The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild came out 2 months ago. I got it on Wii U a month after that, and it has really reinvigorated my love of the series. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is a good game.
This is not a review of BOTW. (self editor: I should put a thesis here after I am done rambling, so it looks like I had a plan when I started.) This post is mostly about me and my relationship with the original The Legend of Zelda for the NES, and will probably only be interesting to anyone if I am able to follow through with more compelling posts in the future. The goal being to eventually understand more about the nature of The Legend of Zelda Series’ storytelling and game design. (self editor: good job)
I am writing about LoZ not as anyone who could claim to be an expert... in anything really. I just love LoZ so much that using my time for this seems like no cost at all (and yes, enough to marry it.) Some or most of what I say is likely “nothing new,” but I am trying to speak from my own perspective, so I will try to not use any Zelda-centric sources except for the games themselves, or maybe quotes from Shigeru Miyamoto or other game designers. Despite having no specific expertise that I can claim, I do have some interests that I devote a lot of my thought to that I hope will overlap well when analyzing aspects of the LoZ games.
I have always been incredibly drawn to the nature of storytelling. Why certain stories work or don’t work or why the same story could be told well or poorly despite hitting the same beats are examples of big questions that lead to endless smaller questions when diving into individual works.
Another interest that overlaps well is so obvious it would seem to go unstated, which is I have devoted a lot of time to playing video games. The reason I state it outright is because of how I specifically spent my time playing some of LoZ games. I was 5 years old when I started playing The Legend of Zelda and played it a lot. I was a dumb little kid and I really went through every inch of that game.
To get some perspective of the lengths I went through in that game: I burned every bush (probably with the blue flame too, like a dumb little kid,) in dungeons I tried to push every block and bomb every wall, I tried to push/bomb every rock in the overworld... I tried to walk through every wall! All the things you could do at some point I tried to do at any point where it might be possible. There were no guides for me, just friends who were doing the same thing.
I think that was how the game was designed to be played, so Miyamoto and company accomplished their goal. My experience is anecdotal evidence of that. From my memory it had game design unmatched by any of its contemporaries. In fact, if someone wants to argue that it remains the best game ever made I would certainly listen.
In the future, I will go into more detail and give specifics of why the game design was so enjoyable, rather than just saying how I went about immersing myself in it. Also while the first LoZ did not have complexity in its story, even without complexity it did have a good story. And maybe the stories of The Legend of Zelda can actually tell us something about the nature and history of human storytelling in a way unlike nearly all other works in the medium of gaming.
Or maybe not, but when I was five, this gave me chills...
...and still does nearly 30 years later.
I will add links here to any follow up articles I succeed in posting, like this one: