Articles

Fan Made Majora’s Mask

MariFebruary 24th, 2014 by Mari

Preview There are so many artists that have made awesome versions of Majora’s Mask, yet this campaign for a Kickstarter by Camille Young is by far the most creative. Camille has created “Oni” masks, meaning devil or demon from Japanese literature. The masks resemble Majora’s Mask and are made from resin that she casted and carved herself! She has gathered a group of artists to paint their own wearable Majora’s Masks with their own style! The masks even have a black mesh in the corner of the eyes so that whoever is wearing the mask will be able to see. She is planning on selling blank and painted Oni masks by different artists on a Kickstarter that should be coming soon. Hit the jump to see final versions of the masks!

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Capture A little over a year ago, a channel on YouTube called BaruchFilms released a highly popular short film based on the Legend of Zelda, called ESCAPE. The director of the video has now released his announcement video for a feature-length adaptation of ESCAPE, called PRINCESS IN ANOTHER CASTLE.

For all the details, hit the jump and watch the announcement trailer!

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320px-super_smash_bros_4_merged_logo_no_subtitle_7136 Nintendo is once again bringing trophy collecting back as an element of the latest Super Smash Bros. games on Wii U and 3DS. This news was brought to our attention through a post to Miiverse from Masahiro Sakurai, with the first revealed trophy of the 3DS version: Ocarina of Time’s own Saria.

Hit the jump to see the whole Miiverse post!

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Living for the Future Here and Now

The Wind Waker from The Legend of Zelda series is known for being a game with a message. It is a tale of letting go of the past and washing away the bitterness of regret. A tale of not being held back by the circumstances of the present and living for the future to come.

However, The Wind Waker goes further than it is often given credit. The game conveys that life is not about simply remaining optimistic, but also that direct and proactive action must be taken to seize the desired future.

The Wind Waker also makes a distinction between truly earning the future of your dreams and trying to take it by force out of jealousy. The game uses the Kingdom of Hyrule as a metaphor for the ideal paradise, both the paradise that has been lost to the past and the paradise yet to be obtained in the future.

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Legend of Zelda rubber duckies

JenDecember 15th, 2013 by Jen

zii Link DuckThe website, Only Duck has been making custom made rubber duckies for a little over four years now. The creators have transformed many rubber ducks, including Sherlock Holmes, Doctor Who (or Ducktor Who), The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, and much more! So what does this have to do with The Legend of Zelda? Read more to find out!

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Queen Gohma artwork

JenDecember 8th, 2013 by Jen

queen gohmaQueen Gohma is a famous Zelda boss. Her first main appearance in Ocarina of Time led to a similar boss in Twilight Princess called Armoghoma. Even though Queen Gohma is an enemy, that doesn’t stop people from creating fantastic pieces of artwork inspired by her!

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Forza 5 Wind Waker Car

JenNovember 29th, 2013 by Jen

windwaker carForza 5 is a game about cars and racing. The new game for Xbox One only came out a few days ago, but already people have found an interesting way to put a little Zelda spin on it. Jump in to read more!

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17. The Legend of Zelda - A Link Between WorldsBefore the release of A Link Between Worlds, everybody was speculating where it took place on the official timeline. We knew from the fact that it was a sequel to A Link to the Past that it was set after it on the Downfall Timeline, and when we were told that it was a new generation of Link and Zelda and that the game was set centuries after A Link to the Past we all assumed that it must therefore be set after Link’s Awakening but before The Legend of Zelda. But according to some fans, A Link Between Worlds messes a few things up with this assumed placement. Now, Nintendo of America has released a Tweet that confirms A Link Between Worlds‘ timeline placement. Hit the jump to find out!

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EB Games Australia suffers preorder problems

CameronNovember 23rd, 2013 by Cameron

EB Games logoIt’s happened before, it’ll happen again, and it’s happening now: a game retailer taking too many preorders and not having enough stock to fulfill these orders. Hit the jump to find out what’s being done to remedy the situation this time.

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Is Staying Spoiler Free Worth it?

AdenNovember 21st, 2013 by Aden

dark world

In an age where information spreads like wildfire on the internet, it’s easier than ever to keep up to date on the latest news related to unreleased games; for example, all the information on A Link Between Worlds! But is there a point where you can know too much about a game before it’s released? When does it start to actually affect your experience when you actually get to play it? Click the jump to find out!

