An interesting tidbit came out of an extensive interview in Game Informer’s upcoming Zelda-themed October issue: series producer Eiji Aonomua doesn’t particularly like the franchise’s 8-bit origin, 1986’s The Legend of Zelda. In fact, he’s never finished it.
Aonuma’s opinion is that the game is far too punishingly challenging, saying that he feels there is “no game more difficult than it.” He claims that he owes his non-completion of the gaming classic to frustration that mounts over long strings of “game overs” with little progress to show for it.
“Certainly after playing the original Zelda for the first time, I didn’t ever think that I wanted to make a game like that,” Aomuma said of his experiences.
So if The Legend of Zelda left such a bad taste in his mouth, how did Aonuma find himself becoming one of the long-running series’ most important figures, joining the team to help create the N64 masterpiece Ocarina of Time?
According to Aonuma, it was the SNES entry A Link to the Past that finally swayed his opinion on Link’s adventures. “That sense of exploration of the world itself was really where I latched on to the series,” he spoke of the franchise’s third entry.
Looking back on the original Legend of Zelda, it’s pretty easy to see where Aonuma is coming from. By today’s standards, the game is borderline unwinnable without a keen memory or the assistance of a walkthrough. But at the same time, I fondly recall when Zelda first released for the NES and sharing in my father’s satisfaction as he diligently mapped all of Hyrule on reams of graph paper, feverishly seeking out all of the game’s secrets.
How about the rest of you? Did you think much of the original game? Which title really pulled you into the series? Sound off in the comments below!