The Retronomicon 12.20.13: Legend of Zelda and Pokemon Channel
Posted by Stewart Lange on 12.20.2013
This week the Retronomicon continues its look at major mascots by traveling back to the days of adventure games on the NES! Join 411's Stewart Lange as he looks at the Legend of Zelda! Plus Cara takes a look at Pokemon Channel!
Hello and welcome to the third last Retronomicon! Are you all in the Christmas spirit? You are? That's great! I'm not. I can't be bothered wrapping the rest of my gifts, I'm not in the mood for all the running about it entails and know I'm not getting any games so what's the point? Oh yes, goodwill to all men. Also- two days of work. Winner.
I do hope you're all remembering that I'm leaving to reboot Ask 411 Games, so make sure and help me get a stockpile of questions ready by emailing:
I guarantee I'll answer any and all gaming related questions that you may have, however silly, contrived or difficult. It may take a week or two, but I will do it. The column will only work if you play along, so make sure and drop me a line, no matter how trivial you may think it will be. Appreciated! This week I've got to admit, I'll be rushing through this so I can play the Walking Dead episode, so I can see what happened after the events of Season One. I've also been enjoying Freedom Cry, the AC4 DLC. Adewale is the most bad ass of the assassin's since probably Altair, except I think old Ade would take him in a fight. That's one scary bad dude. I think I've spent about 60 hours on AC4 now, you'll see more of my thoughts by tuning into tomorrow's Top 5 column.
Let's stop talking games, so I can get back to playing them, yeah? Cool. Let's hit the banner.
First of all, thanks for the kind words following last weeks announcement that I'll be leaving the column. It means a lot to me that there have been so many of you letting me know you'll miss the Retronomicon. I will admit, I had expected to write this for a much longer period of time, but think this works out for the best. I'll let GVIL fill you in as to why.
Sweet Stewart ?I'm gonna miss The Retronomicon, but from it's ashes there will be two retro columns going forward, as ask 411 games will hopefully be about what has gone before.
That's pretty much my thoughts. From what you've already seen from Cara, it's going to be a seamless transition, but I think The Overlooked will be better for you guys. I felt like I should only cover classics here, when I went off topic and covered something like Barbie or DecapAttack it was like I was cheating you guys a little. At least Cara is openly trying to get people to go back and check games you'll have missed, in a much better way than I was able to. Ask 411 will play more to my strengths I feel, so not only will you hopefully have a better retro gaming column every Friday, you'll also have a staple of the games zone here on 411 back every Monday.
I did cover a game last week, though. Tomb Raider, to be precise. sdelfin was the first to comment.
I remember the hype for Tomb Raider, and anything else third person and 3D. Tomb Raider's timing was perfect, releasing very close to Mario 64, so those with a Saturn and Playstation could check out this new style of game play. I got the game on my Saturn as soon as I knew it was out, right before Thanksgiving 1996. It was nice to have the long weekend to play the game. I can relate when you say it was scary in a way. We weren't just manipulating 2d sprites. Here we had a somewhat realistic 3d model of a human, and she was going to die a lot. The enemies were not easy if they caught you by surprise either. The game was fun, but primitive as well. It wasn't always clear where you could go, where platforms were, etc. I made it to the end, with some help, but found it became tedious so I never went back to it.
You had the same experience with the game as I did. It was almost too advanced for it's time, given how hard it could be at times to see all the hidden areas I wouldn't have spotted in a million years. Just watching the first few minutes of the video I posted in last week's column the poster went into about 6 areas I'd never seen before.
The rest of the comments I'll leave for Cara. I have a huge task to undertake this week, as I take a look back at the behemoth franchise that is The Legend of Zelda.
The Legend of Zelda focuses on the games main protagonist, Link. Developed at the same time, by the same team who were in control of making Super Mario Bros., Zelda (originally titled Hyrule Fantasy) was created to support the ideas that were not suitable for the plumber's adventure. While Mario was a linear, point based game, Hyrule was to be a free-roaming adventure title, with the focus being on exploration, discovery and ultimately completing the game. According to Shigeru Miyamoto, the game's creator, he wanted the player to be in awe when they discovered new parts of the map and in early tests with Japanese gamers, they found this to be too confusing. Rather than appease them and make the game easier, they decided to make the game even harder and took away the sword. Admittedly, it's in the first dungeon you come to once you know it's there, but still.
Link sets off on an adventure to save Princess Zelda from the evil Ganon by collecting all eight fragments of the mythical Triforce. These have been hidden from Ganon by Zelda before her imprisonment and naturally, they were scattered all across the land in the deepest dungeons. Link must defeat all of the guardians of the fragments before he can confront Ganon, defeat him and save the princess. Given the open nature of the gameplay, Zelda was the first game that saw people swapping item locations by word of mouth and through gaming magazines, really making it the first game to take advantage of the gaming community in such a manner.
