Looks like somebody was paying attention when we asked the all-important question: will 2011 be the Year of Zelda? IGN’s Chief Nintendo Editor Richard George says yes. And with this year prepared to greet a shiny handheld remake of one of the most beloved titles in the series as well as what may be the biggest new console Zelda game since, I’m rather inclined to agree.
Sure, his reflections on Ocarina of Time ain’t got nothing on the retrospect we released back before Skyward Sword‘s official reveal, but it’s still nice to see the series we’re hopelessly obsessed with get the love it deserves from one of the most well-known gaming media sites out there, so we can’t help but sharing anyway.
I have a confession to make. I didn’t really like The Legend of Zelda as a kid. Sure, I found it somewhat interesting, but compared to more energetic, kinetic adventures like Super Mario Bros, Zelda just couldn’t hold my attention. I realize how blasphemous this sounds coming from IGN’s lead Nintendo editor and self-professed Zelda junkie, but that’s just the way it was. Zelda, for all its accolades, didn’t speak to me.
Flash forward about 10 years, to 1998, the year Ocarina of Time was released. Something about this game enthralled me, like so many of you reading this. I couldn’t get enough. I wanted more art. I wanted more details. I wanted… well, I didn’t want to see video, because that would be spoiling the experience, but everything else was fair game in my mind.
When I finally had the golden game in my hands, I was paranoid that everyone else walking by wanted to steal it from me. I vividly remember clutching my bag close to me, certain that someone would realize what was inside, desiring it as much as I did. The next days are a blur, but I do remember staring in awe at the opening screen, an idyllic, gorgeous depiction of Link riding his horse, with Koji Kondo’s superb music calmly playing in the background.
Nothing seemed like it could match that moment. My first thrilling experience with the Legend of Zelda franchise would also never be surpassed. In a way the series, as good as it was and still is, would always coast downhill, never to surpass the perfection that was Ocarina of Time. But the more I think about it, Zelda fans might finally see a year that could dethrone 1998 as the best ever for the franchise. Any way you look at it, 2011 just might be the best year yet for those of us who anticipate and cherish every moment in Hyrule.
If Skyward Sword is for the current generation of new gamers what Ocarina of Time was for me and ol’ Richard, we might be seeing a new “best game of all time.” Until then, all we have is hope. Check out the full article on IGN if you need a reminder of just how awesome this year’s going to be.