It is a Great Time to be a Zelda Fan

It is a great time to be a Zelda Fan.
Can you feel it? A new Zelda is coming. I've been in the online Zelda community long enough to know the feeling well by now, to recognize it, and embrace it as an old friend. I felt it for Ocarina of Time - even all those years ago, when I was hardly able to think for myself, I knew that Zelda was special. I felt it for Majora's Mask, devouring every bit of news with eager eyes (and spoiling the ending for myself in the process. Now that was a mistake I've taken pains to never repeat). It was stronger for the Wind Waker then it had ever been before, almost consuming. I remember I pre-ordered it, and paid around ten extra bucks for the one-day shipping. And then my parents announced that we would be going on vacation in Florida for a week, and it just so happened that we would leave the day before it came out. That was the worst week of my life, let me tell you. I spent the entire week, almost, on Zelda forums everywhere. For those readers from Zelda Universe, that was when I went from a pointless newbie to a noticeable regular. I must have racked up about five hundred posts that week alone. A similar thing occurred at the Legends Alliance forums. But it was a two-edged sword of course - after all, everyone at both those places had the game and were talking about it.

The feeling is insidious. It creeps up on me, and this time at least, it's taken me completely by surprise. Aren't I one of the game's biggest and most vocal detractors in the online Zelda community? Aren't I the guy who wrote a twelve-page analysis of the last trailer, which was basically a big moan-fest about how it was going to ruin the franchise? Aren't I the guy who's not only filled with doubts, but managed (to their detriment) to convince other people to doubt?

I am. Or rather, I was. But this is Zelda. A new, major Zelda game can only be a wonderful, joyous occasion. Even the Wind Waker, which disappointed me to no end due to my ridiculously high expectations, was an almost magical experience for me, and one of my favorite games this generation. One of my favorite games, period.

But yes, back to the feeling. I want to go all Galadriel on you people. In fact, I will. I can honestly say that I smell it in the air, like a sudden wind of excitement. I feel it in the water, like a deep and mesmerizing Zelda game, calling out for my undivided attention. The earth itself seems to tingle with excitement. Oh yes, definitely a new Zelda game in the works.

...I bet I just convinced hundreds of people that I'm absolutely loony. Ah well. If they don't understand, then I pity them.

With all these recent screens and information, many of which seem to dispel my fears, it's impossible not to get excited. I think I finally realized how utterly helpless I am against my love of this series last night, while I was typing up a nice version of Aonuma's EGM interview. Typing an interview is good, and something I suggest everyone try at least one - it forces you to look more closely at things, get a better glimpse of the feelings behind the answers, especially when it's someone like Aonuma. There is a deep, underlying sense of pride and excitement through all his answers - he's as excited as I am, I'm sure of it. A good sign if there ever was one. From his article in the recent Nintendo Power, which as far as I know, Aonuma wrote himself, you can catch an even better glimpse. He, much like myself, has very definite ideas of the "spirit" of Zelda. His talk of teaching younger and newer developers... Yes, I find myself trusting Zelda's producer, something I haven't really done since Miyamoto handed him the reins. And one of his inspirations is Miyazaki's work, a mark of good taste if there ever was one. If you're one of the unlucky ones who've never seen Princess Mononoke or Spirited Away, it's high time you do. As soon as you finished reading this, of course. (By the way, typing up a couple page interview takes a hell of a long time - don't actually do it. Just read carefully or something, heh.)

Ah, with all this excitement and Zelda fanboy energy, what is one to do? I can't just let it sit there, unfulfilled, or else I'll go mad. This article is the result of that - do you think I can just randomly sit down and write something like this under normal conditions? Oh no, definitely not. It just seems to intensify the atmosphere, too. Hmmph.

But never fear, I have a treatment! It won't "cure" you, of course - but then again, why would you want this cured? But trust me, my fellow Zelda fans, you'll never appreciate the older Zelda games more than in an atmosphere like this. Break out your consoles, cartridges, and discs. There's nothing like a new game to revitalize interest and replay, oh, a Link to the Past, or Link's Awakening, or even the Wind Waker. I can play through Link's Awakening, and be newly intrigued and enthralled by puzzles and music that I memorized years ago. I will replay the Wind Waker, and allow myself to be filled to bursting with the magic that can be felt when you see underwater Hyrule for the first time. A Link to the Past... need I even explain? I just saw a screenshot of it a few moments back, and that was an experience in of itself. A very nostalgic experience.

I've been digging through my collection of OSTs, remixes, and MP3s, too. I'd forgotten how good the Zelda music is. I've been so busy listening to epic orchestrated oriental music in Jade Empire, or the beautiful Celtic remixes of Mitsuda or Suikoden music. But Zelda has its own charm. I'm listening to Dragon Roost Island right now... I remember, when I first got the Wind Waker, and I got to that Island. It was wonderful, sailing through the wide blue sea, finally arrived at a distant shore... and hearing those airy flutes start up.

Oh, and I mustn't forget the credits for a Link to the Past, which I was listening to a few moments ago. I beat that game for the first time so long ago, I can hardly remember what it was like. But even to this day, it's my favorite ending in the series. The Wind Waker and Ocarina of Time have fantastic endings, but they're not all happy - in one, Hyrule and it's King are dead. In the other, Link goes back in time, leaving Zelda behind in the ruins of her realm. But LttP... It is the true happy ending of the series. The Dark World wished back to it's former Golden glory, Link's Uncle revived, Ganon dead, and... the Mater Sword is laid to rest. Forever. And the music reflects all this.

Art, I believe, is something that I don't write enough about. It's odd, really, since I value fanart and official art as much as I value remixes and the music of the series. But I've written more about the music than I have about the art, much more. Perhaps I should try to remedy that, you think?

The art of the series is a wonderful thing. I don't much care for all the pictures we have of Link, standing there, or swinging his sword, or whatever. But larger pieces of art can convey as much feeling and nostalgia as any of the pieces of music. For example... the art of Link washed up on the shore of Koholint, with Marin kneeling over him, and Mount Tamaranch, crowned by the Windfish's Egg and sunbeams. Beautiful.

Or what about the picture of Link standing in the Clocktown Square, a worried look on his face, clearly out of place? And the moon's evil grin just creeping in on the side, too. That picture never mattered much to me, at first, but I've grown to love it.

And fanart can be a beautiful thing, too. There is one Japanese artist in particular which I love, who is responible for pictures like this one of Sheik. You can find her site here - it's in Japanese, but easy enough to navigate. And notice how I just managed to sneak some fanart into here, eh? I frown on people posting other's fanart, but I think this will be fine. I'm complimenting the beautiful pieces and trying to get all of you to stampede over there and see the rest of the amazing pictures. If she's anything like other fanartists I know, she'll forgive me this little transgression. Now I just hope she is not actually a guy, heh. And it would suck if you all crashed her Geocities site, too.

I seem to have blown off track, somewhere during the last couple pages. But it doesn't matter - it is a good time to be a Zelda fan. A new Zelda is coming, and life is good.