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A-Link-Between-Worlds-Scene-Art-5 As we get closer and closer to the release of A Link Between Worlds, more and more sites are getting their hands on review copies of the game. Reviews have been nothing but good, with Game Informer going so far as to give it a 10/10! Well, I’ve got news for you, Destructoid is here to kill that streak. Just kidding!

Hit the jump to see what Destructoid had to say!

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Top 15 Cases of Nightmare Fuel in Zelda

Axle the BeastOctober 25th, 2013 by Axle the Beast

Halloween’s just around the corner, so I thought it was a good time to tackle a certain lovely little article topic: The top examples of “nightmare fuel” in Zelda. While this term can have a broader meaning that applies to anything scary or nightmare-inducing, I’m going with a specific version. In short, I’m covering things that were never meant to be scary, or scary to this degree, but certainly become highly disturbing when you think about them. I suppose you can look at it as fuel for nightmares as opposed to the stuff of nightmares! Creepypasta Wiki describes it best:

Sometimes, things that were never meant to be scary, end up being scary anyways. This notion is universally familiar to anyone who was ever scared by a toy, book, cartoon or whatever as a child, and because of such frightening experiences at such a young age, these can be just as, if not scarier than, the latest blockbuster horror movie. This is what we like to call “Nightmare Fuel.”

Not everything on this list was intended to be completely pleasant from the get-go, and in fact a few were supposed to be at least freaky, but in those cases I’m including them for the sake of their added horror factor when examined too closely. So, without further ado, let’s get to my top 15!

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Facing the Mistakes of Your Past

One of the chief strengths of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time is the contrast it makes between the worlds of childhood and adulthood. From a gameplay perspective there are differences in the inventory Link can utilize and the locations he can reach, as well as changes in the world and the characters around him.

On a thematic level, perhaps the game’s starkest contrast is that of childhood as a time of innocent and ignorant mistakes, compared to adulthood as a time of responsibility to face the consequences of our past actions.

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Before Skyward Sword, when Nintendo first showed us the fabulous Ghirahim, I wrote an article analyzing him and proposing possibilities as to who he might be. Now that we’ve had a similar reveal for A Link Between Worlds, I thought I’d do the same for the new villain. Maybe I’m making an assumption calling him the villain, but I can’t see any way he’s not! Aside from his obviously-villainous creepy face, this character’s key trait is that he looks like a clown or jester; the pants and shoes are like those you might see on a jester, he has the bright-colored hair and red lipstick of a clown, and his shirt and scepter also bring to mind a jester. He reminds me of Kefka Palazzo from Final Fantasy VI, and no matter who or what he is I imagine he’ll be a similar villain: A twisted psychopath, but also with some dark humor.

I have four possibilities I’d like to discuss for this villain, and they’re not necessarily mutually exclusive; if he’s any of these, he might be several! The possibilities are as follows:

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Zelda and Mythology: Dragons

Axle the BeastSeptember 27th, 2013 by Axle the Beast

This one was inevitable; I mean, what are dragons if not the single most well-known and popular mythical creature around? They show up all the time in modern fantasy stories and ancient myths alike, appearing in the beliefs and myths of many cultures worldwide. It seems everyone’s into large winged lizards with a little feline grace. Zelda, too, has an abundance of dragons, and more importantly their presence is rather obvious and not obscured like a lot of mythological elements in the series I’ve discussed. Their likeness and name alone have appeared quite often, from dungeons like the Dragon labyrinth in the original game and the Dancing Dragon Dungeon from Oracle of Seasons, to enemies who resemble them like the Ra from Adventure of Link. The term “dragon” can be traced back to words in Greek and Latin that denoted any large serpent, not just the creatures we now know as dragons.

What’s important to note is that there are two main variations of dragons: European and Chinese. The European dragons are the quadruped, bat-winged, spiky varieties most people are used to. European dragons were almost always evil until their appearances in modern fantasy, and of course were known for wreaking havoc, hording treasure, and making their home in caves. The Chinese dragon, on the other hand, is benevolent and even royal, used as a symbol by the emperor as they represent power, strength and good luck.

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Adding Detail and Believability to Zelda Worlds

Axle the BeastSeptember 13th, 2013 by Axle the Beast

One of the main things I’ve always wanted to see changed about the Zelda series is the level of detail the worlds in its games have. More so than some other adventure games I’ve played, Zelda has a tendency to have areas that feel… like they’re from a video game. I realize there are multiple confusing elements to that statement. The bottom line is that there’s usually two extreme kinds of video game: Arcade, and simulation. Arcade-style games don’t feel realistic at all, and instead they feel like they’re designed entirely to be a game. Simulation games mimic real life as much as possible. And then, of course, there’s everything in-between. Zelda has never been purely one or the other, but to me it’s always leaned more into the arcade category.

