The Legend of Zelda has been around for 25 years since its debut on the NES way back in 1986. Few franchises have lasted so long, and yet still have such a solid grip on our imaginations and paychecks. Zelda can be relied upon to bring an epic action/adventure game that has nearly always met and exceeded expectations. What brings people back to the Zelda franchise is not just the sense of adventure that the games have, but in a sense that the game has a mystique and mystery surrounding it.
The name Legend of Zelda suits the franchise perfectly since it has an air of a legend/myth to it, especially that we know there’s somewhat of an official timeline to it but Nintendo isn’t saying much more than it’s a split timeline and that Skyward Sword is somewhere at the beginning. This, in my opinion engages the fans into creating their own legend of sorts and to create their own timeline. In a way, it’s good that Nintendo has not put forward an official timeline as it would leave us with something rigid and even though it may make sense, it would leave us with less of a legend and just another great franchise.
Like with any sort of epic tale, the Zelda franchise draws upon some of the primal archetypes within many of the most storied myths and legends. We have Link taking on the shoes of the hero, stepping into a bigger world, Zelda, our damsel in distress (Zelda does have her moments where she helps defeat the evil powers), the useful or not so useful sidekick *ahem*Linebeck*ahem* and of course the evil mastermind as played by Ganon. These are some of the basic building blocks of what makes a great story and Nintendo has stuck with this formula.
As with any great story, the way it is told is very important. It wasn’t horsepower and snazzy HD graphics that propelled the franchise forward into stardom, but a memorable art style that came with almost any Zelda game. From the 8-bit in Zelda I, side-scrolling in Zelda II, vibrant colours and 3D polygons in Ocarina of Time, Cel Shading in Wind Waker, the grittyness in Twilight Princess to the water colour Monet-esque Skyward Sword, Zelda has helped to set the watermark high for beautiful and unique aesthetics to our graphics with putting quality over quantity, especially in a world where HD is king.
With any great story, an equally memorable soundtrack should accompany it. Like Star Wars, Lord of the Rings and other classic tales, the Legend of Zelda has a unique and memorable soundtrack that has accompanied it since its inception twenty five years ago. And not to mention we recently had the Legend of Zelda’s 25th anniversary concerts take place just recently in Los Angeles, California and London, England and there will be tour dates across the world in various locations in 2012. On top of the concerts, the upcoming Zelda title, Skyward Sword, will feature a soundtrack that’s fully orchestrated!
Zelda will remain near and dear to many of us, especially those who grew up with franchise. Although it’s going to get flak from others that it’s not in HD or is a Zelda game, it’s still going to be a solid franchise and will be with us for many more years.
Thanks for acknowledging the graphics! Realistic graphics aren’t the only “good” graphics. In fact, imaginative graphics are infinitely better than realistic graphics, if you ask me!
I totally agree with you on the art style is a very important part of a game. Muramasa, Okami and Mario Galaxy are great examples of SD titles that shine in great graphics, especially since High Definition does not necessarily equate to high quality