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What do YOU think? – Nintendo’s first-party franchises

Posted on December 20, 2009 by (@NE_Brian) in Features


Since 1985 when the Nintendo Entertainment System first released, Nintendo has been premiering a slew of fantastic first party titles every single year, starting with Mario and eventually leading to things like Metroid, Zelda, Pikmin, and Star Fox. Every single franchise has it’s individual perks, but everyone that plays them has one particular favorite that really strikes them as being truly fantastic. Mario has its near-perfect platforming gameplay, Zelda has an epic adventure that really draws you in, Metroid has a sci-fi exploration element; There really is something for everyone in these Nintendo franchises. Now, while I love every single one of these games to death, there is one that is just a tiny step above the rest: The Legend of Zelda.


When you play a Legend of Zelda game, Hyrule instantly comes to life in front of your eyes. It feels like a living, breathing place that you could really escape into for an afternoon or an evening, and it does so using every aspect of the game. The music is always perfect, the characters are always lively, the scenes are always beautiful, and the atmosphere is about as picture-perfect as you could get. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten lost just wandering around Death Mountain, or riding through Lanayru Province into the sunset. As far as game worlds, no matter if it’s in Hyrule or Labrynna or Clock Town, The Legend of Zelda is about as good as it gets. Of course, just the world of the games doesn’t even amount to half of the reasons that the Zelda series is my favorite, because every single game has something special about it, starting with my person favorite of the series, The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess.

A lot of purists are going to argue with me on this one, I know. Ocarina of Time was, for its time, the better of the two games, but something about Twilight Princess struck me in a way that Ocarina couldn’t. To start, the game was absolutely gorgeous to look at. Not that Ocarina of Time wasn’t, but Twilight Princess perfected the feeling that Ocarina of Time brought to us when we first set out into Hyrule Field: A breathtaking, wondrous, vibrant feeling of adventure that didn’t wear off until we finally beat the game. Thinking back on it, there are so many places I just loved visiting simply to look at them. Lake Hylia, Gerudo Desert, Snowpeak, Hyrule Field… Every single one brings back an incredibly fond memory and makes me wish I was playing the game right at this very moment.

Another thing that I loved about Twilight Princess was the believability of the characters and story. Compare the stories of the two games, and it’s clear that there’s a big difference. Ocarina’s story was pretty basic: An evil king from many years ago comes back alive to steal the Triforce and take over the kingdom. While TP’s story remains relatively the same, it elaborates on levels the Ocarina didn’t even touch, such as with the story of the entire Twilight Realm and Midna. Overall, both stories are fantastic and well paced, but with the added layer of depth, Twilight Princess takes the cake for story and characters as well. Not to mention that Midna is so much cooler and deeper than Navi.

Another Zelda game that has a very special place in my heart is The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages. I first played this game at a young age and the entire thing stole my time faster than a novelty motion-controller pack-in sports game (wait a second…). The music was great, the story was great, and the way time travel worked was simply magical to me. To this day if someone plays “Nayru’s Theme” from the game my heart travels back in time (no pun intended?) and I yearn to play through that game once again. For me, Oracle of Ages is the greatest portable Zelda game.

Parenthetic closing-paragraphs aside, I’m sure you all get the picture for this week’s article. What is your favorite first party Nintendo franchise? What’s your favorite game from the franchise? Why?

Leave your answers in the comments section below, or e-mail them to via the contact form!

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