2018/4/29: Game Boy Color: Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening DX

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Retro STrife
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Re: 2018/4/29: Game Boy Color: Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening DX

Postby Retro STrife » May 4th, 2018, 11:24 pm

Sut wrote:Sorry I just don’t get the fuss. I’ve tried playing this game got stuck, bored and gave up.

I’ve said it before I find it baffling how high North American based gamers rate Zelda. Of the Zelda games I’ve tried to play they have all left me feeling ‘meh’. Granted I’ve only tried the original, this and Ocarina but none of them have gripped me enough to want to complete them.

I said it in another thread either I’m not getting something or Zelda and Nintendo IP’s in general are sacrosanct in NA. I generally put it down to Nintendo being the only gig in town in America for a number of years.


As I've said before, I'm with you on this Sut, despite being from the US. But don't look at the NES Zelda games as the source of the US's obsession with the series. In my opinion, Ocarina of Time was when the series fandom really boomed. My guess is that a large percentage of Zelda fans have never even played the pre-Ocarina games. And I bet very very few have played the NES Zelda games, or at best played them briefly out of curiosity.

It's hard to say how it happened, but, for whatever reason, there is something about Zelda that transcends the games themselves. In nerd culture, Zelda is like the video game equivalent of Star Wars (or Harry Potter books, or Batman comics, etc.). Good movie for sure, but no one in their right mind would say that Star Wars is objectively the best movie ever made... yet millions of people will tell you it's their favorite movie, and it's probably the most popular movie franchise in the world. But if you're not one of those crazed Star Wars fans, then you watch the movies and wonder: "Ok, that was a solid movie, but for the life of me I cannot understand how people are obsessed with this." Zelda is the same way... No one can quite put their finger on it, but something about it hypnotizes gamers into loving it, growing attached and developing a bond with it, and then thinking it's even better than it really is..while the non-spellbound among us just stand around and wonder what everyone else is drooling over.

Still, I don't have any problem with regular gamers loving the series like they do. My only beef is with all of the professional gaming media drooling over Zelda games -- that bothers me because they're supposed to view games objectively, and instead I feel like they've been pumping out inflated Zelda review scores for almost 20 years now.

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Stalvern
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Re: 2018/4/29: Game Boy Color: Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening DX

Postby Stalvern » May 5th, 2018, 4:17 am

Retro STrife wrote:As I've said before, I'm with you on this Sut, despite being from the US. But don't look at the NES Zelda games as the source of the US's obsession with the series. In my opinion, Ocarina of Time was when the series fandom really boomed. My guess is that a large percentage of Zelda fans have never even played the pre-Ocarina games. And I bet very very few have played the NES Zelda games, or at best played them briefly out of curiosity.

The thing about Ocarina of Time is that just about everyone with an N64 played it, whereas the NES and SNES installments had far less ubiquity. For one thing, the N64 had a much more limited library of games, so big names like Ocarina of Time and Banjo-Kazooie had scarce competition, and for another, Ocarina of Time was a much bigger deal in its own right than any Zelda game before it. Link was the face of the N64 in the late '90s even more than Cloud or Snake was that of the PlayStation - Ocarina of Time preorders more than tripled previous industry records.

Ocarina of Time's overnight attraction of its monolithic following had some pretty stupid effects over the coming years. The hullabaloo over "Celda" purportedly ruining Zelda's "maturity" when The Wind Waker was announced would have been unthinkable if the excitable fanboys involved had ever laid eyes on the equally cartoonish A Link to the Past. This is also why Twilight Princess got such insane hype that a critic was all but crucified for giving it a score of "only" 8.8; it was the first "serious" one since the N64. The series has since managed to find happy tonal and aesthetic compromises with Skyward Sword and Breath of the Wild, but if any game has been canonized as defining Zelda, it's still Ocarina of Time.

Retro STrife wrote:It's hard to say how it happened, but, for whatever reason, there is something about Zelda that transcends the games themselves. In nerd culture, Zelda is like the video game equivalent of Star Wars (or Harry Potter books, or Batman comics, etc.). Good movie for sure, but no one in their right mind would say that Star Wars is objectively the best movie ever made... yet millions of people will tell you it's their favorite movie, and it's probably the most popular movie franchise in the world. But if you're not one of those crazed Star Wars fans, then you watch the movies and wonder: "Ok, that was a solid movie, but for the life of me I cannot understand how people are obsessed with this." Zelda is the same way... No one can quite put their finger on it, but something about it hypnotizes gamers into loving it, growing attached and developing a bond with it, and then thinking it's even better than it really is..while the non-spellbound among us just stand around and wonder what everyone else is drooling over.

