Anatomy of a Game: Zelda XIII

I didn’t mean to give the impression with yesterday’s update that Zelda was the first game with a strong bestiary, or a diverse one, or a well-crafted one. However, what you would typically find in the early ’80s was that RPGs had large casts of monsters with diverse powers, but those unfolded primarily through the […]

Anatomy of a Game: Zelda IX

As this series of long-dated observations about The Legend of Zelda nears its conclusion, it’s time to circle back around to the very first post on the topic and look at the overworld design again. Zelda admirably points players in the right direction from the very beginning and “teaches” you how to play as you […]

Anatomy of a Game: Zelda VIII

I would like to put forth two possibilities for the design of The Legend of Zelda Level-07, Demon. Either it is meant to be a sorbet of sorts — a palate-cleanser — in the wake of two extraordinarily difficult dungeons, or else someone got their numeration wrong and this was supposed to come much earlier […]

Anatomy of a Game: Zelda VII

So, my original intention for the Anatomy of Zelda was to combine multiple later dungeons into single entries. That obviously hasn’t worked out, because, well, the game has more varied and interesting design than I gave it credit for. Which is fine. I’m not going to complain about a well-crafted game, although it does mean […]

Anatomy of a Game: Zelda VI

I can’t believe it’s been a full month since I posted the last of these. My apologies. I was out of town for two-thirds of that time and basically just set the site to auto-publish GameSpite Journal 12 content (aside from the occasional pointless observations about Evangelion). Let us now regroup and return to the […]

Anatomy of a Game: Zelda ~ ALL OF TREASURES ~

So the big deal about The Legend of Zelda was that it had a ton of items to collect. Some were instant consumables, some were weapons, some were simply passive tools. Some dropped randomly from enemy mobs, whereas others appeared in fixed locations, and yet others were deliberately tucked away as key acquisition points to enable […]

Anatomy of a Game: Zelda IV

On to Zelda‘s third dungeon, assuming you’re going in the order God intended and not sequence-breaking. Which you can totally do up until this point. Not that sequence-breaking is necessarily a good idea for the third dungeon, Manji, given that it’s specifically designed around two weapons: The White Sword and the Bombs. The level nudges […]

Anatomy of a Game: Legend of Zelda III

The Legend of Zelda‘s second dungeon ups the stakes a bit. There’s only one room with foes that, objectively speaking, are more dangerous and powerful than any that appear in the first dungeon. On the whole, though, the difficulty level climbs here as you face off against foes that appear in larger numbers and observe […]

Anatomy of a Game: Legend of Zelda II

You would think that, as a baby-easy cakewalk, The Legend of Zelda‘s first dungeon would merit very little discussion. But you’d be wrong! The game treats this level as training wheels for much of what is to come; the dungeon navigation tricks you learn here, where the challenge level remains gentle, will guide you through […]

Anatomy of a Game: The Legend of Zelda I

  I have powerful, lasting memories of The Legend of Zelda. Along with Metroid, Zelda taught me a great deal about the potential of video games and helped cement my tastes in the medium. Exploration, depth, freedom, and just enough challenge to keep things interesting: That’s Zelda. And that’s what I like. Yet I first […]