Posted on July 12 2011 by Nathanial Rumphol-Janc
In my ever-continuing quest to interact with every sort of person on the planet, I have accumulated quite a large amount of friends who either never heard of, or outright dislike the Legend of Zelda series, or Nintendo overall. The obvious questions that poses itself is why these people are still alive? The less obvious, but more relevant question is – how do I explain the appeal of everything this site’s BODY so READ(Y)ily covers and endorses, especially considering that I’m most likely the least qualified* person to do so.
* – This is just a phrase used to convey the message to the lesser mind of a mortal being. Damir is qualified for everything, anytime, anywhere. He also takes special requests for a nominal fee.
I am not a Nintendo fanboy, nor a zelda fanboy. I was, as I believed in Santa, and God, until I reached the age of reason (If you caught the reference, pat yourself on the back and spare the server some comment processing time, it’s what George would have wished). I now look upon a game console, brand, producer, and all the other stuff that people slit each other’s e-throats for as a completely transparent label with absolutely no weight in the answer to a very simple question – is the game good? They DO have weight in a different, yet also very similar question – WILL the game be good? For example, I know that since Hans Zimmer is composing music for Mass Effect 3, the game will most likely have an amazing soundtrack. I know a year back that, since Rockstar is behind L.A. Noir, that it will fall flat on its face when measured against its hype. I also know that since Nintendo is developing Skyward Sword, it will be just more of the same old.
However, most of the stuff mentioned above were just to illustrate why I shouldn’t represent this fine community to newcomers unless the goal is to reduce them to tears, which I consider a success regardless of the initial goal. Either way, I tried, and I’ve been faced with varying reactions. The most prominent issue, as most people will no doubt have guessed, is people considering the whole brand to be more kid-friendly, and that’s true. It is pretty much impossible though to sit someone through The Message of Majora’s Mask and explain just why that game was the best storytelling miracle in the history of gaming. Hell, that would be impossible with most people who call themselves gamers these days. Which brings me to my next point…
Many of the people I actually talk to about this are gamers. Most of them are my friends, they play Team Fortress 2 with me, they enjoyed a lot of good games like Portal, Amnesia: The Dark Descent, Psychonauts, and many more. Their taste for movies is… adequate, and music… well, let’s stop THAT particular train of thought for now. Bottom line is, they aren’t completely out of touch with the environment you and I find ourselves comfortable in. However, i nthe most recent example the four of us found ourselves watching the new technical display demo of the Battlefield 3 graphics. One of the comments was “Man, this is gonna be one of the best game ever”, which set off my bullshit alarm. In yet another example of why I’m inadequate for this particular situation, I despise Call of Duty. I despise the whole series minus the first Modern Warfare for its bland, generic story, unlikeable, square-jawed, macho-men characters, repetitive, decade old gameplay lacking ANY sort of innovation. I hate it for its success and terrible influence over the medium, spawning thousands upon thousands of multi-million dollar ripoffs flooding the market, drowning the truly innovative games in a sea of mediocrity (Fun game: Go back 2 sentences and replace Call of Duty with Halo). Back to the story though, I casually replied “Well, all these graphics will be worth shit if the actual game isn’t good”, at which point I got a blank stare.
“Oh, so because it doesn’t have any ZELDA or FAIRIES or DRAGONS in it, it has to be a bad game, eh? Look dude, look at that building falling apart, look how awesome that looks!”
I could go on with the responses I got, but that’s the general gist of it. Now, when I first set off to write this article it was supposed to be about introducing people to the series, but scratch that. You can’t win with those people, regardless of what you do. The only thing that would work is actually sitting down and playing the game while they watch, but good luck getting to that point. Trial and error has shown that roughly the same amount of effort goes into getting a girl to strip as it goes into making someone give Zelda a shot, and guess which one I’m going for nine times out of ten. Now don’t get me wrong, graphics, or more importantly aesthetics are very very important in a game and can enhance the experience, but shouldn’t be solely relied upon.
Actually, having said that, let me get back to the Call of Duty thing from a few sentences ago. I am well aware that this isn’t just limited to the gaming industry. For every ICO there will be ten GTA’s just like there’ll be ten Expendables for every Sucker Punch, but come on people. The medium of gaming is probably the most centralized one of them all. Interaction with other people has become a key element in gaming (I’m not talking about forced multiplayer, that can go fuck itself, but that’s for another article) moreso than in any other mass media. It should by all rights and logic be the most unified one, with the most quality feedback and most defined and discrete sense of good and bad. And yet, in the past decade all we’ve been yelling to developers and publishers as a community is “give us more same shit, we’ll eat it up like the nice little sheep that we are”.
At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter. Getting people to understand something you enjoy has as much impact on you and your enjoyment as me derailing an article has on me. Yes, it is nice to show awesome stuff to people and see them fall in love with it, I’ve been there, but it is also important to not become That Guy who won’t shut up about his obsessions and no one wants to hang around with. It’s partially what brought us here in the first place. Until next time, keep your pants up.