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 Tech TV Article about Zelda


This is an article that I found on the Tech TV Game Spot TV web site, I did not write it.

The History of The Legend of Zelda

The Legend of Zelda was released in 1987, sparking a gaming revolution and a series that has spawned five award-winning titles. Zelda is firmly established in the gaming landscape, with no end in sight. Majora's Mask was just released for the N64, and is looking to take the Zelda series to the next level.

What is it that makes this series so popular and unique? One of the main reasons is simply the world that the games create.

The roots of Zelda can be found in another Nintendo super-character: Mario. Nintendo's famed developer, Shigeru Miyamoto floored millions of gamers around the world with his Super Mario Brothers for the NES in 1986. Gone was the open-ended "highest score" criteria for success, and in its place was a more concrete goal: "complete" the game.

"Both Mario and Zelda are based on the same concept of making a miniature garden, which the players can explore rather freely," says Miyamoto, "They have to become creative and independent--they need to think about what they should do next."

Miyamoto took the gameplay concepts of Mario and folded them into the world of Zelda. In order to make this kind of gameplay compelling, he had to create a world that the gamer would want to explore and inhabit for long periods of time.

The Legend of Zelda took place from an overhead three-quarters perspective. You guided link across an expansive overworld and through the depths of nine separate dungeons. Before its release, gamers had never seen a game with such a nonlinear, detailed, and expansive world.

The first Zelda title was revolutionary in more than just its large world. Most previous video games were one-shot experiences, offering no continuity from one gaming session to the next. Zelda introduced a backup system to record your progress. When it came time to keep playing your quest, you simply selected the correct file and continue.

After 1988's Link's Adventure, Zelda moved onto a new console in 1992 with A Link to the Past for the Super NES, which, along with Super Mario World, was a system seller.

A Link to the Past was more evolutionary than revolutionary. The world was expansive, the quests were larger, and the dungeons were far more complex. Nevertheless, the core gameplay remained that of a top-down action role-palying game [RPG]. The power of the Super Nintendo let Miyamoto realize his world and characters as never before and create what is still many gamers' favorite title in the series.

"We tried to make it as easy as possible for the player to move Link,? reveals Miyamoto, ?When it comes to developing characters, we think of the new game systems first, and their increased capabilities and then later think about the characters, to use the advanced ideas in the new systems"

The increased interactivity of A Link to the Past opened the door to critical acclaim and fantastic sales.

With the development of another Nintendo console came the development of another Zelda game, Ocarina of Time for the N64. This was one of the most hotly anticipated games of all time. When it was released in the U.S. in 1998 after many delays, there were 325,000 pre-orders for the game.

The game not only met but exceeded the heightened expectations of the media and gaming masses. The presentation and world design were without peer. Every environment was rendered with fantastic depth and attention to detail. While other titles, like Shenmue, have since created a coherent gameplay "world," The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time did it first.

Innovations like c-button item selection and z-button targeting made Ocarina of Time something totally different from previous 3D adventures, and continue to be copied to this day

Ocarina of Time set the stage for yet another Zelda game to take the franchise into the next century. Majora's Mask arrived this October and uses a modified version of the excellent. Ocarina of Time game engine. The role of masks has been greatly increased. Link can carry multiple masks, and masks now change Link's appearance and give him new skills.

Miyamoto sees the game as being a different experience for every player that explores it. "In the original Legend of Zelda, there was a more consistent way of telling where you were in the game, how you were doing, "explains Miyamoto, "In Majora's Mask, the world changes according to the character of the player. No two players will have exactly the same volume of gameplay."

This adaptable experience and changing environments look to keep gamers interested in playing this game and the Zelda titles that are sure to follow.

2000 Tech TV. Used without permission.

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