Our 24 charity gaming marathon begins on 20th July and although we discussed a few games to play, we settled pretty quickly on Legend of Zelda. There’s plenty of reasons to love the Zelda series, but here are our top ten reasons for playing Zelda for 24 hours straight.
1. The Music
This might be the number one reason why I love Zelda. The music is just incredible. The games include no spoken dialogue, so the music does all the talking. And it certainly speaks to you. It’s stirring, epic, creepy, fun and moving. The fact that there’s an orchestra concert of the music touring the world tells you how amazing the soundtrack is. It’s also just plain catchy.
2. Assassin’s Creed is Just Too Long
Chris did a gaming marathon earlier in the year with Halo, right around the time I was playing Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood. But the AC games are just too long and too draining. Zelda, on the other hand, has the same epic quality but remains light and fresh. Perfect for a 24 hour marathon.
3. It Tells a Mature Story Without Being “Adult”
Assassin’s Creed is a very violent game. Violence is an easy shortcut to a feeling of maturity, but Legend of Zelda takes a tougher route. While it would be easy to write them off as kids’ games, (especially with the cute, cel-shaded graphics of Wind Waker), they actually tell mature stories without having to resort to the dark and gritty clichés. Legend of Zelda keeps an all-ages feel but tells stories about good and evil, or hope and faith, loneliness, the nature of friendship.
4. There’s no spoken dialogue
Dialogue is restricted to text displayed on the screen. On top of that the playable character, Link, has no dialogue at all. All he gets is facial expressions and the odd grunt. This invites the player to mentally voice the characters themselves and turns Link into a blank slate onto which they can project themselves. Legend of Zelda invites you to be the hero.
5. The Mythos
The Triforce. The goddesses. Even Link and Zelda themselves, the reincarnating heroes of Hyrule. Each game builds upon what came before, building up an enormous mythos (and a convoluted timeline) and creating a rich world for us to play in.
6. Chris Has Never Completed Majora’s Mask
I’ve heard it said that Majora’s Mask is the Empire Strikes Back to Ocarina of Time’s Star Wars. It’s an apt comparison. The first act is a grand, uncomplicated epic of good verus evil. By comparison the sequel is messy, smaller, more interested in characters than noble battles. The sequel is harder to get into as a result, but the rewards are great for those who manage it.
7. There Are No FMV Videos
FMV (Full Motion Video). Me no likey. It yanks you out of the game and shows you a cutscene with achingly beautiful graphics. Then it drops me back into the game, which now looks like Polygon World by comparison. Legend of Zelda renders its cutscenes using the same sprites as the one you play with. It makes the game more cohesive and doesn’t interrupt my experience.
8. The Puzzles
Block puzzles. Lock and key items. Even some fetch quests. The puzzles mean your brain gets as much exercise as your thumbs. Some of them are pretty straightforward, others are long and involved. Others are controller-crackingly infuriating. Kafei’s Mask, anyone?
9. The Population
Gorons and Zoras, Deku Scrubs and vengeful cuccos. And then there are the characters themselves. The Happy Mask Salesman who always seems too happy until he flips out. Sweet innocent Malon who never seems to catch a break. Guru Guru and the catchy tune of his. Old Men who tell you it’s dangerous to go alone. Legend of Zelda is full of bizarre and wonderful characters and races, always entertaining and delightfully…unique.
10. It’s straightforward
I didn’t play Ocarina of Time until some time after it was released. I’d been put off RPGs mostly thanks to Final Fantasy VIII. Hit points. Experience points. Dance points and hokey-kokey points.
Legend of Zelda lets me run around and hit things with swords. If it was a hammer it’d be perfect. It’s straightforward fun, perfect for a 24 hour gaming marathin.
Our marathon starts at 10:00 GMT 20th July and we’d love for you to join us. We’ll be live tweeting from @realjtk and @Christopher_J_K. You can also watch the action at the Panda Pad at on Twitch TV. We’ll do our best to entertain you and please do consider donating. It all goes to Child’s Play charity, who provide toys and games for kids stuck in a hospital. How can you say no to a cause like that?