What defines Zelda to you? I feel like this is why there is such a division between some of us on certain games, because despite all being Zelda fans, we disagree like crazy.
Zelda holds a very special place in my heart. I got ALTTP when I was 6, and played it all the time with my dad on my SNES. I got OoT the xmas when it came out, and was hooked. I was younger with ALttP, and I had nightmares of Agahinim, so it actually kind of scared me lol. We would get to the Ice Palace and get stuck. That dungeon was something else for its time, and is still IMO one of the hardest Zelda dungeons.
With OoT, it was...refreshing to finally have a new Zelda. Better yet, the music was amazing. At the time I played an instrument, and could play the ocarina songs on my Trumpet. I never realized though that Zelda's Lullaby and Ganon's theme originated from ALttP.
Anyhow, that's not the point. Starting with ALttP, I've always viewed Zelda as more about puzzles and being rewarded for exploration (optional items you can equip like the medallions). The combat is a bonus for me, but the final boss takes of half a heart (Ganondorf in TP), it's just...wtf? The sword combat is cool and all, but, puzzles and music are most important to me. And the ability to be rewarded for adventuring around an area.
What is Zelda to you? How do you define it? I'm not even sure I've defined my full thoughts on it here because there's so much to it and it actually is very personal for me. Maybe this can help us understand some of the differences we have in regards to various Zelda titles.
Maybe it's futile, and it probably is, but just what is The Legend of Zelda?
Oh wow, a sincerely passionate Zelda fan. This is what I love about ZU, I'm going to have fun posting this one...
Zelda, to me... is a unique brand of gaming.
It consists of puzzles, combat, quests... it dabbles in a bit of everything.
All under the key element that is exploration. In the name of exploration, you fight, you wander to open spaces, you solve puzzles and sidequests, you interact with characters and find new things. But that definition doesn't even cover it.
Over the years, this franchise has solidified into what is "Zelda," which is a concoction Nintendo has been brewing into its own, unique recipe.
You have these franchises (I won't name them here. I'm not writing to bash) that try so hard, too hard to emulate films, fantasy epics a la LOTR, Western culture, or reach out to be taken seriously as art by going pretentious and etc that it sometimes fails to be what it is: a game and henceforth lose its identity. Nintendo is comfortable with Zelda being a game. It revels in it, and makes gamers sure that Zelda is a game before anything else by emphasizing gameplay. It doesn't have to be a serious fantasy epic by trying to be as gritty as possible, nor does it have to conform to any trending art style to be realistic.
To me, Zelda's a mixed bag of sorts that has aged, to me, with great charm and a strong identity that is brought by 25 years of gaming and a strive for perfection.
Charm is a hard thing to describe... so is Zelda, because I find the franchise full with it. You just GET IT, like the way you get why Mario is a plumber in Mushroom kingdom fighting an overgrown Tortoise by eating mushrooms and going in pipes. You love it the way it is right?
That's what Zelda is to me.
Out of topic:
I'm quite jealous of the memories some Zelda fans like you, darklink28, have. I've been gaming since the NES, but my parents almost nailed the last coffin on my console gaming life after the SNES. I was too young/ignorant to know about other great games aside Mario, and my school seldom had gamers that openly talked about it. Nonetheless, Zelda holds a very special place in my heart as I befriended an N64 gamer that loved Zelda back in the day and introduced me to OoT. Man, I can't forget that moment when I first explored Kokiri Forest and ventured Hyrule Field... This must be what is called nostalgia.
Zelda and me go way back (I really laughed out loud when Groose said that in SS). Zelda and Mario were my first video games I ever played. I started with the original (gold cart) Legend of Zelda on NES as well as (silver cart) Zelda II when I was about the wee age of three. Of course back then, I was lucky to get through half of the first dungeon in LoZ from what I remember. But what exactly is Zelda to me?
It's when I solve that hard puzzle without a guide that I've been stuck on for hours.
It's when I find that heart container in that inconspicuous location.
It's when I draw out the Master Sword.
It's when I save Zelda.
I've played a crap ton of video games in my 20 years on this planet, and while some are very good and captivate me, I have still yet to play a game that I enjoy as much as I do with Zelda. I love everything about Zelda and like darklink28, it is an incredibly personal thing to me. What exactly is Zelda to me? My other life.
I must say that I'm not quite sure what Zelda is, aside from an action/adventure game. I've heard of less than a handful of similar games, and I can't, for the life of me, imagine why there aren't more imitators.
It's not a series that emphasizes combat. It's not a series that emphasizes side quests. It's not a series that often stumps you with its puzzles. It's not a series that tends to give you wonderful rewards for exploring outside of the main quest.