I suspect this is one of the reasons for disliking the series for many of its critics: That its environments and characters and general interactions tend to feel like those out of a video game, with clipped dialogue and locations that feel purely like products of game-design and not a believable world, something that the adventure genre seems to be moving away from these days. I wouldn’t know if that’s the prevailing reason the series is criticized or not since I’ve loved the Zelda series since I got introduced to it, but I do know that, as a Zelda fan, this is one weakness I always felt could be improved without damaging how conducive the series always has been for just plain old fun gameplay. I’ll elaborate throughout this article and talk about how I would apply this additional detail — and therefore more believability — to three specific aspects of any Zelda world.

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Everything We Know About The Wind Waker HD

JessicaSeptember 10th, 2013 by Jessica

tww-hd-gamescom-1-690x388 copyWith just a few weeks left to go until the release of The Wind Waker HD, along with these past few months comprised of emerging details, changes, interviews, bundles, and release dates, there may have been a handful of details you might have missed out on. And just in case you have, we’re here to fill you in on exactly everything we know.

Announced back in January this year on a Nintendo Direct, we anxiously awaited news of a brand new Zelda Wii U game, only to be surprised with a remake of The Wind Waker, in full out HD. Fortunately, anyone who never had the chance to experience the original Wind Waker on the GameCube as well as returning veterans, won’t be missing out on much thanks to both various improvements and installments for an overall enhanced experience on the Wii U. Hit the jump for all the details we know! Read more…

Escaping the Rule of Three

GaroXiconAugust 30th, 2013 by GaroXicon

Nintendo loves the number three. I can’t say I blame them; it’s a magic number, after all. When we think about sets, about grouping things together, there’s a sort of bizarre, inexplicable attraction to the number three. Movie franchises with only three films are exceptionally common, to the point that we even have a word for a set of three movies: Trilogy (the term “duology,” which is a set of two connected films or similar works, is hardly ever used, so sets of three tend to be seen as more important than sets of two). In some cases, franchises with more than three movies are still grouped into multiple sets of trilogies — look no further than the Original and Prequel Trilogies that comprise the Star Wars franchise. Movies themselves often follow a “three-act structure,” in conventional screenwriting wisdom.

Gaming, too, is not immune from the bizarre fixation on the number three, but it takes on a new form within the gameplay of many series. It’s called the “Rule of Three,” and refers to the tendency of game design to both group similar tasks into sets of three and require three repetitions of a singular task in order to accomplish a goal. For instance, in most Mario games, defeating a boss requires attacking their weak spot — usually by jumping on their head — three separate times. The Rule of Three isn’t an actual rule, but rather a coincidental tendency of game design to reflect the real fascination with the number. There is no concrete understanding of why the human mind tends to sort and group things in threes, but game design has embraced that tendency nonetheless. It’s a number that doesn’t feel too excessive, but nor does it feel too small. Hitting a boss three times as opposed to two (which would feel like too few) or four (which may feel like too many) can make a significant difference in the feel and flow of the game, so the Rule of Three is a good rule of thumb for these sorts of things.

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Despite my general opposition to remakes, recent news has even me a bit excited about The Wind Waker HD. Faster sailing, a reworked Triforce quest, increased Pictobox capacity, but mostly a new Hero Mode like that of Skyward Sword’s… Finally this game is confirmed to have some new additions that make me excited about it. That said, there are also a number of things missing from it. The Wind Waker is my least-favorite Zelda game and if I were to list off all the things I’d “fix” about it, we’d be talking a much more drastic overhaul than we’re seeing with The Wind Waker HD. As such, this list will only include additions that fall in line with the degree of the changes we’ve already seen announced; they’re additions I think could have easily been fit in with the collection of changes that the remake already features.

