The lights are on
Power Member - Level 10
This article was originally published on zeldadungeon.net under the name Keaton, because that is my first name.
There are many series of video games I love, such as Mario,
Pokemon, Dead Space, Borderlands, Super Smash Bros., and more. I of course
believe that Zelda is the greatest of them all. That's why I couldn't allow
myself to let the opportunity of applying to write for Zelda Dungeon slip by.
Now that I'm here, I need a first editorial to kick things off. I know that
anybody reading this has surely read their fair share of articles about why
Zelda games are so fantastic, which is why I did not want to simply write
another. While scouring my brain for ideas for my introductory editorial, I
found one that enabled me to convey a broad opinion of the series without
rehashing an idea as old as Zelda itself. That idea was to write about why
Zelda has such a great deal of my respect.
The way a series earns my respect is through its design
choices and Zelda makes many respectable decisions in that regard. One such
decision, the story, is unfortunately heckled by many of Zelda's dissenters.
Unlike them, I don't believe storytelling makes or breaks a game. I even enjoy
a good deal of Zelda's stories, but that's beside the point. Unless we're
talking about a game like The Walking Dead, story is secondary to game design
when it comes to a game's success.
Zelda's series of legends tied loosely together by a
timeline is a great approach to video game storytelling, as it frees the
designers to take the series wherever they want it to go. I look at Halo and
see a great FPS series constrained by its own dedication to a fictional universe.
The Halo series will likely never take any radical turns in story, setting, or
gameplay, because that would put it in danger of jumping the shark. On the
other hand, Zelda is free to experiment with new locations, gameplay elements,
and even art styles.
I also respect Zelda for its adherence to long development
cycles. While I don't think there's anything inherently wrong with an
annualized series such as Assassin's Creed, I do maintain that developers' best
work can only be achieved when they take their time. In Zelda's case, trying to
push a new game out within a single year would be rushing it. Over the years,
we have come to expect only the highest quality from a Zelda game, and anything
Nintendo does to maintain that quality is fine by me. Waiting four or five
years for a new console Zelda game can be agonizing, but the the wait is always
Probably the most respectable aspect of
Zelda is its willingness to try new ideas. On the surface, Zelda might appear
to be a repetitious series of collecting three artifacts, retrieving the Master
Sword, and saving Princess Zelda from Ganondorf, but fans know it's much more
than that. Despite retaining much of the same core formula, Zelda games always
introduce new gameplay elements. A Link to the Past allowed players to swap
between Hyrule and the Dark World. Twilight Princess bestowed Link with the
power to transform into a wolf. Skyward Sword placed the Master Sword in our
hands through excellent motion control. And most recently, A Link Between
Worlds added a clever wrinkle to exploration with Link's new ability to become
a painting. One of the best examples of Zelda's willingness to reinvent itself
comes from very early in its history. With The Adventure of Link, Zelda went
straight from a top-down action adventure game to a side-scroller with RPG
It's a nice feeling to know that I don't have to feel guilty
about loving Zelda as much as I do, because it is a very upstanding series that
should serve as a role model for the rest of the video game industry. It took a
chance on losing some of my respect by halfheartedly rehashing A Link to the
Past's world in A Link Between Worlds. Instead, A Link Between Worlds only
reinforced that respect by tweaking the Zelda formula in a great way and
setting itself in a comfortably familiar overworld to ease the change.
Has Zelda earned your respect as much as it has
mine? Do you agree with my reasons for respecting it? Do you perhaps find
anything dishonorable about the series? Feel free to discuss these things and
more in the comments!