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Zelda: The Wind Waker Proved We Don’t Always Know What We Want – Feature


To celebrate the 35th anniversary of The Legend of Zelda, we’re running a series of features looking at a specific aspect — a theme, character, mechanic, location, memory or something else entirely — from each of the mainline Zelda games. Today, Alex thinks back to Space World 2001 and the shock he experienced upon viewing the ‘cartoon’ Zelda for the very first time via a fuzzy, postage stamp-sized movie file…

Anyone who had their finger even slightly on Nintendo’s proverbial pulse back in 2001 remembers the initial reaction from fans to The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker.

For the uninitiated, let’s just say it was far from positive; certainly there were some who were excited but the drastic change in art direction after seeing a tech demo the previous year that much more closely resembled Ocarina of Time (but with many, many more polygons), but the response from most people was a resounding ‘wat’.

Zelda had been seen as one of the more ‘mature’ games in Nintendo’s line up for a goodly amount of time, and to see the franchise’s next gen debut look distinctly more cartoon-like caused ripples throughout the community. This reaction was slowly and assuredly galvanised by media outlets dubbing the game ‘Celda’, playing off the cel-shaded graphics that caused all this uproar.

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