The Legend of Zelda was released 18 months after it came out in Japan to the rest of the world and became the first NES title to sell 1 million copies. It is consistently voted as not only one of the best games for the NES but of all time, given how advanced it was for it's age. The battery-operated save system was a new feature to carts and paved the way for much larger RPG's to come out for the NES and later SNES, with games such as Final Fantasy and later, Pokemon, taking advantage of the feature.
To date, the Legend of Zelda has only spawned one true sequel, The Adventure of Link. This is where the timeline gets very convoluted, as the third game, SNES release A Link to the Past is actually a prequel. Links Awakening directly follows that game, before N64 classic Ocarina of Time takes the story many centuries back to tell us the story of the Imprisoning War that featured in the prelude to A Link The Past. From here, it only gets more confusing so I'll not continue to spout game titles at you, but basically, the Hyrule timeline is split into three different paths, one of which sees Link as unsuccessful against Ganon, and the other two which then take you through Link's life. All very confusing, but the strength and variety of these stories have meant that die hard fans and even newcomers to the series are captivated with little or no knowledge of what has come before, going from what the game tells you before your adventure begins. A Link Between Worlds is the newest release, for the 3DS and who knows, maybe Santa will give me it for my Christmas.
I was a complete Zelda virgin by the time Ocarina of Time came out, so when I played it, I was very impressed, but totally baffled as to what I was meant to be doing. In actual fact, it wasn't until around two years ago that I first played Legend of Zelda when I was lucky enough to find a copy of the gold cart at a market fair. While I've never been able to complete it, it's on my gaming "to do" list, once I get around to changing the save battery. I loved Ocarina and would even say I think I preferred Majora's Mask at the time, although haven't played it since it came out, whereas I've completed Ocarina on my 3DS. I absolutely loved Twilight Princess and have enjoyed what I've played of Skyward Sword. I'm not going to lie, I do much prefer collecting Zelda games to playing them, though. I'm only missing a couple of Game Boy titles for a complete set of titles.
Like I just said, I love collecting Zelda titles, with the SNES and Gamecube titles being the most sought after and hard to come by. The GC versions of Twilight Princess and the Collectors Edition of Wind Waker with Ocarina of Time on a bonus disc are my particular favourites. If you live in the UK and have Minish Cap, let me know what you'd like for it- it'd go well in my Triforce Game Boy Advance!
Love retro collecting? Me too! Share your best finds with me in the comments section or on Instagram! My user name is outafterdark216 and I always post my newest pickups!
That's it from me this week guys, I'll see you all last week as I run the rule over Halo before I finish up the following week with a look at Mario. In the meantime, I wish you all an extremely Happy Christmas and look forward to hearing all about what you guys got from Santa! Take care, peace out and enjoy The Overlooked with Cara!
Howdy folks. I know you're likely getting sick of seeing the name Pokémon at the start of my column, but I figured I'd do the last of my Poke-Overlooked's to keep the flow then move on. So here we go, this week is the oh-so-silly Pokémon Channel!
Although it may be somewhat cheeky, I'm going to take a moment here to speak of a personal matter. It's my partner's Birthday today – well, when I'm writing this, so Thursday – and I wanted to say Happy Birthday to him. I love you to pieces Andrew, and can't thank you enough for everything the last year. Hope you've had a wonderful day.
Right, now, back to the Poke-malarkey:
The Look Back
GVIL – Pokémon Colosseum I don't have but I did see a copy in a local games shop but it didn't have the instruction book and they wanted £12 for it. First week were I don't have the game that you was talking about Cara. I look forward to this week's one.
Indeed. Due to the game's somewhat-rarity – mostly due to the fact that so many people didn't give it a chance – it can be weirdly expensive. I hope you enjoy this weeks, it's nice to see people liking it! However, I doubt you'll have this week's game either, but I may be surprised
G Walla – I don't think I ever played the story mode on Colosseum. Now I'm wondering if I actually have the game or not. Most of my GameCube time was spent playing FPS games with a room full of friends (and Def Jam Fight for NY).
If you do have it I'd give it a spin! The story mode is surprisingly gripping with a lot of depth for a Pokémon game. However, I can completely understand. There were so many brilliant titles for the GameCube that it's hard to have played them all
Lee Price – …Overlooked is a good concept though, so I'll look forward to checking more of that out to see if any gems I haven't heard of turn up, though I do recall covering the brilliant Pokémon Snap during my run with the Retronomicon way back ;)
Why thank you petal :3 Have to say I'm loving doing this column so it means loads to me to see people enjoying it! Even better to have a fellow writer appreciate the likes of Pokémon Snap. Hope to hear from you on future posts
sdelfin – Congrats to you, Cara. (Followed by discussion about the GameCube which I replied to in the comments, and won't repeat myself here so as not to bore everyone who's already read it!)