While unannounced additions to the remake may include entries on this list, I think further major announcements are unlikely with the release date so near. And hey, if anything on this list is announced, then consider that wish satisfied! So, without further ado, here’s my list of additions that should have been in The Wind Waker HD:

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The Evolution of Zelda Music

DjinnAugust 16th, 2013 by Djinn

800px-Oracle_of_Ages_Artwork_2The Legend of Zelda series, like many of the popular NES games of the 80′s, has expanded into newer territory and evolved with its gameplay, mechanics, and rich mythology. One of the most notable aspects of the series that has continued to change and evolve is its music. What began as an ordinary soundtrack that played along with the game just as any other at the time gained a high level of popularity as the series progressed. As later games came along, that popularity grew and grew, leading to that music’s transformation into a major game mechanic and, beyond that, a traveling concert. Fans enjoy more than the game, they enjoy the music and replaying its tracks themselves.

The main theme of the original Legend of Zelda was no less memorable than that of other major releases at the time, and soon became synonymous with the series. After a while, people easily recognized the tune even if they were not altogether familiar with the game. And some time later, the series evolved and placed more emphasis on music, with more themes to accompany more regions, then personal themes to accompany the characters. With no voice-acting present in the game, music became a very prominent element; moods are set with the tone of the music supplementing the text-only dialog. And in certain games, playing instruments, or just the presence of certain themes, began to have serious involvement with the gameplay and story.

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Quest_Story_4Indie developer Bertil Hörberg, best known for the iOS, Android and 3DS action platformer Gunman Clive, has a new game on the way. Much like how his last title, a western-themed side-scroller with stylized brown-tinted backdrops, borrowed many ideas from classic Mega Man, his next work seems to be a full-out tribute to The Legend of Zelda on NES.

Hit the jump to see how much this indie 3DS title resembles the very first game in Nintendo’s storied fantasy adventure series.

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Art styles are a pretty big deal among Zelda fans, but, while I have touched on the subject before in various articles and videos, I’ve never really dedicated an entire article to the topic. Until now that is. I’ve made no secret in the past of my general disappointment with Twilight Princess — I don’t hate the game by any means, but it did disappoint me when compared to most other Zelda games — and one of the biggest reasons for that was its art style. Now, a lot of people forget this but Twilight Princess did not have full-on realism; plenty of the aspects of past games’ anime style still show through in Twilight Princess, and there’s still familiar elements in the art style. But I don’t think anyone’s going to argue that it’s not the closest thing that exists right now to a realistic Zelda game.

“So what? The real world’s made of realism!” you might be yelling at your monitor. So, what is wrong with realism in the Zelda series? One of the arguments I’ve always made is that Zelda itself isn’t realistic; it’s a whimsical fantasy series with a lot of quirky elements. It’s kid-friendly, light-hearted, and stylized. It’s been that way since day one, with looks ranging from the stylized drawings of the early 2D games, the anime-inspired look of the N64 titles and Skyward Sword, and the cartoon style of The Wind Waker and the DS games. This is the tone and style that I identify the series with. Twilight Princess is the only game to break this mold — some would say Majora’s Mask did too, but I’ll get to that later — and while I wouldn’t mind a non-traditional title here and there, the idea that future games should use this style bothers me.

However, there’s certainly room for arguments against this notion of mine. For example: Realism can be whimsical too. For all the dark drama or horror live-action movies, you also have silly comedies and, well, fantasy movies! Twilight Princess isn’t automatically less whimsical because of its heightened realism, but rather because of its darker tone and duller, minimally colorful world. If there were a realistic Zelda game that did not drop the colors and make things as serious for as much of the game, there’s a good chance I wouldn’t regard it like I do Twilight Princess.

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Majora’s Mask is unquestionably a classic. It was released more than a decade ago on a console that’s now firmly cemented in people’s memories. It was the sequel to one of Nintendo’s greatest success stories, and it has been hailed by the fanbase as one of the greatest titles in its series — praise that’s not unwarranted considering its quality.

Considering its age and status, and the fact that it was only the eighth Zelda game ever released in what is now a 15-game series, it might also be tempting to think of it as a relic of a bygone era of Zelda games. There is, however, a fine line between the recently-released Skyward Sword and the classic Majora’s Mask, and it’s a line that seems to grow thinner the more we look into some of the fundamental ideas in these Zelda titles. A few weeks ago, I wrote about how instrumental Link’s Awakening was to the development of stories in Zelda games. If that’s the case, the transformation to the “modern” Zelda style may well have been fully realized over a decade ago.

