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Madness
Written By: Roger Taylor

The following editorial will quote this article a great deal, so it is recommended you read the latest news first.

As most of you have now heard, The Legend of Zelda for Nintendo's newest console GameCube has adopted a new look. I know that there are those of you out there you like the new look. And I know some of you are taking a "wait and see" policy towards the new look (including some of us at NGF). But I am a Nintendo fan, and as one I cannot stand by and watch as my favorite gaming company shoots itself in its other foot, having shot the first foot when it stuck with cartridges for the N64. And yes, I am comparing these new screenshots to one of the worst decisions in gaming history. Allow me to explain:

To quote the late Douglas Adams, the border between madness and genius is very narrow. Hitler was a brilliant military leader, having taken over most of Europe in just a few years, but he also killed 12 million people. A lighter example, George Lucas created the most beloved science-fiction movies ever when he made the original Star Wars trilogy; then he made the moronic Episode 1. Shigeru Miyamoto has his place among these men. He created some of the best and longest lasting game franchises of all time, among them Mario, Donkey Kong and Zelda. He created and perfected a genre all in one game with Super Mario 64. He is responsible for almost every major controller innovation since the NES. He single-handedly saved the home console market with his stellar Super Mario Bros…and so on. In short, the man is the greatest genius the industry has ever known. But like all geniuses, he is partially insane. This is also the man whose recommendation it was for Nintendo to stick with cartridges for the Nintendo 64. And after Nintendo lost half its customers on that decision alone, Miyamoto still wanted to use cartridges on GameCube.

That said, using cel-shaded (read: cartoon-like) graphics on Zelda is one of the worst business decisions Nintendo could possibly make. Mario and Zelda have always been appropriate for all ages. That is to say that they are inoffensive enough to be enjoyed by kids, and good enough to be enjoyed by more picky adults. But these two series' similarities end there, as far as demographics go. While anyone can enjoy it, Mario has always been a predominantly kid-played title, while Zelda is customarily enjoyed by an older audience. If Nintendo releases Zelda the way it is, it will be perceived as a kid's title, and hundreds of fans will immediately turn their backs on Nintendo.

If you are anything like me, you have been fighting for years to explain to closed-minded gamers that Nintendo makes games for everyone, including teenagers and adults. All that hard work, and much of the truth behind it, will disappear overnight when this monstrosity of a title comes out. I have a friend who abandoned Nintendo after the Super Nintendo, buying a PlayStation instead. When I showed him some pictures of the video Nintendo released at the previous Spaceworld, showing Link and Gannon battling in full, beautifully detailed 3D, he said (paraphrased slightly), "Maybe the GameCube is worth buying after all." After showing him the latest cel-shaded graphics, he immediately changed his mind saying: "I told you years ago that Nintendo was for kids."

Would I be writing this were it not for Nintendo's already kid-friendly image? Absolutely not. The effect of cel-shading in Zelda on the amount of fun you can have with the system as a whole is negligible. There will still be more than enough great games for the GameCube to justify a purchase, no matter what your age. But Nintendo has basically just stuck up their middle finger at everyone over the age of twelve and shouted, "We don't need you!"

What do I suggest? Simple. Tell Nintendo how you feel. It may seem sometimes like companies do not listen to what their customers have to say, but we begged and pleaded for Metroid for years and eventually Nintendo gave in and commissioned the game to be made. This is no different. If Nintendo receives one thousand e-mails and letters from one thousand different people begging them to change Zelda back to the way it was, they cannot simply ignore such a reaction.

The chances of us getting Nintendo to change what they have done are very slim, especially considering how far along the game is reported to be. But if there is any chance that we can save Nintendo from themselves, isn't it worth five minutes of your time to take that chance? Please, from one gamer to another, tell Nintendo what you think about the new cel-shaded graphics in Zelda. Help reverse what could be the worst business decision in the video game industry since The Big N chose to stick with cartridges for the N64.

I am not here to dictate anyone's opinion. If you like the new graphics, go right ahead. But try and understand how disastrous this could prove to be. Try and understand this cause.

Thank you and goodnight.

Posted: 8-29-01




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