Posted by: seanmalstrom | June 14, 2014

Email: We’ll see about that, Aonuma…

Maybe all of our criticism about the over-abundance of puzzles in Zelda is getting back to the development team, I don’t know.

It’s likely, however, that Aonuma is simply looking for another way to get “creative” with the puzzles by changing them up instead of reducing them.

I’d like to be hopeful, but I just don’t trust this man.  If he was serious about giving us what we want, he would have used that graphical style shown off at E3 a few years ago, not Skyward Sword’s style once again.  That is so lazy, even for Aonuma!  What is this guy’s obsession with cell shading?Anyway, how can we trust a man who HATES the original game in the series.  Hell, he won’t even talk about the second game.  That one probably gives him nightmares!

The solution is to GET HIM OFF THE ZELDA SERIES.  Nintendo *appears* to have removed Sakamoto from the Metroid series (a move that has totally shocked me).  I see that as the only viable solution with Zelda as well.  Remove Aonuma.

Using my Aonuma Translator, it tells me that Aonuma is saying that ‘getting creative with the puzzles’ means integrating them better so the player doesn’t think ‘puzzle time’. He specifically mentions sliding blocks around as something he wants to get away with and do ‘logical choices’.

Sakamoto was removed (if he was) because he doesn’t have Miyamoto to circle the wagons around him. Aonuma was hired specifically by Miyamoto due to Aonuma’s experience of making dolls in college and an adventure SNES game that bombed in Japan. “You’d fit in here very well!” Aonuma’s Zelda experience before directing was the dungeon design in Ocarina of Time (he might have played a small part in Gameboy Zelda) which is the only consistent complaint people have of the game (remember the Water Temple? Oh dear…).

As I understand it, the classic Zelda games were very stressful to make and no one wanted to make more Zelda despite the series’ popularity. Aonuma was the only one that came forward, but he wanted to make it into his type of game. After making Majora’s Mask very quickly, Nintendo said ‘fine, you can have Zelda’. But the reason why Aonuma was able to make the Zelda game quickly is because he wasn’t making a Zelda game. He was making a different genre game with Zelda skins and IPs.

In an alternate universe, imagine if Hyrule Warriors came out as the only Zelda game on the system. Fans would be going, “WTF is this? This isn’t Zelda.” But Nintendo would say, “What are you talking about? It is Zelda. Zelda has always been about moving about a map attacking a bunch of monsters.” While that is true, it would be incorrect to say that is the core which the entire gameplay revolves around.

Puzzle games have always been the bottom rung of video games because they are so easy to make. It is why most indie video games tend to be puzzle games. When you look at the sales history of video games, has there ever been a top selling puzzle game? (Tetris may have been labeled a ‘puzzle game’ but it was more action/arcade.) Well, there is Myst which was a PC game. But that game boasted ‘awesome graphics’ in the same fashion that 11th Hour and Seventh Guest were with the introduction of CD. There were games like Shadowgate (and that game OOZED atmosphere).

For all the talk Aonuma and Nintendo makes of the original Legend of Zelda, it’s clear they don’t play the game or even look what the company printed about it. The Nintendo Fun Club Newsletter introduces Zelda as a dual-genre game of arcade action and computer RPG and declared it ‘the best of both worlds’. No mention of the word puzzle. In the wikipedia entry of the original Legend of Zelda, the development section has a quote of Miyamoto saying Zelda was about ‘riddles and puzzles’ with the source from an interview in 2001 (which was Before Malstrom). If you look at the interview, there is zero mention of puzzles. It seems like more and more people are willing to make things up these days.

Here is the box of Zelda I. Behold:

The text is very interesting. On the cover of the box, it says invaluable maps (maps are useful for mazes, not puzzles) and “straegic” tips. What a terrible typo. But the strategic sense doesn’t fit with puzzles either. Strategic in Zelda 1 means ‘how do I get enough rupees to buy stuff?’ to ‘how do I kill X’ to ‘how do I get past this part and not die?’ There is nothing puzzle in that.


The back of the box sounds like it is describing Hyrule Warriors more than any Aonuma Zelda game. But what does the original box say?


Dungeonous mazes? Then it mentions the enemies and ‘ward-off ruthless enemies’. This Zelda is something very different from what we see today.

If Nintendo wishes to make Puzzle Zelda, that is one thing. But don’t insult our intelligence by saying this is how Zelda always has been! It’s even on the fracking box that the game is about mazes and battling monsters. My hostility on this issue is so high because Nintendo says the games that I played (and still play) are not what I actually played. It’s no different than Sakamoto declaring that Super Metroid was about ‘maternal instincts’ when we KNOW that is not what the game was about.

At least Aonuma admitted that he doesn’t like Classic Zelda and wants to turn it into a bad fantasy PC adventure game.

Nintendo needs to stop declaring that it is ‘returning to the roots of Zelda’ when, in actuality, they are moving further and further away from the roots where the original Zelda customers can’t even recognize the series anymore.



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