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I think New Hyrule on the Adult Timeline would be the ideal setting for the next major Zelda release on home console. This is a sentiment I’ve expressed before on the Curiosity Shop, but I haven’t gone in-detail about it before now. New Hyrule is the land settled by Link and Tetra after The Wind Waker and Phantom Hourglass, featured as the main setting of Spirit Tracks. I think there’s plenty of potential for this setting in another game. Before I get to explaining why, realize I don’t necessarily mean to limit this future game to the locations we saw in Spirit Tracks. There’s more potential for the setting and it’s concept than what we saw in one game, as I will get into.

Breaking Convention: New Setting, No Expectations

My first major reason ties directly into what little we know about Zelda Wii U right now. Zelda Wii U is going to be about breaking conventions. Specifically, Aonuma has discussed making the dungeon order more open and making it so there’s a way to interact with other players. The idea of breaking convention, and trying different things, would make New Hyrule a thematically perfect setting; though we have seen it in one game already, it’s still a new land, and largely uncharted territory.

While The Wind Waker ended with the idea that Link and Tetra would find and pioneer a new land, neither Phantom Hourglass nor Spirit Tracks really capitalized on the concept; Spirit Tracks simply took place within a pre-discovered land. The idea of an uncharted new continent is still an unexplored concept, ripe for use in Zelda Wii U and other future games.

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The last article I wrote began with a call to arms for Nintendo. They were being left behind in the new culture of gaming, I said, because of their reliance on gameplay to the detriment of their story. I pitched a grand vision of a single Link’s tale concluding in the upcoming game A Link Between Worlds. I talked about how they should allow that story to connect with the gameplay by allowing players to traverse a Hyrule changed since the events of A Link to the Past, and allow players to experience the strangeness of being in a familiar but changed land just as Link does in the game’s story.

Further information has since come out that has made that possibly less likely (though still possible, and I continue to hope!), as it was confirmed that A Link Between Worlds is not a direct sequel. Though it was received with muttering and minimal discussion, I fear that this news is yet another symptom of a sickness that has been plaguing the Zelda franchise for quite some time now. This sickness is the reason for the franchise dropping out of mainstream gaming conversation. This sickness, I believe, is responsible for the disappointing sales of Skyward Sword.

Today, we’re going to talk about just what this sickness is, why it’s affecting the franchise, and how the franchise can cure itself of the affliction.

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Past and Future: Time in the Zelda Series

Justac00lguyJune 28th, 2013 by Justac00lguy

Time is concept that is very common within the Legend of Zelda series; with 16 installments over 27 years, the series has brought us a total of six games which have used the idea of time in some manner. Time has also played a factor in the grand scheme of Zelda in the form of the timeline itself. Ocarina of Time has three alternate outcomes — two of which were a consequence of Princess Zelda sending Link back in time to relive his childhood — thus the infamous timeline split was created. So one could say that time has played a pretty big role in the Zelda series, and this is what I would like to explore within this article. Basically, I’m going to go through the main ways that time has been utilized, make my analysis, and finally, come to a conclusion on how I think time could be used in the next installment.

Progression and Contrast

Let’s start with the idea of progression, an important factor in any game with a good plot and which works hand in hand with the concept of time. As time generally flows in a set, linear direction, so does the world we live in. Essentially, through time we see the physical contrast between one set of events and the next. Now, time itself is a rather controversial topic, but from looking through many definitions (and I mean many) I decided what I believe time is:

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Top 10 Zelda Foes That Could Use Expansion

Axle the BeastJune 21st, 2013 by Axle the Beast

In a series like Zelda, with so many foes of every variety — villains, bosses, and regular enemies — it’s no surprise that not all of them are that well fleshed-out. The vast majority of bosses are never elaborated upon, though even as early as A Link to the Past you had a boss with an actual backstory in Blind. The villains, while they often have plenty of story details to their name, can also tend to be very simplistic and lack much depth. And, while nobody really expects a big story out of the regular foes (complex motivations for Chuchus, anyone?), you do occasionally see enemies that feel like they could merit their own story.

These are my top 10 foes of any sort that I feel could use expansion in the future, or at least could have been expanded more in their original game. So, without further ado:

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Zelda stories have changed.

You could make the argument that many follow the same framework, with a princess being captured at some point, a villain wreaking havoc, and a world to save. Medallions or other relics might play a role in unlocking something somewhere.

However, you could also take a look first at the original, 8-bit Legend of Zelda, where most of the character interaction consisted of talking to old men who were disconnected from the rest of the world, and then at Majora’s Mask, packed to the brim with individual characters who have individual experiences, most of which help explain the overarching plot in some way. The games have advanced little in terms of character and plot development from there, but they haven’t had to. That said, Majora’s Mask was building on the already-strong characters of Ocarina of Time, which on turn must have built on something else.