But it has all of the aforementioned elements. It also has charming character interaction and excellent music (most of the time). I think that it's a stew more than anything else, and I think it's this constant variation and integration of different elements of play that attracts me (besides nostalgia).
Nonetheless, Zelda holds a very special place in my heart as I befriended an N64 gamer that loved Zelda back in the day and introduced me to OoT. Man, I can't forget that moment when I first explored Kokiri Forest and ventured Hyrule Field... This must be what is called nostalgia.
First of all, thanks for the compliments. I could have posted so much more, but Zelda is...well I guess something else I forgot, I feel like I AM Link. Especially in the last two titles, say what you will about them (TP and SS). I feel what they're feeling in the emotional scenes, I feel creeped out when Link feels creeped out...anger, sadness, all of it. There's no other character in gaming that does this.
And exploring Kokiri Forest, receiving the Emerald Gem, and going out into Hyrule field. That just left me in awe. And visiting Princess Zelda! Little did I know that Zelda's lullaby was featured prominently in ALttP. I didn't figure it out until I went back and finally beat the game.
I also like Zelda for the story. Definitely not over the gameplay or the charm, but there's something about it I don't know if I can define. OoT's story wasn't the greatest in the world, yet it was executed so well - music, cinematics, just everything...it made the story incredible. For me at least.
That's a question that will bring about a whole lot of opinions and emotions. elda in of itself is life. People can't just go out and have adventures fighting evil and using courage to destroy that evil. I live vicariously through Link. I can make a safe bet that every kid who played Zelda growing up went outside with a stick and a hat and pretended to be The Hero of Time. Lord knows how many times my brother was killed by the "Master Sword" .
Growing up in a divided home between states and never having a constant anything in my life would leave me a wreck by popular opinion. If you were to ask a social worker what having a divided home and not much of a father figure in the home will do they will reply," Kids like that go to prison." In my life I have always believed in fighting evil, Zelda was the only thing in my life that was always there no matter what state I was in, and no matter who I lived with. Most people could never understand these feelings, but ZU can. Each time I see a new Zelda game come out I turn into that kid swinging the stick around yelling," RHAAA!" My eyes water and I smile for the whole week and when I get it I spend evey minute I can having yet another adventure.
Zelda is NOT a game. It's a lifestyle. It's an obsession. Zelda is pure innocence and passion.
Started with Link's Awakening myself and spent a limited amount of time with a lent copy of A Link to the Past. These sort of got me to get the gist of what sort of game LoZ was, though they often simply were the more complicated and slow-paced games in my game collection back then.
I knew OoT would be an incredible game each time I saw screenshots and previews of it on the Nintendo Power magazine, but I never thought how transcending it'd turn out to be. It literally shaped my perception and sort of gave me a new sense of depth. As a kid you're seeing new places, interacting with unknown things, and everything that I found amazing, mysterious, or possibly dangerous just brought me back to my feelings that were there while playing Ocarina. I thinks it's that sense of mystery and wonder that keeps taking me back and thrills me to no end when I can just see all these possibilities that cannot be pulled off in any other game than the Legend of Zelda.
After more amazement with MM, I was already obsessed with the series and naturally wanted to know how it got to that point. That's when I started to appreciate the original aspects of the series but mostly how each LoZ game set itself apart from the other. Obviously there's the original LoZ and then an abrupt transition to AoL, but I think this would be also true of OoT and then MM. There's just a whole different collection of ideas and concepts presented on each LoZ game that you can't help but think what's coming next and how you're going to react to it. It all goes back to that sense of wonder which I think is such an essential part of the series and is present all over the puzzles, the travel, the combat and more recently the intriguing lore that's been more strongly weaved with the newer LoZ titles.
I'm not going to get into my thoughts on how the latest LoZ games have been losing track of these things I find to be crucial to the series, but I feel this essential and mysterious aspect of the franchise is the obsession and intrigue of predicting or desiring something to take place in these games. The sight of tons of possibilities that can only work on a LoZ game is what constantly and just literally enamors me-- it's what assures me that I'll be overwhelmed with a sense of mystery and even fear that can be overcome and make me feel like I just really triumphed at the end of this one unique game.
It's still like a really, really hazy testimony on what makes Zelda Zelda to me, but I refuse to think that it's all about nostalgia or a evoking a moment that's gone-- I've seen it happen again and again with RL events, recent films, and even games that the thought of this is so Zelda never fails to cross my mind. As of now I feel that the series has been dwelling in a comfortable spot and has simply refused to get out of it. I've been playing more of the same, but there's hope that I'll once again find myself overwhelmed by this awe-inducing world full of mystery and intrigue that I would stop wondering what's next for a long while but then look back at everything I've been finding great and thrilling and just think how nice these ideas would be by being explored through LoZ.
Huge wall worth of corny text, but I don't think I ever had the chance to actually type what Zelda is to me. Would love to come up with like a more concise essay.
