What Makes Zelda Great
23 Nov 2008 — by Alpha
The Legend of Zelda is an absolutely amazing series of games, as I'm sure everyone who visits this or other Zelda sites would happily agree to. It's been ten years since I started playing Zelda games myself; I too am one of the people entered the land of legends for the first time while playing Ocarina of Time. So the ten year anniversary certainly holds a special significance for me, as I'm sure it does for many fans of the series.
Ten years later, I find myself here, a member of the Zelda online community, writing countless stories and articles about little details that few people, if anyone at all, would care about. My friends and family members can only shrug and sigh whenever I find someone to discuss the Zelda timeline with, or when someone says they never played The Wind Waker because of the graphics (I don't think anyone online has ever seen me as angry as I can get during one of those conversations).
But after all that time, they've also managed to figure out the question to ask in order to get me to shut up. Because this is the Zelda question that I've never been able to answer:
"So Alpha . . . which of the games is your favorite?"
* * *
That's it. That's the one question I have no answer for, simply because I love playing each of the games. Some more than others, of course, but even so I absolutely cannot narrow down the choice to less than five options.
It's been ten years since I played my first Zelda game. It's time that I figured out the answer to that question, don't you think? I sure do. But that leads to a second question . . . how do you decide on your favorite?
A lot of people will say Ocarina. Heck, almost anyone you talk to will say OoT’s the best, and that fact is what always stops me from saying it – am I saying OoT because it really is my favorite, or because I want to go with popular opinion? Another one often picked is A Link to the Past, and while I do indeed love me the good many dungeons and quests given in that game I have to wonder if it’s the best. The original Legend of Zelda is also a good one because it’s the first – and therefore, some could reasonably say the most original of them all. Or perhaps Twilight Princess, the newest 3-D title that I spent whole days searching for new info about on the web while waiting for its release. And then there are the minorities that would choose games like Majora’s Mask, The Wind Waker, or even The Adventure of Link. We’ve got fourteen different Zelda games to choose from, and each has elements that make it #1 in someone’s eye.
Many can make the choice by some innate sense. They may not realize the reason, but they can pick out their favorite game in a heartbeat. I, unfortunately, am not one of those people. I have never been good at making decisions, nor do I have skill at criticizing things for their faults – so not only do I have trouble trying to choose in the first place, but I also miss most of the negative points that would cause me to dismiss a game from the lineup.
That's too bad, you say, but how does this affect me? How in Hyrule do you intend to make a series of articles on the subject of how you can't make a decision to save your life?
A very good question! I applaud you for asking it – so much so that I'm actually going to give you an answer! *le gasp!*
The negatives are only one half of the equation, right? For every negative in a Zelda game, there are countless positives that turn them into the classics that the series is renown for. But each title does have certain qualities that they excel at – certain aspects that they do better than all the others. In my thus-far-neverending search for the answer to that dreaded question, I have stumbled across the concept that maybe, just maybe, I can find what I seek by comparing what the games do right and figuring out which of these great aspects I find the most amazing.
So that's how this series is going to work: every article we'll be looking at a different Zelda game (or games, as I plan to combine the Oracles, as well as FS/FSA. We'll see how it goes) and trying to figure out what the game does best. At the end of it all, we'll be able to look back and see 14 different aspects of the games that make them into Zelda classics. Maybe I won't be the only one who figures out which Zelda game is their favorite based on what these articles discuss.
Every month I'll start a topic in the TDC forums asking for people to comment on what they think the game chosen for the next article does best – how it outshines other Zelda games in certain areas. And I'll use the ideas presented there in the next article. Therefore we won't be studying a game this time; next month we'll start off by looking over the first game in the series: the original Legend of Zelda. I'll start up a forum topic soon, and feel free to reply here as well if you want.
Until then, this is Alpha, signing off to go do . . . stuff!
by KamakaziPlumber @ 24 Nov 2008 07:03 am
by ZeldaVeteran @ 24 Nov 2008 03:35 pm