There had to be a lynchpin, something which laid the foundation for storytelling in the series at large.

I often hear that Ocarina of Time is just A Link to the Past in 3D. This may be true, if you judge Zelda stories only by their framework. It hits on many of the same plot points, and even features some similar locations and stories. I’ve always wondered, though, why the game between A Link to the Past and Ocarina of Time is so often excluded from this discussion. After all, Ocarina of Time did a significantly better job of world-building — of making Hyrule feel like a living, breathing place — than its console predecessor.

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The Gorons: Mechanics of Life

Din AkeraJune 7th, 2013 by Din Akera

Outlining the biology of Zelda races is an exciting and daunting task. After my previous article regarding the biology of the Gerudo, I have gone deeper into this study and have developed biological theories on the Goron race as well. Gorons have appeared in every Zelda game released after their first appearance in Ocarina of Time — with the exception of Four Swords — and this provides us with a lot of material to examine in attempting to understand the biological make-up of the Goron body, its reproduction, and the evolution of the species. The following are my studies and theories about the biology of the Goron race.

Data Collected

General Description:

Gorons appear to be made of rock and have been consistently referred to as a race of “rock people”. This has been stated by several characters, such as Mayor Bo in Twilight Princess:

“Strong as you are, though, you can’t hope to beat the Gorons wrestlin’ with power alone. Those Gorons are made of rock!”

Gorons are generally found in mountainous areas, usually situated near a volcano or geothermal heat source. Many appear identical, though there are some exceptions with unique physical traits different from others in their communities. The majority appear to be of average Hylian height, but much broader throughout the arms and core body structure. This size and body structure gives Gorons great physical strength. Their legs are usually quite small in comparison to the rest of their body, and seem to limit walking. Their main mode of transportation, therefore, appears to be curling into a ball and rolling.

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Speculating on the Villain of Zelda 3DS

Axle the BeastMay 31st, 2013 by Axle the Beast

The only details we know about the story for the recently-announced sequel to A Link to the Past are that it will be related to its predecessor, take place in the same version of Hyrule, and that the Dark World will reappear. Considering the series’ track record and other factors, there are three possibilities for the villain that I find likely, which I will discuss here. They are certainly not the only candidates, but they make more sense than other options.

Whoever the villain is likely to be, however, I think the villain will be:

An Indistinct Foe

The vast majority of Zelda games have villains who operate in a physical way and are well-understood for most of the game’s story. In virtually every Zelda game in which he appears, Ganon or his followers are physical forces within the world who directly command armies or use powerful abilities against Hyrule and Link. Most of Ganon’s appearences, as well as characters like Onox, Vaati, and Ghirahim, are like this. But there are also foes that are more indistinct. I’m not talking about characters who manipulate rather than attack; Veran, despite being a possessor who only fights directly at the end of the story, is still largely a physical force who might switch bodies but always acts like any other villain while in those bodies. Ganon in both A Link to the Past and Twilight Princess is similar to this in how he’s unseen for a while but still acts directly through a proxy; both characters still carry a physical presence regardless of more nonphysical talents they may possess.

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Let’s talk about stories.

To those of you familiar with my article work on this site, you will know that I have a deep passion for storytelling, and specifically, story structure. I’ve written about the monomyth — or, as it is more commonly called, the “Hero’s Journey” — and how this literary phenomenon is reflected within the Zelda series. I’ve talked at length about Joseph Campbell’s theories and their pertinence to both the series and video gaming at large. It is safe to say that most of my work here has been an exploration of storytelling in the Zelda series, and I would venture to say that I am one of the most ardent defenders of the series in this respect.

That said: Nintendo, it’s time to step it up. Gaming has evolved, and on the whole, the medium is maturing at a rate far faster than you are. Storytelling in games has reached new heights, with behemoth titles like Journey (another game I’ve talked about here) and BioShock Infinite doing some exciting things with the medium in ways both new and conventional. Games aren’t just about gameplay anymore; they’ve turned into a versatile and powerful storytelling medium. And, Nintendo, you’re being left behind.

But not all is lost. Long have you been the titan of gameplay, the company that manages to make games fun even when their stories are inane or razor thin. You can retain that crown while moving forward into gaming’s new future as a storytelling giant. You have the perfect opportunity sitting in front of you, too: A Link to the Past 2.

