Monday, May 31, 2010

Top 50 Games - 27. The Legend of Zelda

The Legend of Zelda deserves about 30,000 metric tons of gratitude for birthing the greatest franchise in the history of video games. But Miyamoto's original fantasy adventure is great for more than being the ancestor of masterpieces like A Link to the Past and Ocarina of Time. While not everyone appreciates this particular game's intrinsic merits, I find the first NES LoZ to be barrels of swashbuckling fun. The Legend of Zelda was an ambitious, forward-thinking product of a bygone era. It featured the option to save one's progress without the need for a password and presented gamers with a huge world with loads of secrets, but it also threw them into this environment with hardly any guidance except for this eternal nugget of wisdom: "It's dangerous to go alone!" The game also forced players to rely on their imaginations to immerse themselves in its 8-bit model of Hyrule. This is what makes The Legend of Zelda both a peculiar artifact and a timelessly enjoyable adventure. Back in 1986, Nintendo wasn't afraid to sit back and let its precious customers struggle with a real challenge. Nintendo has certainly changed its tactics over the years, but the human imagination has remained fertile, and so journeying through the first conceived version of Hyrule has not become obsolete. My mind's eye superimposes extra detail onto the screens, filling them with a liveliness and beauty that I'm convinced is there hidden within those charming pixels. The relative lack of context in The Legend of Zelda also makes the adventure seem much more adaptable to a player's individual fantasies, whether it's sailing on the high seas, traversing an unforgiving dessert, trudging through a dungeon, or stumbling upon forgotten treasure. The Legend of Zelda provided the perfect template for the action/adventure genre, introduced nonlinear gaming to millions, established a consistently wonderful series, and most importantly housed the Overworld Theme. Bum bum, b-b-b-b-buuummm!...

1 comment:

  1. didn't read all this yet but im playing the flash version now, looks like a good post, i read the first and last words. keep up the good work.