What all of these have in common is that they're very basic, easily digested stories that are told with complete sincerity and investment. They have Good Guy underdogs fighting big bad Bad Guys and flashy action set in extravagant locations, but underneath the fluff are very relatable emotions that anyone can connect with, along with the sense that the story matters enough to deserve that connection. The emotions may be simple, but they're crucially real enough that people don't outgrow them after childhood. On the other hand, that simplicity means that they don't offer a whole lot to grown-ups looking for something substantial, so the age when someone is introduced makes a lot of difference.

Ocarina of Time - the Zelda game relevant to the question - is a bit more complicated because, while it's a model example of this kind of storytelling, it's not a story itself but a game that has one. Does the gameplay work on the same level? I'll be honest: I have no idea how anyone could be bored by a game with as much stuff to do and discover as Ocarina of Time, but for the sake of discussion, I'll assume that I and the other 99% of people who have played Ocarina of Time are wrong and that it really isn't all that. Even discounting the quality of the gameplay itself, though, it is undeniably effective in corresponding to the game's intended impressions - everything about how the land of Hyrule is presented and how Link interacts with it emphasizes the scale, physicality, and diversity of a real world, from the open plains that Epona gallops across to the dungeons below and the ever-changing sky above. Link runs, jumps, and climbs not with Mario's cartoonish ease but with the effort of human (Hylian?) weight. His challenges both proceed from and are surmounted with the elements of his environment, whether in obvious cases, like bombing or hammering rocks and navigating water, or in more obliquely devised ones, like a certain use for a chicken that I refuse to spoil here. All of these elements (and many more that I don't have the time, space, or patience to list) work together to put the player into the game's story, and that's not even taking the cutscenes into account. For a game to produce this kind of effect is always impressive, especially on the N64. To a kid, it's nothing short of magic.

In not only presenting a sincere (if not especially substantial) story but in being sincere through the presentation itself, Ocarina of Time captures exactly the kind of escapist draw that popular media so often strive for. Its popularity, and consequently that of the series around it, is only natural.

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Re: 2018/4/29: Game Boy Color: Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening DX

Postby Retro STrife » May 6th, 2018, 9:19 pm

Well said Stalvern. While you said it better, I think we made some similar points - i.e., Zelda is a franchise that manages to make an emotional connection with gamers (much like Stars Wars does for movie goers) in a way that few other games ever have.

If you're one of the gamers who has made that connection with the series, then it elevates the games to a level higher than the gameplay alone could pull off. If it was just a faceless franchise, people might not hold each new Zelda game in such high regard (i.e., Breath of the Wild might be an 8 or 8.5 without the Zelda name). And for people who never make that emotional connection, they see good games, but still can't understand why so many people think Zelda is the greatest thing on earth. I just happen to fall in that latter camp.

One of the few games that probably has close to the same level of fandom as Ocarina of Time is Final Fantasy VII. With FF VII, I have that emotional connection, which probably causes me to look past many of the games flaws and overrate the game in my mind. For people without that, they probably wonder what all the fuss is about. So I'm just as guilty of doing it as Zelda fans. Which, again, is why my beef is only with the gaming media for overrating Zelda games. Movie critics do a pretty good job of fairly rating Star Wars movie... I don't understand why the gaming media is so incapable or afraid of doing the same with Zelda.

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Re: 2018/4/29: Game Boy Color: Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening DX

Postby CaptainCruch » May 10th, 2018, 1:04 pm

I think you reviewed almost every Zelda game by now.... what is your favorite now, VGC? (Mine are still Link's Awakening & A Link Between Worlds. I enjoy 2D Zelda games more than the 3D games).

Games in the Zelda universe you might like to review in the future (expensive, rare, but nog great):
Zelda's Adventure (CD-i): A whole different game than the two other Zelda games, this time in 2D overview. I especially hate the loading time between screens...

Freshly-Picked Tingle's Rosy Rupeeland (Nintendo DS) - This is just weird, I don't know what to say about it...

Not sure if you can review those games though, maybe both of them are EU/Japan only, I'm not sure.

ps. Why not make a special article for site on all the Zelda games you reviewed? (You can also add Link's Crossbow Training)

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Re: 2018/4/29: Game Boy Color: Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening DX

Postby VideoGameCritic » May 10th, 2018, 9:42 pm

I don't think Nintendo will ever top Link to the Past, although Breath of the Wild is close.


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