This is a call to arms. This is a humble, but passionate, pitch for pushing your own storytelling forward, Nintendo. Today, I am going to talk once again about the Hero’s Journey, and how you have a wonderful chance to use this new game, this new chapter in a legendary franchise, to tell a fantastic story that you’ve already been telling. You just didn’t know you were telling it.

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Making the Most of Zelda’s Gameplay

JuicieJMay 17th, 2013 by JuicieJ

Gameplay is without a doubt the most important feature of a Zelda game. Nearly every release has emphasized it over every other aspect — with the exception of Twilight Princess, which was designed to be a more cinematic experience — and rightfully so. Gameplay is the main feature of video games in general. The interactivity video games provide is something that no other visual medium can hope to recreate, making it an important factor in any video game, even if story is a major part of the identity of some games (such as the Metal Gear Solid franchise). There’s no way around it; if the gameplay of a Zelda game suffers, then the most fulfilling part of the experience is shot. This means developers must attempt to provide gamers with polished and fleshed-out mechanics when developing a new title. But what exactly does it take to achieve a goal like that? What must a Zelda game have in order to make its core gameplay a success? In this article, I’ll be presenting my thoughts on that very topic. I’ll be going over specific features that I feel Zelda needs the most for its core gameplay to be at its finest and will provide examples from various Zelda titles to help get my points across. I’ll start with what I feel is the most important thing for the Zelda series to get right.

Combat

First and foremost, the combat needs to have solid design. Stimulating combat is an absolute must-have for any game with lots of action in it, and Zelda obviously meets that criteria. There are two features that I believe need to be present for Zelda’s combat to be at its best, and they are as follows:

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Zelda games could use some RPG elements. Some might argue that Zelda games already have RPG elements; Skyward Sword showcased an increased focus on character customization, and Zelda games have traditionally been confused for RPGs. However, in Zelda games, the focus has always been on adventure. Proper implementation of RPG elements would supplement the adventure elements and wouldn’t undermine them. Since the developers of Zelda games have traditionally been good at incorporating new elements, this change can be significant or conservative, but I have no doubt it could work. Given recent trends in gaming at large, the time may be right.

It’s probably best to define what an RPG is before delving into this topic. Opinions on what is and isn’t an RPG differ, but for the sake of this article, I’ll define it as:

a system of gameplay based on character stats.

This is incredibly vague, but that’s good; it’s vague enough to encompass everything that can be reasonably considered an RPG without including strictly adventure games. It can also explain RPG systems incorporated in non-RPG games, like Metroidvanias.

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Zelda and Mythology: Psychopomps

Axle the BeastMay 3rd, 2013 by Axle the Beast

“Psychopomp” is a really funny-sounding word that simply refers to a figure or entity who escorts deceased souls to the afterlife. Each psychopomp has different rules, behavior, treatment or transportation of souls, and indeed even send them to different afterlives. With legends about what happens when people die being so prominent in religions both old and new, it should be no surprise that the Zelda series takes a lot of influence from the many psychopomps featured in them.

While of course the Grim Reaper is the most well-known psychopomp, there are many others. For example Epona and the some of the Tuatha Dé Danann, both of which I discussed in my article about Celtic mythology in Zelda, have been identified as psychopomps at different points. The goddess Epona and her horses are believed to have lead souls in a ride to the afterlife, and several beings who are sometimes considered to be among the Tuatha Dé Danann race, such as Manannán mac Lir and The Morrígan, are said to perform psychopomp duties as well.

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I’ve gone on the record as saying that Majora’s Mask is my favorite game of all-time. While that has changed recently (blame Bioshock Infinite), it remains one of my favorites and the single best game in the Zelda series by my vote. I could explain at great length the many reasons why that is, but what all of them boil down to is that the game is so wonderfully enigmatic, so incredibly intriguing in so many ways, that I can sit down and play the game with fresh eyes almost every time, seeing new things and having new ideas as I play through it.

The last time I did this, it struck me that Majora’s Mask is a wonderful example of two opposing academic theories that spread across multiple fields: Structuralism and post-structuralism. What really intrigued me was the way the game tackled these theories: It constructs an elaborate structuralist frame through which it addresses post-structuralist themes, despite the fact that these two theories are usually always completely opposed to one another. Let’s examine these two theories and see how Majora’s Mask uses them to develop its themes.

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