There's no doubt about it, 2001's The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker was gorgeous. It was also one of the most universally-hated video games of that year. With the release of the game's HD Wii U remake, here's a look back at the epic bitch-fest stirred up by one of the most beautiful video games ever.
The average person over the age of 13 can no longer proudly stand by all the opinions they expressed 12 years ago. In time, a person simply decides that dirt no longer tastes good. Later, one regrets the pants they wore in middle school or, further into life, feels some shame when recalling the thing they said in anger to their spouse.
A dozen years ago, much of the gaming Internet hated the graphics of The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker.
Reminder, this is what Zelda looked like back then....
A dozen years later, on the occasion of the release of the game's HD Wii U remake, let us laugh at how so many of us hated this beautiful thing when they first saw it (the original spelling and grammar of these mournful missives has been left intact)...
WHAT THE HELL WAS NINTENDO THINKING ?
This Has Too Be some kind of joke ? maybe its all a dream and when i wake up in the morning it will be all good ?
I can't beleive what they di dto that Zelda game, just when I was saying that nintendo caters to old school gamers, they go and make zelda look like a frigging puppet show for 5 year olds.
why why why
what have they done i fell so sad now thats not the joy i was wanting why why why.
where is the game that i think is a real world where is my mature zelda this just at right
*craws under a rock and dies*
FOR GOD'S SAKE PEOPLE HE LOOKS LIKE A REJECT FROM HEY ARNOLD OR A SIMILARLY BADLY ANIMATED PROGRAM. I WANTED MATURE, I GOT 5 YEAR OLD!
Dont worry people Heres a list of things that might make you fell better
•Theres plenty of time to change the look of link (which is my major problem)
•Im certain there will be another 'mature' zelda (They didnt make those spaceworld 2000 models for no reason- believe me)
•If its Ocarina style that you love then you should now set your eyes apon Dinosaur Planet (cause that games gonna Kick Zelda up the arse)
Im in huge shock over those Zelda pics. Ahhhhhh. im pulling my hair out!!. Why why why why why. I was SO excited over the old footage. it was the number one reason i wanted a gamecube. Im not worried about the graphic quality in a game that much but i hate the design of link. it sucks. sure the gameplay might rule. but but what am i saying. im falling apart - mental breakdown.
i think there will be a few suicides within the next 24 hours. not to mention death threats to that fuck face that designed that game.!!
PS im in a bad stait and may regtret those last statements. bye bye. time to run around outside like a mad man.
I got it.. this thing looks like Monkey Island 3...
OMG!!!! WTF HAPPENED?!?!?!?! Zelda looks like a little weak sissy bitch!! I just saw the movie/pics like 2 mins ago and what a pile of stinking crap! Fvck this.
EDIT: I'm not a xbox fanboy who created a new account to flame GC, my other account "migy" got banned accidentaly.
All of the above comments are from an August 23, 2001 "Official Zelda Bitch Thread" that ran on the message boards for giant gaming site IGN as a forum mod attempted to contain a wildfire of Internet fan rage. Vocal Nintendo fans had just seen screenshots or video of the then-upcoming Zelda that had been piped by outlets like IGN from Nintendo's Space World showcase in Japan.
What they saw was this:
What they had seen a year before from Space World 2000 was this:
Many Nintendo fans wanted that 2000 Zelda. They wanted it really, really badly. They wanted it, in large part, because they wanted Nintendo to seem cool. That was always the knock on Nintendo, first by Sega, then by Sony and then, in the summer of 2001 with the Xbox and Halo waiting around the bend, by Microsoft. Nintendo just wasn't as cool as them, or so the anxiety went. Maybe it wasn't cool to own a Nintendo console anymore.
PlayStation 2 was getting a gritty new Metal Gear Solid and increasingly realistically-modeled Final Fantasy games. And what was the Nintendo GameCube getting? Something called Super Mario Sunshine, for god's sake. (One IGN user had complained: "I'm deeply reconsidering my purchase of the cube now, considering another bumble of a move on Nintendo's part, FF 10 is looking better each day.")
The Xbox was a mean-looking black behemoth of a game console. The GameCube was a purple cube... with a handle.
If you were a certain kind of Nintendo fan back then, the revelation that 2000 Zelda was being replaced by 2001 Cel-Da was about as awesome a development as your mom giving you some new foot-pajamas in front of your prom date.
Vocal online Nintendo fans wanted a grown-up Nintendo. They wanted a Nintendo to brag about. And they sure as hell weren't all ready to brag that the coolest franchise Nintendo had this side of Metroid was getting revamped to look like a kids' cartoon.
There were people back then who liked the new Zelda. The mod who started the "bitch" thread, for instance:
How can you people still bitch? Have you not seen the movie?
Yes. We have. And yes, It still sucks the big one.
