I have a confession to make. While I am a big fan of The Legend of Zelda series, I’m also quite aware of such long-running series’ structural weakness.
What weakness am I talking about? Well, here’s the thing. It doesn’t really matter what kind of franchise we’re talking about. It may be Star Wars. It may be Shrek. It may be the Despicable Me series or in the case of video games, it could be the Elder Scrolls, Grand Theft Auto, or The Legend of Zelda.
The problem with long-running series is that eventually, you’d reach a decision point. The decision point is actually quite simple when it comes to casual games.
Platforms evolve all the time and there are all sorts of hardware platforms being invented, marketed, and propagated throughout the world. It’s very easy to focus on game development as simply revolving around the key factor of speed to market.
Don’t get me wrong speed to market is a very important business consideration. You would be a fool to ignore it. Your business is probably not going to last all that long if you won’t pay attention to speed to market.
With that said, however, this is just one business consideration of many. While it may be important, it’s not the only consideration in town. It’s not the only thing that you should be paying attention to.
Unfortunately, a lot of game developers drop the ball on this. They think that since there’s a new platform that came out, that they have to strike while the iron is hot and port either an old title or come up with something new in order to capture the new market that that hardware has generated.
You may be thinking that the latter is always a good idea. Believe me, I used to think that way. I used to think that a franchise is only going to be stronger when there are new titles.
Unfortunately, we run into a problem here. You should be aware of this problem: quantity over quality. As you probably already know, that is a bad idea. It was a bad idea yesterday, it’s a bad idea today, and it’s probably going to continue to be a bad idea long into the future.
The ideal answer, of course, is quality over quantity. That’s what you’re supposed to say. That’s definitely what you’re supposed to believe, but the business world being what it is, speed to market becomes the order of the day.
In fact, nine times out of ten, it becomes the top priority. This is where video game makers run into all sorts of problems. I’m sorry to report, but The Legend of Zelda series is not immune to this.
As awesome as The Legend of Zelda series is, it has its fair share of duds. I’m not saying that these titles stumbled out of the gate and made absolutely no money. I’m not going to claim that.
This is, after all, The Legend of Zelda series we’re talking about here. We’re talking about Link. We’re talking about the great gameplay. We’re talking about the massive audience base located throughout the world. We’re talking about a long track-record of video game success.
I’m also talking about a video game series that has specific gameplay elements that people from all over have come to respect, admire, and expect for over three decades. This is no small stuff.
Even with such storied and high-value franchise, Nintendo still drops the ball from time to time. You really can’t blame them. If you think about it, this applies across the board. This applies to any kind of organizational behavior.
In fact, the larger the organization, the more likely this would happen. It’s not much different from NBA teams. You’ve probably heard of dream team match ups where top talents are organized into a team and they destroy everybody else.
However, believe it or not, getting such combinations going and setting things up so they produce consistent results over an extended period of time is not automatic. It is not a foregone conclusion.
You’re really up against other teams that are better at the right moment. A team doesn’t have to be the best, it just has to be better at a specific moment in time.
The same applies to video games. You may be thinking The Legend of Zelda Oracle of Seasons ROM is a forgettable title. You can easily be forgiven for thinking that way because, in the grand scheme of things, this particular installment doesn’t really quite shine out.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying, in any way, shape, or form, that the Legend of Zelda Oracle of Seasons ROM is not worth playing. I’m not saying that at all. Instead, this ROM doesn’t really compare all that well with the titles that went before and after it.
This doesn’t mean that you should completely forget about the Legend of Zelda Oracle of Seasons ROM. That is not my point. What I’m saying is that while it does have the same components that have made The Legend of Zelda franchise one of the most lovable and respected franchises in video game history, there’s still a lot of room for improvement.
Again, we all go back to speed to market. Seriously. If a new platform comes out, whether it’s a mobile platform or a portable platform, there is a rush to be the first to market. There is a rush to port your existing intellectual property titles to the new format so you can soak up as much of the cash and most importantly the press attention and then, turn this to its competitive advantage.
Now, you may be thinking to yourself that given how established and well-respected the Nintendo platform is, why did they need to do this? Why is this even a thing?
Well, here’s the problem. You are only as good as your last victory. That’s really what it boils down to. In the video game world, there’s really no such thing as long-term commitment. I’m sorry to be the one to break this to you, but such long-term loyalty doesn’t really work. It really doesn’t.
It’s not like the automotive world. For example, if somebody buys a Mercedes that turns up to be a Leman, you can bet that their first reaction would not be, “I’m never going to buy Mercedes Benz again.” People don’t say that.
Now, a lot of this has to do with the goodwill that the Mercedes Benz car company has developed over time. That much cannot be disputed. However, it also has to do with people’s experience with the brands. It’s no surprise that when people buy a Mercedes, their next car and the car after that would be a Mercedes.
