People have lots of favorite things. Favorite beer, Karl Strauss Red Trolley. Favorite day of the week, Friday. Favorite color, Blue. Favorite number, 8. But, core to the being of a gamer is favorite game franchise. The series that you will always buy the games, no matter what crazy gimmick they’re trying to sell you. And I definitely have one. For a long time it was a tie, and I’ll tell you the franchise that lost the race, and when.
The Runner up is the Final Fantasy series. I do so love it, but there was one game that lost it major points and it hasn’t been the same since. Final Fantasy Crisis Core. I was actually really excited about this game. I loved Final Fantasy VII, as I’m sure many of you did. And seeing story from the perspective of Zack was kinda neat. The gameplay was decent, running around action beat em up… but my god. The leveling and slot machine mechanic…. I hated it. Maybe I didn’t understand it or something, but I’m really pretty much convinced that it was just a terrible awful mechanic. So, that put FF way behind in the race for my favorite video game franchise. What was the competition?
Anyone that knows me already knows what the answer is going to be. Anyone care to guess? See the answer after the jump.
The Legend of Zelda
I have loved this game since the first time I was told that it was dangerous to go alone, and to take this. That little pixelated man, standing too close to magical bonfires and offering me a sword for no particular reason, has always had a special place in my heart. Especially when I found this shirt…
So epic! I had to have it. But of course, with the way of the internet and the “$10 shirts, one day only!” sites, I missed it by 2 hours. Eventually it went on sale elsewhere and for a lot more, but I bought it all the same.
If you’ve never played it, go here and play it. Online, free. No excuses.
There have been many games in this franchise, and they’ve all had varying measures of success and critical acclaim. Generally speaking, I don’t listen to critics, except for Ben “Yahtzee” Croshaw’s Zero Punctuation, because he is awesome.
The series started with a game, as you may have guessed, called “The Legend of Zelda”. It was part of the “who needs a tutorial?” era of gaming, and as such, if you didn’t read the manual, you might not have any idea what you’re doing. It’s ok, kill stuff and explore. Eventually you’ll get the girl. As the series went on, we got more non-player characters telling us what was going on in the world. The second LoZ game was, by many, regarded as the black sheep of the franchise. I think Nintendo wasn’t aware that the simplicity of LoZ was great, and they made it a little more complicated. It worked, but it wasn’t true to the feel of the game. Nintendo ditched the XP and leveling up in the third game, “A Link to the Past”. See what they did there? You play as “Link”, trying to save Zelda. You might have thought that you play as Zelda, since there’s this legend about her, but no, it’s about saving her bacon. Mmm bacon.
Where was I? Oh yeah, the best game in the series, A Link to the Past. Released on the Super Nintendo, there was story, a reason to do what you were doing, and help along the way. This is really where the series crossed into the “Who reads the manual, anyway?” era. Personally, I have never looked back. Manuals are for suckers!
Unless you’re back here reading this article/post after having played LoZ online like I told you to, you may not know anything about it. Here’s what you need to know. The Princess Zelda has been captured by the Evil Gannon. It’s up to you, Link, to save her. You have a sword, a shield and some life, go! As you go around you get other items to help you out. A boomerang is your first, and in many ways, best friend in the game. You also get bombs, a bow and arrows, map and compass for helping you find your way in dungeons, candles to light your way (and things on fire), magic rods, ladders to help you cross gaps, rafts, potions, and of course The Master Sword to help defeat Gannon.
The games progress from the original, in some you have magic, masks, fairy friends, a train, a boat, etc… In each the gameplay and point are the same. Swing your sword, block attacks, find the princess and defeat Gannon(dorf). Yeah, sometimes he’s Gannondorf. I could probably find out why, but all I need to know is that he’s the bad guy and has to die. 😉
I could probably write a dissertation on this game, maybe I will someday, but today is not that day. Go play LoZ, even if you have before, it’s great. Play it again. Say hi to Zelda for me. *if you know what I mean*