Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Legend of Zelda Love/Hate Cycle

Maybe it's because I've been with Zelda since the beginning that I see what I call the "Zelda Love/Hate cycle."  What is this cycle and when did it start? Here's my theory:

The original game was like nothing we ever seen before. Exploring a non-linear world where you can go just about everywhere right from the start was amazing. Don't forget it was the first video game with a lithium battery, so we could easily save progress without worrying about complicated passwords.

The second one came out and I really enjoyed it, not knowing that one day it would be seen as the "black sheep" of the Zelda games. It was different. It was more difficult than the first one, but that didn't stop me from beating it over and over again.

Of course, Link to the Past was a phenomenal game that returned to the original's way of exploring without side scrolling. But then came:

Ocarina of Time. It blew everyone away. There's Hyrule field, Epona,  the Water Temple, learning to play songs, time travel, and so many other things that made the game a masterpiece.

And ever since OoT, every Zelda game has been (unfairly) judged to be not as good. It started with Majora's Mask and is still going strong with Skyward Sword.


Once the hype of the newest release settles and we prepare for the next Zelda game, something starts to happen. The game that was bashed is now beloved. Once the new game released, the cycle goes into full swing. For example, when Wind Waker was released it got so much hate for its cel-shading. People complained that it "was for little kids" and "I hate sailing, it takes too long" blah blah blah. Now it seems WW is the second most requested Zelda game that people want to see remade for the 3DS. (MM is the first)

Again when Twilight Princess was first released, fans bitched and moaned about everything, but now everyone seems to love it.

Mark my words, when the next Legend of Zelda home console game is released, people will be fondly talking about Skyward Sword and how great is is, instead of criticizing it.  And they'll complain that the new one is too different or too much of the same. Link's too young or too feminine. It's too linear or there's too much world to explore. 

While all this is happening, I'll be happily playing as Link running around in the new game, fighting things, bombing stuff, maybe learning a new song or two.  Because for me, I realized a long time ago that no game will ever compare to the original Zelda  in my mind.  But that's okay. I love each game for its differences  and similarities. Every new Zelda game is like reuniting with my old friend Link, and I look forward to each new meeting.


  1. I love all the zelda games lol I'm not hard to please just put link in it and I'm good to go.

  2. Ocarina of Time does have a special place in my heart and I don't know if a new Zelda game will ever be better for me, but I still enjoy them. I really liked Majora's Mask and I'm looking forward to playing Skyward Sword. Keep 'em coming, I say!

  3. You know, people just like to complain. And they do, loudly... while those who could correct them have simply decided it's not worth it. Sure, I love Ocarina of Time. At the time, I thought it was top-notch amazing and could never be beaten. Then Majora's Mask came out and proved me wrong. Just because you love one title doesn't mean you have no room in your heart for another one. The whiners of the world can whine all they wish; in the meantime, I'll enjoy the games for what they're worth.

  4. The zelda series is what really got me into RPGs back in the NES days. I don't know why there is so much criticism with various titles. I do see the cycle you are referring to. But I guess, haters gonna hate. When they are done complaining, they can join me playing whatever the latest installment is in the series.

  5. Great post, and quite true. The problem is the newer releases will always be judged according to the standard already set by the earlier games: The Legend of Zelda, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past and The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. The fact that each subsequent title has managed to bring something new to the series, and at the same time stay true to the classic formula, is a testament to Nintendo/Shigeru Miyamoto's creativity. But you can't please everyone, and like Steve Jobs said, most people don't even know what they want to begin with.

  6. This is a Zelda game unlike any other, and feels all at once both an incredible nostalgic celebration of 25 years of history, and a wholly new adventure full of wild, awesome new directions. The first chance I got to see it was over at a co-worker’s house from Dish the other day and the graphics and storyline look so awesome that I wish I had the money to just go out and buy it, but I’ve found in my experience that I end up saving a ton of money on games by just paying a flat monthly fee for renting. I haven’t had the chance to play it at home yet myself because I just added it to my Blockbuster@Home queue and it hasn’t yet arrived in my mailbox quite yet.