It’s been eight years today since The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker released in the U.S. (can you believe it?), and given that this is the series’ silver year we’ve just got to do something to commemorate it. Our first order of business is to review some of our legacy articles dealing with this legendary game, but we’ll also have a special surprise coming later in the day as well as a few retrospective pieces debuting in place of our usual Friday article. We’ve written an awful lot about Wind Waker, too – check below for a breakdown of our long and cherished history with the game.

One of our oldest articles comes from Nick Geml, a former member of the Bombers writing team and a longtime contributor here at ZI. It’s called “Evolution of the Zora Tribe” and talks about the transformation of the Zoras into Wind Waker‘s Rito tribe. Casey Hodges, another of our former Bombers, also contributed a piece about “The Reconstruction Era of The Wind Waker,” or in other words the long period of colonization of the Great Sea after the flood.

Wind_Waker_8_birthday_sleeping_zelda.gifMore from the theory department: I released a pair of major in-depth articles about a potential connection between Wind Waker and the original Legend of Zelda. The first was “The Sleeping Zelda and the Timeline,” which discussed the possibility that the King of Red Lions might have been the Prince from the Zelda II backstory and that Tetra’s christening as Zelda might be evidence of the Sleeping Zelda naming tradition, and the second was “Dawn of the New Hyrule,” an exploration of the possibility of a New Hyrule after Wind Waker in accordance with the king’s wish.

This all may seem like nonsense to many of you coming to these articles for the first time, but remember that in the theory climate of 2009 many of the theorists here were adamant that Miyamoto must have been right about the old “Miyamoto Order” (Ocarina—> Legend of Zelda—> Link to the Past) and we still didn’t know how Spirit Tracks would advance the New Hyrule concept – it turns out we were right on both points, but in ways we didn’t really expect. We would later discover an untranslated source citing Miyamoto’s statements on the timeline that confirmed the traditional order used by most theorists (with Legend of Zelda and Link to the Past‘s places reversed from the infamously mistranslated order) and of course Spirit Tracks would come forth to confirm that there is indeed a New Hyrule after Wind Waker.

Wind_Waker_8_birthday_toon_link.jpgHere’s another entry by Casey entitled “I Hate Toon Link” – and no, the message isn’t what you think it would be. It’s actually a defense of the cel-shaded art style and an expression of disdain for Nintendo’s treatment of the younger Link as a “different” Link. Along similar lines, Dathen Boccabella wrote up an article talking about how he’d love to see the cel-shaded style return in a Wii entry: “Wind Waker Wii.” At the beginning of the year I also dove in with a piece about how I’d like to see maritime travel return in a later game, but in a less prevalent role: “The Ship Should Sail Again.”

In late 2010 and the early part of this year, we started dabbling in Zelda philosophy, much of which involved Wind Waker. Take Dathen’s “Live for the Future” and “Face Your Regrets,” two superb reviews of the moral lesson of Wind Waker. And, of course, at the tail end of the year the Themes in Motion series finally got around to treating Wind Waker‘s dominating story and world theme in “Discovery: The Wind Waker.”

Let’s close this off with a short casual entry by our cheery webmaster, Nate, called “Looking Back: The Wind Waker.” Seems like as good a time as any to ask about your own personal reflections on the game. When you first saw the cel-shaded look, what did you think? Did the final product justify the stylistic changes? Do you wish Nintendo would go back and “complete” the game with all the missing content? How does it rank on your personal list of top Zelda games? Give us your thoughts in the comments section – and don’t forget to check out the articles! And remember, we’ve got something awesome cooking that we’ll reveal later today. I’ll give you a hint: it’s something our fans have been requesting for a long, long time.

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