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Submitted by Nineball2112 577d ago | article

Learning From The Masters: Level Design In The Legend Of Zelda

Gamasutra: When going back to replay classic games I played as a kid to mine them for knowledge, I always fear that any games from the NES era or earlier are too old to learn much from.

I tend to assume that many elements of modern design will be missing: no training, bad difficulty ramping, haphazard level design, and so forth. Before writing this article, I was under the impression that many "good design principles" I've come to know and love were invented during the SNES era and iterated on from there.

The NES was the Wild West of game development, I thought, lawless and free. (Dev, Retro)

wishingW3L  +   577d ago
it's different. You can't really create another game like this with today's technology. This game was made the way it was due to the limitations of the technology at the time and it turned out fine just because of insanely lucky timing.
P_Bomb  +   577d ago
The stars definitely aligned for it.

1)One of the more unique games on the console at the time in terms of its free roam overworld/underworld design and fantasy RPG elements.

2)Great production values for its time including a new battery save feature.

3)One of the longer quests out there with a new game+ that completely changed the dungeons.

4)Great marketing, from TV ads to the primo looking gold cartridges, gold box, gold manual. It looked like a treasure.

5)Perhaps most importantly, it was a good game. Zelda II: The Adventure of Link changed thing up too much for many people, but when the SNES' Link to the Past went back to the top-down formula of the original, it was a homerun again.

Still have the GameCube disc with 4 Zeldas on it (Zelda 1&2 + the two N64 ports). Glad to have hard copies along with the emulator :)
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wishingW3L  +   577d ago
the limitation of the technology is what makes you think that in combination with the camera on top. For example, if this game were re-created in fully 3D with the exact same level design the dungeons would feel just as restrictive and linear as FFXIII's corridors. And its overworld is nothing more than the classic hub-like world-map of old-school JRPG's but much more smaller in scale to allow the same uniform detail through all the game.

For its time it was godlike design due to its limitations but by today's standards this is as archaic as it gets. But the author is talking like if a developer could learn something new by playing this old game and that is not true.

After Zelda came Dragon Quest and then Final Fantasy and both of them evolved this concept and this is when the classic JRPG formula was born. The only thing Zelda has over these 2 is the charm created by its own simplicity.
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guitarded77  +   577d ago
Still my favorite game of all time. I do a run through every year or two. The dungeons and overworld are brilliantly designed. As far as Zelda has come, I feel that the design of Hyrule has strayed from the diverse environment it was in the first game. And that diversity was created on an 8-bit machine.
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Picnic  +   577d ago
Definitely a case of 'you had to be there' for me- and generally 'you had to be not British' either. We generally shunned the NES because, by the time it came out here, it was too expensive and the graphics well dated compared to the Amiga. The pattern continued - the
Megadrive sold more in the UK than the SNES did.
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Picnic  +   577d ago
What part do you diagree with?

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