What Could Have Been

By Katie Sharp

What supporters of this horrid new style for Zelda are missing is the fact that game design is more about having lots of cool items and rounded edges on images. It is about art, and I see nothing artistic about what was revealed at Spaceworld 2001. I see Shigeru Miyamoto as, unfortunately, bending to the pressure from Nintendo to keep its games child-oriented. How else can you explain the hideous regression from the breathtaking, magical graphics of Ocarina and Majora's Mask--graphics so real that I still play the games for hours just to get lost in their little worlds--to the Pokemon-esque crap he is pushing now? There is absolutely no excuse for this garbage.

So Ocarina was a serious game. It was also a separate reality, with spirituality, innocence, love, self-discovery, and the most freaking awesome final battle I have ever played in my life, in any game, computer or console. It went beyond any game of its time or any game to this day. It was breathtaking--maybe not a romp-through-happyland fantasy--but a breathtaking journey to preserve the shining good in Hyrule. It made you care. It grabbed you by the neck and sucked you in to its magic. Does Miyamoto think that a kindergartener's rendering of Link in a happy child world is going to do the same thing?

I love Zelda more than anything in the world. I cried when I played Ocarina for the first time, because its spirit and beauty touched my soul in a way I never imagined a game could. In the 64 games, they didn't just make fun, escapist eye candy--they made entire worlds so real that many of us were trapped in them for months on end. (I still am!) I cannot imagine--no wait, I refuse--to try to find the redeeming quality of a thrown-together excuse for a Zelda game. I guess I'll have to sit and view the demo from Spaceworld 2000 over and over again and sigh thinking about what could have been if aliens had not abducted Miyamoto's brain and aesthetic sense.

Or maybe it was just too much to hope that Ocarina could actually be improved upon. At least I won't have to spend the money to buy a GameCube now--I'll stick with game designers like Blizzard who aren't afraid to tackle grown-up topics in a mystical, beautiful realm. And I guess I'll always have my 64 to play.