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?


  1. "Even if someone doesn't like the newer entries because they haven't really improved on the Zelda formula"... WAT? IM GUESSING YOU NEVER PLAYED GAMECUBE OR WII ZELDAS THAT IS THE ONLY WAY YOU COULD SAY SOMETHING LIKE THIS!!!!

  2. Yeah, I played Wind Waker, and I played Phantom Hourglass. I've still not played Twilight Princess, but I'll go ahead and make some assumptions: You have a sword and shield. You walk around, go into dungeons and get more tools that beat the boss of the dungeon. Then you go to the next dungeon. Lather, rinse, repeat. That sound about right?

  3. I hate to defend anyone who uses "caps lock", but your reasoning that new Zeldas are "Lather, rinse, repeat" would be like suggesting that Half Life games haven't really improved on the FPS formula, just because you still hold a gun! Just one "for instance", the Deku leaf in Wind Waker added a whole new gameplay element that has not been seen in any Action/RPG before, or since.

  4. Let me put it this way: Halflife changed FPS games, for sure. But if the next Half Life would have taken place in a government installation called, say, "White Rock," and had ANOTHER alien invasion take place where this time you get a gun that shoots landmines, and you have to fight the army again, that would hardly be an innovation.

    However, Half-Life changed everything about itself for the next installment, placing you in a completely different setting and pitting you against a totalitarian government of space aliens. It's like comparing apples and repetitive game design, really.

  5. Zelda changes the story every time around. Each game builds on the last like chapters in a book. As far as gameplay, Zelda offers more variety & innovation than any FPS, and I happen to prefer FPS's as a rule. HalfLife2 added some new guns that were pretty awesome. But that pales next to the new toys Link gets to use in Twilight Princess, each with its own pysics model and distinct feel.

  6. Well, to each their own. The point of the article had nothing to do with the newer games. I don't like Zelda games in general. Way to take one sentence and quote it out of context, original poster.

  7. I'm the same way. I've played just about every Zelda for a good 8-10 hours, and it's fun at the time, but I rarely come back to it. They just don't grab me, and the fact that each one just iterates slightly on the game before it (enter dungeons, find triforce pieces, rescue princess) with an additional game mechanic tacked on doesn't exactly inspire me to check out newer entries in the series.

  8. Playing a Zelda game for less than ten hours would be like playing most FPS's for less than two hours. Your just barely scratching the surface, and haven't even got to the best dungions, or new gameplay changing tools. Like Lee said, "to each his own" but, just so you know, your missing out on the vast majority of those games...

  9. My gaming time is limited. I can't afford to "endure" the first 10 hours of a game to get to the good stuff.


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