Posted on December 16 2014 by Theodore Homdrom
Zelda games have been around for 28 years and counting, spanning every single Nintendo handheld and home console. They frequently set a benchmark for graphics and sound for their time. Ocarina of Time brought the series into 3D, and both it and its sequel, Majora’s Mask, are still some of the best looking N64 games. The upcoming Zelda game for the Wii U looks to continue that trend, with eye-popping graphical detail everywhere you look.
Its one thing to be a graphical benchmark when a game first releases. It’s quite another to age gracefully. Some games just don’t age very well. In fact, part of the idea behind Wind Waker‘s at the time controversial art style was that it would be ageless (and then it got an HD remake. Go figure). I personally find many N64 games that I loved as a child, while still very fun to play, do not age well. The jagged, polygonal shapes and sometimes stilted animations seem much more noticeable after playing something like Super Mario 3D World. So my question for you today is: do Zelda games age as well as you think they could or should?
This isn’t a question of whether or not graphics and sound matter. That’s a completely separate debate, and some of my own favorite games that I still enjoy playing today are N64 or SNES titles. And talking about whether a game ages well, I just want to focus on graphics, sound, animation, the visual and audio aspects of the game. For me, I find that many of them tend to age quite well. I personally would still be playing the N64 version of Ocarina of Time if they hadn’t remade it for the 3DS and improved it, because it’s one of my favorite games. A Link to the Past looks quite good even today, with bright colors and fluid animations.
However, I’ve always felt that games from the NES era just do not age gracefully. 8-bit graphics and sounds just aren’t my thing. There are very few NES games that I would say look great today – neither of the Zelda titles for the system are among them. This isn’t to say they’re bad games, just that their age is very noticeable.
But this is your debate. Do Zelda games age as well as you would like them to? Which games do you feel have aged the best in graphics and sound? Which do you think have aged the worst? Let us know in the comments below!