An article by Mike Stout has been posted over at Gamasutra and it talks about interesting things he found during his recent playthrough of the game. Those interesting things are those that the developers of the original Legend of Zelda did during their designing of the levels found in the game. Here’s one of those things he found:

If Miyamoto’s intent was truly to give the players the feelings associated with exploration, then this design is a masterful execution of that intent.

The linear layout of the critical path was very interesting to me, because when I played the level, it felt much less linear. I often re-traversed rooms I’d seen before. I tried to visit every room, and I tried to collect every item.

What I found out was that the Zelda development team was able to create the illusion of very open level design by using a few very clever tricks:

1. As I’ve mentioned, the critical path is almost entirely linear. This means that it’s much easier for the player to find her way through the dungeon without getting hopelessly lost.
2. Rooms branching off of the critical path make the level feel less linear.
3. A small bit of room re-traversal at the beginning of the level makes the level feel less linear, but because it only includes a small number of rooms the player probably won’t get lost.
4. Giving small, hidden shortcuts through the level allows the player to feel clever, and allows the designer to disguise the linearity of the level.

In short, the optional paths and shortcuts give the feeling of exploration, but the linear critical path means that as long as the player visits every room in a dungeon she should be able to find her way through.

It would seem from analyzing the flow that the level design strikes an excellent balance between giving the player the feeling of exploration and keeping them from getting too lost.

To read the article for yourself, please click here.

I find this very interesting to learn that even back then, they were giving hints to help the player along in the game. While nowadays usually this is blatantly seen but during this game it was hidden and wasn’t really noticed.

Source: Gamasutra

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