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Renewing the Old and Redoing the New
Over time, a lot of games lose their target audience and the developers either stop making the games, or they just shelve their ideas for a while. There are a lot of different series and franchises that have withstood countless years of being on the market, but there have been others that have dwindled over the years, with some seeing short but definite comebacks. However, one of the dominating franchises that has never dwindled is The Legend of Zelda. This franchise has been around for over 25 years and is one of the most well known franchises in video-game history. Nintendo has been really careful to make sure that this series didn't dwindle, so read on to explore a few points as to why I think Zelda has been able to make a lasting impression. Also, it would be superb if you could comment as to why you think the series has been able to stay so current for so long.
To start with, one of the fantastic things Nintendo does, is they always look at what worked well or didn't work well in a game. They take all of the things that people really liked and do their best to incorporate them into future games. Then they just throw away the stuff that didn't work or improve upon it. For example, from Phantom Hourglass to Spirit Tracks, Nintendo wanted to improve the overall feel of the game, so they took the things that worked from Phantom Hourglass. One thing that they felt worked in Phantom Hourglass but could be improved was the Temple of the Ocean King. Of course everyone's main complaint with this was that you had to keep doing the same floors over and over again. What Nintendo did, is create the Tower of Spirits. Instead of doing the same floor over again, as you recovered more floors you had a stairwell leading up to the new parts you unlocked. This made the game feel a lot more open in the fact that you didn't do the same thing over again, plus this led to less complaints. Along with that, there was some awesome music when you were traversing the stairwell.
Editor Note: One way Nintendo renews the old
Another thing Nintendo constantly tries to do is provide a unique experience for their core games. They feel this is necessary because then each game feels unique and the experience cannot be duplicated on a competitor's system. For example, with Skyward Sword, you had the one-to-one motion control with the Wii remote and your sword, but not really your shield. This unique experience of course, gave the game new depth just like with the release of the Nintendo 64, you were given a third dimension of depth. Nintendo always tries to make their core franchises feel new by making sure there's a lot of cool revolutionary features to add into the game. Occasionally it takes a new system for them to do this, as they've exhausted all they can do with one system, but other times they can release multiple games from the franchise on the same systems while still keeping it fresh and new with in-game uniqueness. This is similar to how Majora's Mask had a different story, setting, and all of the masks with cool abilities compared to Ocarina of Time, and how Zelda II was more of an RPG with a lot more side-scrolling elements compared to Zelda I.
Next, Nintendo does their best to breathe new light into games and completely redefine the genre of said game. For example, the difference between Majora's Mask and Wind Waker is incredibly different. Different art style, different over-world, different story, different items, just a different everything. There are a lot of games where you don't see this amount of difference, but I'm not going to go into detail on them. Of course a lot of people, uniformed or not might claim how the games are still all about traveling through dungeons to save the princess. While this may be true for a lot of Zelda games, there are a lot of other cosmetic differences that go beyond the main story-line. You might as well say that every Mario game involves jumping and saving the princess, whereas when you look at Super Mario Bros. and Super Mario 64, they are two radically different games! I didn't want to use a Mario analogy, but I'm sure you understand what I'm saying. (You could also create some analogies of your own in the comments section!)
Editor Note: See More Wind Waker HD Screenshots here
In conclusion, whether it's coming up with new ideas, or new story elements, Nintendo always does really well to renew old franchises. They don't create shovel-ware, and they make sure that even when two games in a franchise are on the same console, to practically redefine what the series is, in a different way. If Nintendo weren't good at this, then who knows what might have happened to the video-game market. A Lot of developers try to breathe new light into franchises, but none do it better than the company that revolutionized gaming itself, Nintendo.