a week straight.
In case you didn't pick up on the hints from the title of this blog posting or the box art over to the left here, I am going to play The Legend of Zelda franchise for seven straight days. Oh, and I know I don't have a cool banner showcasing "My Week of Zelda" up yet - I will try to have it up for tomorrow's post. Just try to use your imagination for the time being.
So ... The Legend of Zelda. To be honest, I had a completely different franchise already picked out and ready to go for this week, until the Twitter Gods spoke to me loud and clear, and pointed me into the direction of one of the most popular, well-received and most recognizable game franchises of all time. Yet despite how unimaginably popular the Zelda franchise is, I discovered that many people who are readers of this very blog, followers on twitter and even some Podcasters either have played a little bit of the series and didn't like it, haven't played the series since the originals and have no interest in going back to it, and yes, even a handful of gamers out there that have never played a single Zelda game, EVER.
After finding out all this today, completely randomly mind you, I knew that I just HAD to make this week my week of Zelda. Not for my sake to rediscover the franchise or drum up some awesome memories, but instead for a community service, to explore what the series means to the community, good or bad. I wan't to find out why people may have bailed on this series or never bothered to even explore it, what holds them back from enjoying it and why it hasn't grabbed the attention of certain gamers. Hopefully, however, I'll be able to drudge up the goodness and joy in the series as well, and discover how much this series has meant to people over the years as well.
Basically I want to find my way out of the dark room before I bother to look for the light switch.
Tonight, I started with where the legend all began, the original The Legend of Zelda game on the Nintendo Entertainment System. Personally, for me, this wasn't my first Zelda game that I remember playing, but it was for many people, obviously because it was the first. Of course, back in 1986, no one could have ever predicted that this one little game would spawn the franchise it has become.
It was ground breaking for several reasons, some of which weren't immediately known at the time. It was the first game to allow for game saves on the cartridge, as opposed to using the more traditional of the times password system for "saves." Also, it was the start of open-world gaming, which most gamers don't ever give it the credit for being.
You play the game in a top-down style adventure game, traversing around the world, exploring and defeating dungeons, solving puzzles and basically living out an epic quest to find the sacred treasure, defeat the ultimate boss, save the princess and restore peace to the kingdom. The fundamental aspects of the game are well in place and easy to see, but the ability to fully immerse yourself as a gamer into this brand new universe is one that the Zelda franchise has done better than almost any game franchise out there.
Playing it again tonight, however, some things were quite clear. If you have never played a Zelda game before, this would not be the game to start out with, because it doesn't have that it factor that will make people finally get why this franchise is so well liked. Yes, it's serviceable for what it is and plays an important part of the timeline for the series (more on that throughout the week), but it's still an old game. Today, it appeals to those who played it back in the day and fell in love with the adventure. It's a nostalgic piece of gaming history, but not one that would be easy to sit down and just play through like a platformer (Mario, Mega Man, etc.) would be to a newcomer.
Thankfully, The Legend of Zelda holds its place on the Mount Rushmore of games not because of how well it has aged, but for the bar that it set for every other action/adventure game that has come after it, as well as being the game that started it all. Oh, and it had a gold colored NES cartridge, and even to this day, just holding it makes you feel like you are holding something special.
I can't wait to continue this series. This is going to be a strong week for all the Nintendo fans out there, and hopefully enlightening for all those who never jumped on the Nintendo bandwagon.
Inspiration sometimes comes in the most unlikely times and unexpected moments. Tonight was one of those moments in time, for sure, where inspiration popped out of thin air.
I was having a twitter conversation with an awesome gamer lady, Elaine, who hosts the fantastic Hell Yeah Podcast that I recently became a big fan of after it was highly recommended to me (thanks, Pizza Guy!). Anyway, she had mentioned how she felt like a "bad bitch" when using the bow in the new Tomb Raider game (and yes, that's her quote, not mine). I was curious if it was the character or actually the weapon, because I have been struggling to find a game that utilizes the bow successfully as a weapon. Every game seems to make it feel forced and efficient as a weapon itself, like it was in Far Cry 3.
If it wasn't for the hunting side quests that forced you to use the bow, I never had that thing equipped. Ever. And honestly, I used my knife to shank those tigers and komodo dragons instead of the bow, which technically counted still, somehow.
She suggested the bow in Crysis 3 was good, but honestly, that game was so uninteresting, uninspired and complicated that there was no way I was going to be able to enjoy the weapon in the short amount of time that I played it. The commercials made it look cool, and the brief time I had with it, I was able to feel the potential in it being not only a viable, but a go-to weapon. But again, I had no fun with the game itself, much less any weapons.
I jokingly tossed out Link's Crossbow Training, and while a crossbow technically isn't the type of bow I was referring to, but still, it worked and felt better than any crappy bow in recent games. I don't know what it is, but there is a certain feeling to having a bow seem like a proper weapon in a game. It's hard to explain, but I know I haven't found one in a long, long time.
So, of course, I immediately wanted to play Link's Crossbow Training for tonight's blog entry. It seemed like the only appropriate thing to do, really. Plus, I could say I beat the game for the blog, which is cool, since it only takes an hour or so to get through the nine levels. It's just weird that this is the first Zelda game I've played for the blog. Who saw that coming?
A lot of people have probably forgotten about this game, most likely because they never played it. It was basically the Legend of Zelda Battle Quest mini-game attraction in the NintendoLand game for the Wii U - just way ahead of it's time. It was originally a spin-off game of the Twilight Princess, until it got demoted to pack-in mini game, despite the game obviously taking place in the same world as Twilight Princess did. And the best thing about the game? It came with the infamous Wii Zapper - for free! Or did you get the game for free when you bought the Wii Zapper? You tell me!
Ahh, the Wii Zapper. What a great yet horrible plastic peripheral. The concept of it alone is what originally got me so excited for it, with the promise of being able to use it efficiently for all future shooters coming to the Wii. Aside from the Resident Evil on-rails shooter Umbrella Chronicles, I don't ever remember using the damn thing ever.
The design of it is great, with the remote locking in perfectly, the nunchuck fitting nice and securely and even having the chords as concealed and tidy as possible. Sadly, the trigger didn't work well and the overall shape of the Zapper was an ergonomic nightmare. It was clear that using the controller without the shell was much easier and effective.
I liked playing it again tonight, though. It was and still is a fun little game. But with the NintendoLand game, it's hard to ever go back and play it again after tonight. But don't worry, the Wii Zapper will find a nice resting spot next to my two Wii Wheels and Fitness Board, tucked in the far depths of my gaming cabinet.
Thanks again for the inspiration, Elaine! And yes, I will be writing about Tomb Raider soon, and hopefully, I will feel like a bad bitch as well when using the bow.
Which reminds me, dear readers. Are there any games you can think of that utilize the bow as a great weapon? Let me know!
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Games played for project : 365