That’s right. We’re going back to the roots of one of gaming’s most popular franchises. The original NES title, The Legend of Zelda will be the focus of this week’s RetroNight. We’ll be talking about this one in a more unique way, as while it was a truly revolutionary game by the standards of the time, it doesn’t hold up when measured against the principles of modern game design. Yet even still, this may not be a bad thing.
The original Zelda game centers around Link, of course, as he explores an open map, taking on a vast and intimidating world, challenging dungeon after dungeon on his path to defeat the evil Pig Wizard Ganon. As I’m sure one could imagine, this was a far cry from the vivid, technologically advanced world of the upcoming Breath of the Wild.
This game was very different from the conventions of the series today, as it managed to veer much more towards the open-world style of what is commonly associated with Western RPGs of today.
While it absolutely cemented the adventure game genre in a major new way, The Legend of Zelda had a very vague game flow. There were shops, which housed most of the materials you needed to get through dungeons, and yet those shops themselves were closed off unless you had access to certain materials from other shops.
The environment wasn’t particularly variant, with NES graphics being pretty limited for the time. Yet still, this game managed to capture people’s eyes? Why?
The Legend of Zelda really isn’t a game you need to beat to enjoy. It has incredibly advanced combat, exploration, inventory systems, and so much more. It’s a real testament to what can happen when a game is decades ahead of its time. We don’t love Zelda because it reflects the linearity of modern games, we love it because it set a precedent for a different type of game, and still managed to be a quality experience all the same.
The Legend of Zelda is available on the Wii U and Nintendo 3DS Virtual Consoles.