The Magic of the First Legend of Zelda | Game Maker's Toolkit



The next Zelda game, Breath of the Wild, is said to be inspired by the very first game in the series. Let’s revisit that seminal game, to see how Nintendo made such an intoxicating adventure.
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Miyamoto Interview Quotes:
Game Over: Press Start to Continue: The Maturing of Mario. David Sheff, 1999.
Superplay Interview
Shigeru Miyamoto, GDC 2007 Keynote
Recommended Viewing / Reading:
Tevis Thompson: “Saving Zelda”
Legends of Localization: “The Legend of Zelda”
Hyrule Blog: “The Linearity Check: Dungeon Orders”
Games shown in this episode (in order of appearance):
Resident Evil (Capcom, 1996)
Resident Evil 6 (Capcom, 2012)
Resident Evil 7: Biohazard (Capcom, 2017)
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Nintendo, 2017)
The Legend of Zelda (Nintendo, 1986)
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (Bethesda Game Studios, 2011)
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword (Nintendo, 2011)
The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess (Nintendo, 2006)
The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker (Nintendo, 2002)
Hyper Light Drifter (Heart Machine, 2016)
Fez (Polytron Corporation, 2012)
Dark Souls III (From Software, 2016)
The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds (Nintendo, 2013)
Music used in this episode:
00:00 – Titan (Hyper Light Drifter, Disasterpiece)
00:47 – Hyrule Field Main Theme (Twilight Princess)
03:15 – Faron Woods (Twilight Princess)
04:33 – Knight Academy Theme (Skyward Sword)
07:09 – Sealed Temple (Skyward Sword)
10:08 – Faron Woods (Skyward Sword)
11:53 – Overworld (The Legend of Zelda)
Credits
Zelda Dungeon-Informer: “Legend of Zelda NES Commercial #1”
Thanks to The Gaming Brit for the Resident Evil 6 footage

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37 thoughts on “The Magic of the First Legend of Zelda | Game Maker's Toolkit

  • That quote communicating with your friends is pretty interesting. A couple of my friends and I all picked up BOTW when it launched and we were constantly talking to each other, trying to figure out secrets and such. They really did go back to their roots

  • Watching this 2 years after Zelda BotW was released, and it's fair to say Nintendo succeeded in recreating an open world adventure game!! BotW is one of the best games of all time.

  • Everybody loves Skyrim, but the absurd hand-holding killed the game for me. I think a good compromise, although it still is a little too much on the hand-hold side, is Kingdom Come. In this game we have a general idea of where to go, but going there we have to ask NPCs about what we want. And most of the time they won't give you marks on your map, they will say things like "He hangs in the tavern every night". That game hit the right spot for me, where it wasn't everything boringly obvious to the point I didn't even know what the quest was about, but at the same time nothing was hidden so much that tempted me to use Google. Also playing Super Metroid 3 as a child, that game blew my mind. We didn't have internet and only one more friend of mine played the game, so we had to painstakingly figure out the game, which was so fun to play that I didn't mind being lost for hours inside that maze.

  • Spoiler Alert: BOTW nailed the exploration but the lack of good dungeons keeps it from being anywhere near the best Zelda games. 8/10 as a standalone game, 6/10 as a Zelda game. It's solidly above Spirit Tracks and SS but Minish Cap, LTTP, MM, and OOT are miles ahead of it. Hope we get a change back towards good dungeons and ability-locked areas in the next game, because the lack of clear progression and an intended dungeon order cripples that feeling of exploration. The sections of the game don't open up or connect in interesting ways, and since the whole world is accessible immediately, there's zero motivation to actually explore and find useful items. Ironically they really only took one of the aspects that made Zelda 1 great (the open world) and completely missed the purpose it served in the first game. There's no motivation to explore except finding shrines and Korok seeds, neither of which presents a compelling challenge or offers an interesting reward, so the game misses out on what made Zelda 1's open world work. Just look and see a giant, obvious landmark in the distance and go straight towards it, then complete the mini quest to get to the Divine beast, finish the painfully simple, copy-pasted-feeling dungeon, fight a painfully easy, copy-pasted-feeling boss, repeat 3 times, then fight Ganon. The gameplay loop is weak, which means it completely missed the mark of getting back to the roots of the series. It's arguably the farthest the series has ever been from the design choices that define it.

  • Yeah you can't beat this game without looking for the solution. Breath of the Wild does the job infinite times better.
    Too much "handholding" is bad, but either a moderate one or a different approach to make the game able to being finished is needed. You can't just be sent on a vast world with lots of secret entrances that you would never find and manage to beat it. And it is not cool at all that you need to search up for the solution in order to beat it. I mean, for such an old game it is easily justifiable, but not for the new ones. As a kid and likely above the average of kids' videogame skills, I got stuck one single time in Spirit Trucks exactly in a section where you needed to find a secret entrance in order to continue. Had to look it up, and that wasn't fun, at all.

  • This is literally me after laughing hysterically for 5 minutes….

    Did you get the sword on top of the waterfall….
    – Hell no, what are you talking about?
    – Dammit
    ?????????????????????????????????????????????????

  • Well, in ALttP you need the warp whistle (the flute in that game) to access one of the last dungeons. So a few years later, they weren't far off! Ha.

  • Please do a review of the old tomb raider game mechanics and how they added diversity yo the game by mixing platafforming, puzzle solving and exploration and combat system.

  • The whistle can take you to last dungeon, but you need to have the pieces of the triforce. A gust if wind takes you. Just so you know.

  • I also played it in 2017 and I thought it sucked. The world was just felt too rudimentary and repetitive for me to want to explore it. I know people are gonna hate me for this but whatever

  • How you describe Zelda one is so accurate to breath of the wild, it's crazy how much they took from Zelda 1.

  • It’s still a pretty fun game to play but it hasn’t aged perfectly. Also some of the enemies are so ducking cheap, especially the Darknuts and Poes

  • I first played Zelda 1 in February this year (2019) on my Wii U Virtual Console. First Zelda I've ever played as well. When the first game instantly makes you want to play the rest of the series, you know it's good.

  • The "tip of the nose" thing refers to a secret room in one of the dungeons that looks like a face.

    Anyway, this Zelda does not give information to the player because of technical limitations. This is a deficiency of the game, not a great game design example. That's why the game producers tried to pass critical information to the player through another media (instruction manual).

    Of course, the game still has a lot of freedom, something that only came to reappear in Zelda Breath of the Wild, and it's that freedom that causes the "magic" of playing Zelda, not the fact that you do not have crucial information inside to discover the mysteries.

    In fact, any game nowadays that has a mystery whose solution can not be found within the game itself would be considered shit.

  • Looool one of the best in the series? Bitch please. The graphics suck and the gameplay is limited. It's a pile of shit next to mm and oot. Pretentious video is pretentious.

  • See the annoying thing for me is that despite it being completely open, there obviously is a preferred order to do the dungeons in, or ways to easily miss important stuff. Maybe 20 years ago but I don’t have thaaaat much time to trial and error this over and over. I think Link to the Past was the best middle ground for someone with my attention span. Or just have a map.

    Like, I don’t understand how bombable walls or burnable trees with no indication are a good thing. You’ll end up looking it up online realistically. There should be some kind of hint

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