Ah, my loyal commenter, haha! Thank you!
Again, we've come to a GameCube game that's under appreciated. Pokémon Channel is a very innocent game that's targeted at the younger audience. It was released in 2003 in Japan, and continued releases until April 2004 for Europe. The game is hugely simplistic and reminiscent of care games, such as the more recent Nintendog's. I know that's likely an alarm bell for most readers here, but have a little faith, and keep reading!
What makes it Overlooked?
This is likely already clear from what has been said above, but this game is overlooked due to its play style. It's a very gentle, relaxed game that appeals to the child in us all. Although it is a much more immature title with less to do than your average action packed, challenging, skill based titles, it still has plenty of appeal.
Do I agree?
To an extent, I do. I can understand why the vast majority of people don't play it, or won't play it. It's a very childlike game that definitely takes a specific mind set to be able to find enjoyment by playing. However, as I mentioned, it does still have plenty of appeal. I cannot say for certain, but I have a sneaking suspicion that a great number of people reading this will have a gaming collection of some form or another. If not a gaming collection, then an anime one, or a comics one, or something that I'm incredibly jealous of. Due to this, I know that a lot of you will understand how gripping it is to work on a collection. Working hard and searching to complete it and get that one last, rare piece that you need – and it's exactly this that gives Pokémon Channel its appeal. Throughout the game you're given loads of chances to collect things from channels to plush toys to decorate your house with. This may sound slightly feminine, but it becomes annoyingly gripping, annoyingly fast.
Looking at the Overlooked
Right, now to explain the story a little further so as it seems a little less bizarre. In the game, you're a beta tester working for Professor Oak. He's developing a TV Network for Pokémon and Trainers alike and it's your job to give a human opinion on it. However, as a bunch of cute little Magnemite – who totally wouldn't mess up the TV with their magnetic fields – deliver it, a Pikachu notices and follows them into your house, taking an interest in the TV and becoming a beta tester as well. As the game progresses it's your job to unlock as many channels as possible and watch them. These channels include game shows that you can make money from – always good to teach children to gamble – and a shopping channel that you can then spend your money on, and collect items from. This adorable shop it called "Shop N' Squirtle" and features sassy Squirtle's trying their hand at Teleshopping. The channels become available through real world time, using the GameCube's internal clock. This allows the channel "Pichu Bros" to be ran as a series, making you wait for the next episode before it airs. I wish I didn't have to admit this, but I've spent more time that I would care to say watching Pichu Bros as a child, purely for one of the key story moments. I won't give much away, but the series focuses around two Pichu brothers and their friends as they get up to mischief – and trying to discover what a particular Meowth is up to. Should you wish to see how ridiculous this channel is then search "Pichu Bros Part Panic" on Youtube and let the humour commence. Warning though, spoilers! It'll reveal Meowth's plan!
Now, it would be wrong to be stuck in your room all the time. Beta testers are people too, after all. So you can travel to different areas and find Pokémon in their natural habitat. While there, however, you can also find mini games and puzzles that you need to solve to progress through the game – and they can also help you gain new items! Yay, more collecting! Then, later on in the game, Pikachu finds a Pokémon Mini below your bed. If any of you remember Pokémon Mini's, they're tiny handheld devices that play cute mini games. While playing Pokémon Channel, you can play a virtual version of these, including an exclusive game called "Snorlax's Lunchtime". Having begun writing about this game I remembered this feature and I'm now furious that I have no idea where my Pokémon Mini is. I may have to try and find that over the festive season. If any kind soul has one they'd like to send my way for Christmas, my email is firstname.lastname@example.org ;) Joking… kind of. I'm really annoyed that I don't know where mines is now.
There's not really much else to say now. The entire game features around collecting, watching channels, silly humour and caring for Pokémon. It's a virtual pet game with more to do, that can become an addictive pass time if you let it. Although it is incredibly simplistic, similar to Pokémon Snap, it's brilliant to sit down and just enjoy yourself with. So, if you enjoy Pokémon games and fancy a good laugh, give it a shot.
That's it for this week, and for my Pokémon titles! (For now, anyway). As I mentioned my email above, I felt I'd say feel free to contact me about anything, even if you just want to say hey or recommend a game. It'd be lovely to get to know my readers a little more.
Hope you all have a lovely Christmas and New Year, providing you celebrate them. If not, then enjoy whatever your respective holidays are. I'll see you again after Christmas!