The same applies to Legend of Zelda. Once you get hooked, you keep buying in the series. It starts collapsing on its own because the game developer can always count on the fact that there is going to be this huge base of people that will keep buying one Zelda title after another.
This is where the danger comes in. If you keep relying on that, it is too tempting to come up with crappy titles. You have to understand that Legend of Zelda Oracle of Seasons ROM doesn’t fail in of itself. It has all the classic ingredients of Legend of Zelda success.
After all, it is a bonafide, real, and genuine successor in the series. It is an official product. The problem is the developer basically got too comfortable. That’s really the best way to frame it.
Manufacturers of video games get too comfortable. They think that since they keep coming back and there are millions of people buying one Zelda title after another, they can relax.
They think that as long as the title says Zelda and all the elements look the same and there’s enough similarity with the latest game title and everything else that came before it, that they’re free and clear. I’m telling you, you can only play that game for so long.
You can only allow yourself to fall victim to that mindset for so long until your base, regardless of how initially loyal, dedicated, and committed they are, starts to turn on you. This has happened quite a bit. This is not exactly new.
How does this play out? Well, it really boils down to brand betrayal. If you do something that is so contrary to the brand, people basically sit up to pay attention. It’s as if they played the game on autopilot. They’re basically playing the game like they would any other Legend of Zelda game and then, all of a sudden, a light comes on.
A light comes on because you do something. It’s not like you did something fundamentally wrong. It’s not like you killed Link or something dramatic like that. Instead, they quickly realized that this is The Legend of Zelda series, but this particular game stands out because it sucks.
Whatever the case may be, red flags come up and that’s precisely the point you start seeing negative reviews on all sorts of blogs or review sites on Amazon. Believe me, once the word gets out, it’s really hard to contain it.
Let’s put it this way. When people play Legend of Zelda Oracle of Seasons ROM, they have a certain set of expectations. The bigger the fan the person is, the lower the expectations. However, the expectations are still there.
When they pop in The Legend of Zelda Oracle of Seasons ROM and they keep coming across the same challenges and they keep experiencing the same disappointments, it’s only a matter of time until they conclude that this sucks.
You might be thinking that there’s quite a bit of built-in damage control here because The Legend of Zelda is so powerful, durable, and strong with its market that it can afford to slip up every once in a while. You’re absolutely correct.
I’m not going to deny you that. Let’s put it this way. If Babe Ruth keeps hitting homer after homer, he’s probably going to be excused when he strikes out from time to time. It happens. That’s just part of the game.
However, if it turns out that Babe Ruth just strikes out again and again and again, not only will this prolong drought and decrease his overall statistics, it also casts doubt on people’s loyalty to the Babe Ruth brand.
Do you see where I’m coming from? This is basic consumer psychology. Unfortunately, The Legend of Zelda Oracle of Seasons ROM is not really doing itself any favors.
While it does have a lot of great things going for it, a lot of people who played it when it first got released noted the dynamics that I mentioned above. Before we conclude, let me just reiterate what The Legend of Zelda Oracle of Seasons ROM got right.
It delivers a massive world
If you’re looking for the main thing that’s so awesome about The Legend of Zelda series, it is its delivery of a massive world. I’m not just talking about quantity here. I’m not just talking about a lot of digital space that you can play around with.
I’m talking about well-rendered, massive world. In other words, this is a well-designed space that truly delivers an amazing experience. It’s not just space for space’s sake. You’re not just getting a massive quantity of space to play with.
Instead, you’re getting something so well-developed that it leads to great experiences. This brings me to the next point.
Diverse game experience
It’s one thing to have an amazing time playing a game, it’s another to actually feel that every time you play it, and it’s a totally different game. For whatever reason, this franchise is able to pull this off many times over. Sure, from time to time, it does slip, but its diversity of in-game experiences are what brings people coming back again and again.
It doesn’t get tedious
Now, let’s get one thing clear. Even if you love Grand Theft Auto, eventually, there are certain parts of the game where it seems like you are getting the same warmed-over meal again and again. It gets old quickly.
You don’t quite get there with The Legend of Zelda. Sure, a lot of people criticize The Legend of Zelda Oracle of Seasons ROM, but there’s just so many things going on here. There’s just so many different ways you can go that it really doesn’t quite get there.
Again, this takes a genius. This is not something that you stumble upon. This is not something that happens by chance. There’s no accident in this. This was well-planned.
Tight fit with characters
Another thing that brings people back to The Legend of Zelda series is its characters. They have backstories, personalities, and sensibilities. They lay down certain expectations.
Well, this iteration of the franchise delivers because there’s a tight fit with how the characters are supposed to act which finally leads me to my final point.
You get an immersive experience. It’s as if you stepped into the game and lived an alternative reality. Now, is this particular installment perfect? No. Not by a long shot, but it is definitely worth playing.