Just a few days ago our affiliate, The Hidden Triforce, released an article that basically states that The Legend of Zelda series is no longer respected by “hardcore” gamers. Not only that, but also that the Zelda series is in need of drastic changes if it is to be once again considered respectable. Of course, a claim like that is going to stir some pretty strong responses, and it did, including some from us here a Zelda Informer. The question is, does he have a point? Is the Zelda series regressing and no longer respected by the serious gamers? Firstly, take a look at what the article’s author concluded:
Nintendo is sitting on top of a gold mine and is treating the beloved Zelda franchise like it can be a sub-par series such as Donkey Kong. A new game may come out every once in a while, but each time less hype exists and each time the exact same disappointments are delivered. Until Nintendo addresses very simple concepts…it will not get the same type of respect from the gaming community. It will just have the negative connotation that Nintendo has in most hardcore gamers’ eyes. Appealing to seniors and kids, and old schoolers, but never achieving a higher respect status.
First off, he seems to heavily base his ideas on graphics. He pretty much went as far as to say that the three Toon Link games were a joke. Thankfully, his opinions are not as wide spread as they were prior to The Wind Waker’s release. Just last year gaming enthusiast and writer for Destructoid, Topher Cantler, went as far to say that The Wind Waker is the best Zelda ever. Not only that, but he actually had some extremely good reasoning to back his contention. Majority of the readers at Destructoid agreed, and praised The Wind waker. If the series is heading down hill and Toon Link is truly a “joke,” how can an entire crowd of serious gamers think that The Wind Waker is amazing? Perhaps people are able to both absolutely love something and have no respect for it at the same time. Or, more likely, The Hidden Triforce’s writer needs a reality check.
The author admitted that Twilight Princess was very impressive, graphics wise, for a Gamecube release. He then went on to compare the realistic graphics for the GameCube to those of Modern Warfare 2 of today. Okay, so at this juncture it is clear: to be taken seriously you have to use realistic graphics. Tell that to Madworld, No More Heroes, Borderlands, Team Fortress 2, or any of the other multitudes of alternate graphical style games, not to mention The Wind Waker again. In my mind, and the minds of many others, realistic graphics are not the only method one can use to create a great game.
The Hidden Triforce did look at other aspects of the series, such as Hyrule field lacking enemies, the storyline being weak, and the dungeon formula becoming a tad old. He even used E.T. from the Atari as an example that gamers dislike. Thing is, E.T. has never been, and never will be Zelda. The article went on to call Nintendo lazy, and blatantly contended that the Zelda series cannot be respected. Interesting thoughts to come from a Zelda fansite. As a fellow writer, I applaud him from not running away from the topic, but it is safe to say that, in this case, the article is bias and lacks any real support.
The writer defines the crowd that doesn’t like Zelda as the “hardcore” crowd. You know, the infamous term that supposedly defines a majority of the gaming community that matters. Of course, I would say anyone who is checking a gaming site regularly is most likely a pretty “hardcore” gamer. Of course, most of the people, if not all, who frequent Zelda fansites love the series, and with that comes the element of respect.
Now, I won’t go as far as to say that Zelda hasn’t lost some of its luster. It has—it needs some change, and some of the long-term fans have moved away from the series in recent time. Can we really call that a fault of the Zelda series, or is that just us growing and changing as we go through life? Twilight Princess has been blasted left and right, yet it is the second best selling game in franchise history. To many Zelda fans, Twilight Princess is arguably a better game than Ocarina of Time; however, that’s not the point here. The point is that Zelda is what it always has been, and that is why people respect it so much.
I was hanging out with my roommate the other day as he was playing Elder Scrolls: Oblivion. We were talking and the subject of Zelda came up. He doesn’t own a Wii, or any Nintendo console for that matter. He enjoys games like World of Warcraft, Fallout 3, Modern Warfare. You know what his first reaction was to the topic of Zelda was? “Instant classic series. I played Twilight Princess and was blown away. There isn’t any other franchise out there like it, honestly. Ocarina of Time is one of the best games ever, and The Wind Waker was lots of fun.” We also got on the topic of Spirit Tracks, as he wanted to give it a try last week, “I know I shouldn’t like it, but it still feels like Zelda. Nothing out there gives me what Zelda does.” When asked about why he doesn’t own Nintendo stuff, he simply stated, “Zelda is the only game I like from them, so it’s not worth the money for one series.”
Obviously, his opinions don’t represent everyone, but it did surprise me. Even people who don’t play Zelda seem to know what it is, like it, and respect what it has done for the gaming industry. The big thing that stuck out to me was, “Nothing out there gives me what Zelda does.” I get what he’s saying. Name me one game that does what Zelda does as good or better, and for nearly as long as Zelda has been doing it. Can you, because I sure can’t?
So is the Zelda series losing respect? Maybe the series gets more praise than it deserves. Maybe Zelda has been slowly getting stale because it hasn’t changed the formula much over the years. Maybe Zelda isn’t perfect for me, for you, or for anyone, but is Zelda still an elite franchise? Its sales upwards of 50 million, numerous successful fansites, constant talk at every major gaming site and blog, and the constant barrage on Miyamoto and Aunoma to give us more information on Zelda all the time says yes, hell yes, in Zelda we trust.