Naturally, there was an Internet petition:
We the fans of Zelda plead to you to realize that not all Zelda fans are kids, nor do we all enjoy your new animated/anime designs. Seeing as you have shown both a mature and a cartoon graphical Zelda, we ask that both be made and released worldwide.
The people who have signed this petition are not nessicarily saying that they are not looking forward to the cartoon graphical Zelda game, but we would appreciate a Zelda game resembling the Spaceworld 2000 demo.
It garnered 11,680 signatures.
There was also this letter supposedly sent to Nintendo by a concerned fan, sceencapped for you to preserve the irony of it now being displayed on IGN's well-indexed message boards next to an ad running for the 2013 HD remake of the game:
There were distraught e-mails sent to IGN editor Peer Schneider who tried to keep spirits high while penning a recurring Zelda column on the site. A sampling:
I must say I DO NOT like the new look of Zelda at all. It's not Zelda to me. Of the millions of ways to be innovative/creative Nintendo has to go back to exactly what most of us would do without... If given a choice I think most people would choose the more mature dark Zelda over this evil cartoon thing (Put up a new poll and see what people would rather have. Zelda from Spaceworld 2000 or Cel-da if this has not been done yet...). I watched the video over and over and pondered it and I can say that I do not like it. Zelda was on a fine march to realism, only to be struck down by something called innovative. Well to me being innovative means making something better. This is not better. There are other ways. The past Zeldas have done a good job of mixing kid and mature in a way that offended neither side why can't this be done again? Mario is best suited for this sort of thing. Zelda is sacred. It has been the least kiddy of all the games! While Mario happily stomps turtles and Kirby sucks up enemies and Yoshi carries a crying Mario, Zelda has remained a bit removed from that sort of silliness. I do not understand this. Maybe that works in Japan but not here, and certainly not with me. I shall be nice and wait for the full review of this game. I will judge it then and decide if I should support this. If I do not support this it sends a statement back to Nintendo saying: "I do not like this! Do NOT do it again!". We are the consumer, the people that control what stays and what goes. If we support this we may face a future filled with this sort of thing. I do not want to see that. By making a statement now we can maybe change this. I for one would be only too happy to see the old Spaceworld 2000 Zelda. So bear that in mind if you decide to let Nintendo slide with this one... If you are opposed to it, oppose it. By supporting it we may be forced to endure a Cel-da 2 or 3. Judge it when the review comes out. Let's be fair about it. For now though I am not planning on buying this...
-DarkMage (darkmage2 on the IGN boards)
Peer responds: Of course you will. ;) We'll revisit this topic when the next trailer comes out...
It certainly wasn't just IGN's readers who were so upset. IGN is just better tracked by Google and is easier to sift through. Here's a typical non-IGN message board post:
I dont like the new look of Zelda. He looks like a girl, and it looks really REALLY gay.
But dont get me wrong, the look may be bad, but theres alwasy the gameplay which i have confidence that will be good. If Zelda had a little bit more of an anime look to it (Not this 12yr old kid look) then perhaps it might be better.
Hell the graphics (aside from the first look) does look neat, as the cartoon look really REALLy is a cartoon. No doubt theres gonna be some comedic stuff in this
The past dozen years make it easy to scoff at so much of this. Nintendo may not have ever turned into the coolest company around, but they sure did pretty well for themselves for quite some time.
The cartoony Zelda was released in North America in 2003 as The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker. It got rave reviews. A couple of direct sequels, made for Nintendo DS, followed.
Nintendo eventually tried making a more realistic Zelda, 2006's Twilight Princess. That game was cheered by the Nintendo faithful when it was first revealed, and yet now it seems to receive more criticism than Wind Waker. It's Wind Waker that's more commonly considered a classic.
What will happen 12 years from now? Which widely-held opinions will flip? Maybe the gamers of 2025 will recognize Aliens: Colonial Marines for the masterpiece we can't currently see it to be. In 2025, perhaps gamers will finally deduce that The Last of Us was a bad joke.
Let's not all feel so superior right now. In 2003, there were plenty of people who liked cartoony Zelda. They were less vocal, and it's less funny to quote them. But they did exist. Let's celebrate the brave people with foresight and good taste, too. Like this person:
I loved the spaceworld 2000 zelda just because it was a technical masterpiece.
I would prefer playing the new zelda ALOT MORE than the "realisic" looking one.
First, its like Zelda- link to the past on SNES in terms of art and style, which is something that was lacking in the n64 zelda games! Zelda Lttp was the BEST zelda of all times! The new zelda cube looks exactly like it with its art and atmosphere but in 3d !
I love it, i went crazy last night when i saw the shots but when i saw the video this morning, i felt in love with it. Sure, link now looks younger than before, but so what, he's link, he's always been young in past games anyway.
Oh and this game has the best cel-shading i've ever seen in a videogame, its like a freaking cartoon! Anyway, before anyone go nuts over this, go play Zelda on snes, then look at the movie and tell me it wont be fun