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Thursday, March 26, 2009

I Just Don't "Get" Zelda

As a longtime gamer, there are certain games that you're just expected to "get." You're expected to like Mario, Halo, Half-Life and others. If you don't, you usually feel like there's something wrong with you.

One of these venerable series that you're supposed to "get" is the Zelda series. Even if someone doesn't like the newer entries because they haven't really improved on the Zelda formula, it's usually a given that everything up to Ocarina of Time (excluding Zelda 2 for the NES) is legendary. They're indisputable classics, so we're told.

That makes this even harder to say: I just don't like Zelda games, including Ocarina.

That's not for lack of trying. I keep trying to get into them over and over. I've beaten Link's Awakening and Link to the Past, although I wasn't wowed by either of them. Usually, I can enjoy most Zelda games through the first dungeon. Beyond that, they fall apart for me. Even the original Zelda escapes me. I'm trying again with Ocarina, just to see if I can finally make it click. If I can't do it this time, I'm done for good with them.

Why can't I get these games to click? Sure, there are flaws in the Zelda games, but I usually overlook them in other genres.

For instance, in some Zelda games it's not always readily apparent where you're supposed to go next. You usually wander around for a bit trying to find the next quest hook, or the entrance to the next dungeon. Sometimes, you'll get lost in a dungeon, or not be able to find the way to the next room. As much as I hate using them, I usually end up going to an FAQ to give me a push in the right direction.

That sounds frustrating, but I'll overlook it in other games. I have no problems getting lost in Metroid games. I just accept it as part of the game, and look for the exit or the next tool that I need without throwing a hissy fit. I have no problems not locating quest hooks in RPGs. I don't mind wandering around for a while and having to consult an FAQ if I'm really lost.

However, when you put all of this in a Zelda game, it's my personal recipe for Nerd Rage. I practically start foaming at the mouth, I'm so angry. I don't get why Zelda does this to me.

The good news is that so far, I'm about two hours into Ocarina and there's been no noticeable eye twitching. I already needed to consult an FAQ. Turns out there's an area that looks like a tutorial area that I've been avoiding, and you have to go through it to get your sword.

What's wrong with me?