You know, Zelda is really accessible. No, I don’t mean it in that way, so if that’s the only reason you’re reading, move along. I’m not even talking about Zelda as a character; I am talking about The Legend of Zelda series as a whole. Majority of the games in the Zelda series and readily available to play today, even if they’re twenty years old. And really, this doesn’t just go for Zelda, it goes for Nintendo as a whole. Compared to its competition with the Playstation and the X-Box, Nintendo really does care about making its older games playable today, and quite simply, it’s fantastic.
Illegal ROM downloading aside, there are legitimate copies of Zelda installments that are not only fully functioning, but there is unlimited copies of them. I’m referring, of course, to the Wii’s revolutionary concept of the Virtual Console. Simply connect your Wii to the internet, purchase some points and then start downloading digital copies of classic games. Through the virtual console the original Legend of Zelda, The Adventure of Link, A Link to the Past, Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask are all playable.
Unlike it’s competitors, Nintendo seems to realize and care that consoles and games get old and break. If you truly want something to be a lasting and remembered legacy of gaming once all of the cartridges are bust, and the consoles gone, the Virtual Console is the way. But that isn’t the only way Nintendo has gone with their ‘let’s make gaming really available to everyone’ approach. Nintendo really care about cross-console compatibility.
The need for the Nintendo Gamecube is pretty much extinct since the launch of the Wii, seen as Wiis are known to act as Gamecubes every now and again. With the Wii taking both Gamecube and Wii discs, those who had to say good-bye to their Gamecubes are still able to play their GCN games. Then there’s the DS Lite which has the Game Boy Advance slot. My only dislike from the transition from my DS Lite to my DSi was the loss of the GBA compatibility, but, if your Gamecube is still alive, that problem is easily fixed with the Game Boy Player, so I guess the Gamecube still has some use. Every Game Boy game, from the original, to the Game Boy Color, to the Game Boy Advance is playable on the Gamecube with a rather cheap extension.
Nintendo even has re-releases of games to include in this already very appealing bundle. There is great examples of this, like the Metroid Prime Trilogy on the Wii, on one disc. Zelda specific, there was the Collector’s edition on the Gamecube including the original two games and the two 64 classics. The Limited Edition Wind Waker came with yet another port of Ocarina of Time.
You may be wondering what exactly this really has to do with Zelda after all, seen as it is such a general point, and what my point in all of this is. To put it bluntly, every single game in The Legend of Zelda series, apart from Four Swords, can be played on a device that is not it’s original one, and on a device no older than a decade, even though the games may be two decades old. Take a look at this breakdown of the playability of each Zelda game: (Note that the table may not be an exhaustive list).
Nintendo sure does make an exemplary effort in this regard. I honestly can’t speak for all of Nintendo’s classic games and franchises, but looking solely at The Legend of Zelda series, Nintendo has done marvelously. Having only come into existence once four Zelda titles were already released, I for one am extremely pleased with how easy it has been for me to be able to grab a hold of these games from before my time.
For the people, such as myself, who have in the past looked at everything from the casual versus hardcore game point of view, with the view of oldskool gamers loving the old and the new gamers only enjoying the new, look at it from this point of view. From a business perspective, the Virtual Console wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t such a massive hit. New gamers are going back to the classics, and if they weren’t, there wouldn’t be a Virtual Console. After all this, I no longer see a casual versus hardcore side to gaming. I simply see that for over 20 years Nintendo has been making games for people, all people, to play and enjoy. It doesn’t matter how old the games are, because through Nintendo’s schemes, games are timeless and players aren’t categorized. Anyone can enjoy them, and I for one love that.