Adventure. Coming of Age. Beautiful Music, arguably the best out of any game series. Saving the Princess. Puzzle solving. To keep things simple.
To me it's Ocarina of Time. If I had to introduce to aliens I'd sit them down, plug in my N64, and say "This is The Legend Of Zelda" haha. It's the first Zelda title I played. My favorite game of all time to this day and the game I've replayed the most.
"To travel is to be born and to die at every instant;perhaps,in the vaguest region of his mind,he did make comparisons between the shifting horizon and our human existence:all the things of life are perpetually fleeing before us..." http://thenaiverebellion.tumblr.com/
The Zelda series is a member of our family. It was in my household before I was. My older sister told me about how my mom would play The Legend of Zelda on NES for hours, even going well into the early hours of the morning. I remember when we got my cousins' old NES and Zelda, and I watched in awe as my mom skillfully defeated the enemies and bosses, and cleared the labryniths with ease.
Ocarina of Time was my first game, and I can't even describe how much it means to me to this day. To me, OoT is (one of) the epitome of Zelda. LoZ is the other, but I didn't get to play that until later. But playing OoT just brings forth a rush of emotions in me. Even back when I was seven, I appreciated the music. O
h lord, do I appreciate good video game music. And Zelda has/had it. That's one thing that's Zelda to me. The music! Which is why as of late I haven't been too thrilled with the music from Twilight Princess and beyond, because I feel like their music isn't Zelda-like anymore. LoZ is the other game that SCREAMS Zelda, obviously because it's the game that started it all. It was probably the fourth or fifth Zelda game at that time that I played, but as soon as I started out in Hyrule Field, with the Overworld music playing, I just can't describe it. It just brought a rush of nostalgia to me. It's just so hard to explain how it's like when I'm playing.
As for the series in a whole:
The places! Nothing can compare to walking through Hyrule Field, Kakariko Village, Zora's Domain, Death Mountain, Mt. Crenel, Outset Island, Gerudo Valley/Fortress, Lake Hylia, etc. Each and every one of those places are so magical. You really can't find anything like it in any other game. And that's another example of what Zelda is to me. Their lands.
The adventure. I can't tell how many times I wish I could go through my TV screen and go around Hyrule with Link. How much I want to actually be there. What I would give to be able to do that.
And lastly, Zelda is my life. Like I said, it's been in my family for years. I can never part with it. As long as it keeps going on for years to come, I will introduce it to my kids. I never would've learned to play the piano, which I love, for 98% of the songs I play are from Zelda. I love the series so much, and honestly my life would be extremely different without it.
I went back and played the original LoZ. What a task that was! Now THAT was hard. Even still though, I beat it with minimal help from outside sources, and when it was all done with and I beat the game....I had this incredible feeling of accomplishment. Moreso than from any other Zelda game I've played. I haven't finished SS yet though so I'm not taking that into account.
It's a game that still stays rather light in terms of the content unlike many other games of the same nature nowadays. IT'S ALL ABOUT SPILLING BLOOD, but not much else. The Zelda series is one that can actually make you think about how to do things such as puzzles, and makes you want to find every little secret you can.
I find the music to be a pretty good aspect of the game series is it. Without it, you wouldn't have much of an experience!
Is my childhood.
Is a world of fantasy to me.
Even at the age of 9 playing Ocarina of Time, it blew my mind away. Not even feeling like a game, I felt submerged in the world of Hyrule.
Every game since that has been the same. While I have gotten older every experience of playing Zelda has made me feel like a kid.
It's made me feel so many things that are hard to iexplain, but any Zelda fan knows what I mean.
The music, the colors, the graphics, the characters, the story.
Zelda is happiness and a way for me to escape the craziness of the world.
No other game, or movie makes me feel this way.
I so wish Hyrule was real....
I would love to live in it.
Zelda to me, it's the series that made me the gamer I am today. Every new game, comes with it's own story and unique adventure. It may seem recycled, but in all honesty isn't that what makes a game sell well? As long as the game plays well and is familiar and not boring. Link is one of my personal heroes since my childhood. How could I not grow up and be spoiled with Zelda titles for Christmas. I honestly thought I was dreaming when I played Wind Waker. When it comes to Zelda for me, it's like a dream come true. But if I had to say I wouldn't mind seeing another Zelda game based outside Hyrule. To me those were fantastic. Link's Awakening, Majora's Mask, and the Oracle Titles I've spent countless hours enjoying, and doing the extra quests.
Zelda is an interactive story. Where I am the only hope for the people against an unspeakable evil. The story of a young man who must overcome unfathomable odds in order to win. The slow transgression from a boy to man. It is also what speeds up my time consumption. Pizza needs to get here? Play some Zelda.