Monday, August 27, 2012

"The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time", Nintendo 64, 1998.

Admittedly not every game needs screenshots to be sellable; sometimes the mere announcement of their arrival does the trick. (I personally remember the era of screenshots on the back of the box being used to gauge whether a game was worth buying or not, an era that quickly passed as soon even the most bargain-basement publisher was able to hold their ugliest game still for a moment and take a couple of flattering shots of opening cinematics and FMV cutscenes.)

Calling it "the most anticipated game of all time" might be somewhat of an overstatement (clearly, that was ToeJam & Earl 3, right? Just kidding -- accounting for compound interest, that would of course be Cliff Johnson's The Fool And His Money.) But the bold claim does raise eyebrows and make skeptics wonder just what it is bringing to the table.

Potatoes of couch.
Prepare ye for a mashing.

The most anticipated game of all time cometh to Nintendo 64. Use thy wits in 360 degrees. Or be torn to bits in 360 degrees

Zelda. Have ye what it takes?

Best of all, we get it in patented Lord British-style Selective Olde Englishhe. "Forsooth! Mine electronic diversion doth mop the floor with thine competition! Eateth mine shorts, Station of Play!" By all accounts, this was a winning game on a losing platform, hence perhaps the emphasis on the console rather than any salient details about the game (beyond its being in 3D, which at the time was somewhat of a given -- unfortunately, as the graphical sophistication made more extensive use of the consoles' extended hardware capabilities, justifying them to a certain extent, even in games in genres which were in no way improved by the trip to the third dimension.) Announcing a Zelda game "coming to" a Nintendo platform is admittedly redundant, since they will never again repeat the mistake they made with the Philips CD-i. In a sense, then, what this ad is really saying is: Nintendo 64 -- if you like to play Zelda games, you will have to come here to do it. Nintendo is admittedly sitting on a pretty formidable IP library, however uncommon it is for them to dig deep into it beyond each generation's installment of Super Smash Bros... because their cute and charming IP is not of great use in a time when the measure of a game is the realism of its headshots or the polymorphic perversity of its NPC relationships.

Ah, but I digress (lookit that paragraph! do I ever!), which is my cue to set this post aside and move along.