The Wind Waker Mech
Written by: Sage Raziel
Feeling the pressure of Sony and Sega, Nintendo was quickly falling. Sony had released the PlayStation2 and Sega had released the Dreamcast, while Nintendo had nothing new since the Nintendo64. During this time the game world was dominated by Sony, which is actually pretty strange...seeing as Nintendo had been the previous leader and always one step ahead of Sony. Sega, on the other hand, really didn't compete with the new PlayStation2 but it was still ahead of Nintendo with it's Dreamcast system. In all there were still flaws in both of the new gaming systems. The PlayStation2 was unreliable and poorly built. The Dreamcast had worse graphics than most games created for the PlayStation, and Nintendo64! But still fans were looking for a much needed advance to the gaming world, so anything new fascinated this thirst.
It didn't take long before Nintendo saw what was happening. They had several meetings, and often spent many hours in different debates, trying to come up with an idea for a new product...but not just a ny product. Though the PlayStation2 was indeed a rip off to gamers everywhere, it still had an excellent engine, and mastered graphics like nothing ever seen before. It was clear Sony was in it to win, and if Nintendo didn't do something soon things would take a dive in Sony's favor.
After nearly a year of crucial thinking, meetings, and debates Nintendo had finally come up with something. A new system that took everything introduced by Sony and Sega and perfected it. It would have everything the PlayStation2 had, except this new system would be built to last. It would be “hardy” and withstand many hours of play without over heating, something only seen in dreams with the PlayStation2 and Dreamcast.
On March 3, 1999 Nintendo announced that it was working on something huge. They provided very little information on what, in fear that Sony would steal the information and quickly release a better version of the PlayStation2. All they gave the public was a little taste to wet their appetite. Nintendo did say this: It was a new gaming console that planned to bring all the factors of gaming together to create a truly breath taking experience. The new system was kept in the shadows for over a year.
Finally on August 24, 2000, the day before Nintendo's Space World exposition, they released more information on the secret project. The new system was called a GameCube, and had a game engine that could rival that of the PlayStation2. Nintendo seemed to brag a lot about this new system, mainly comparing it to Sony's amazingly popular PS2.
On August 25, 2000, day of Nintendo's Space World exposition, the GameCube made it's first appearance. Along with the specifications and designs for the console, Nintendo had several software demonstrations on hand to showcase the power of the GameCube. What demo do you think Nintendo chose to show off their new system? None other than their most famous game series of 1998; The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker. This creative game captivated all viewers. People were so amazed with this new game that they claimed Nintendo had once again did the impossible. What was so good about the game you ask? Well let me tell you. Originally Nintendo made Wind Waker in realistic Twilight Princess graphics. This killed the PlayStation2 without question. Not only were the graphics better, but the system itself was way more advanced, and came with a money back guarantee if the system malfunctioned within the first six months of ownership. (Something Sony didn't do for the PlatStaion2...if they did they would have went bankrupt [just kidding].)
After the release of The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask, which had been one of Nintendo's final games for a dying system, they concentrated entirely on edited The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker for release. The newest Zelda game shown at Space World in 1999(Wind Waker) wasn't mentioned by Nintendo for the next thirteen months. Fans wondered where the game had went. Nintendo wouldn't confirm that there would be any new Zelda games for the GameCube, in fact Nintendo seemed like they were trying to avoid the topic of Zelda for the 21st centery.
Then all was revealed at the 2001 Space World exposition. Nintendo announced that there would indeed be a new release to the Zelda series. They even provided a playable demo. Interestingly enough this was the exact same demo from the year before...but with one...crucial...change...a change that...would shock the world. The graphics were not the awesome realistic graphics showcased at the Space World of 2000! Instead Nintendo had completely reformed the visual aspects of the game. They chose to use cartoon-like Cel-Shading to color the game. This chocked and angered many fans. These new graphics also sparked questions in the minds of critics everywhere. Among these questions where things like - Had Nintendo gone too far this time? Were these graphics ever going to be excepted? Was Nintendo aiming at a younger audience?
All these questions were answered on December 13, 2002 when the game was released in Japan. (It was release in North America on March 24, 2003.) Fans and critics quickly saw this game was just as good as all the previous Zelda games. It also introduced many new ideas, and gave the series a new twist. The graphics gave the game a certain appeal that could not be sensed in any other game ever released.
When asked about the graphics, and why they were changed Nintendo stated the game just didn't have the right feel with the realistic graphics...so at the last minute they decided to change them. The cartoon like graphics provided the perfect “feeling” that Nintendo wanted for the new Zelda game. Thus they were changed over.
The Wind Waker is the fourth of eight games to receive a perfect score from Fantasmu magazine, despite claims that it lacks the sense of newness that accompanied Ocarina of Time, the first 3D Zelda game. Reviewers favorably noted the gameplay similarities to Ocarina of Time and praised the cel-shaded art style that had initially met a cold reception. One major note is that this is when the Era of Decline started. The Era of Decline is a term used to refer the period of time that Nintendo focuses it's range of gamers to include younger players. Many critics stressed that the easy dungeons, and bosses might not be enough to satisfy hard core Zelda fans...and so they were right. Since the release of The Wind Waker games have gotten easier and easier. Unfortunately Nintendo has not yet exited the Era of Decline, rather it is sinking deeper into this fate.
In the final run The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker received a perfect 10/10 by Nintendo Power, and was crowned game of the year. It was ranked fifth on the G4 greatest games of all time. This wonderful addition to the Zelda series was, overall, a success for Nintendo. The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker saved Nintendo from a major crises. It helped launch a new platform in a world dominated by Son y, it set the standards yet again for game companies world wide, and satisfied Zelda fans everywhere. Wind Waker was the Savior of Nintendo in 2002. For that we thank you Wind Waker, and congratulate Nintendo on a job well done.