My brief hiatus from The Quest for the Mystical MacGuffin has led me to begin drafting a design doc for a new project.
I collect and love NES and SNES games, and its’ always fun to try and pinpoint what’s great about them. So, with this in mind I set out to design a game that felt like an NES game, without using pixel art, chiptunes, or any references. No matter how much I wanna make the title screen look like this, I can’t.
However, those games, specifically The Legend of Zelda and A Link To The Past (with a dash of Wind Waker), are still huge in my mind while designing this. Specifically, the thought of “gimmicks” or things like the Wind Waker, Ocarina of Time, or the Dark World in LttP.
The other big thing about Zelda - the original - is that, to quote the great Egoraptor,shit just happens.
There’s not exposition or any sort of justification - the game creates its narrative and feel entirely through its gameplay. It’s an adventure because the game feels like an adventure, not because someone tells you it’s supposed to be an adventure. And from there you can build your narrative - the simple shapes and actions on the screen play out in your head as epic battles, narrowly avoiding projectiles and conquering increasingly difficult temples. There’s no mention of Ganon, or Zelda (save for the title), or anything else until the very end of the game!
And that truly is, for me, part of the beauty of these old games. They didn’t feel the need to justify themselves to you, or to provide intricate detail as to why you’re doing things - those things felt and still feel important because of the way the game is put together.
Now, given how much I’ve been gushing, I don’t actually particularly like the Zelda games as a franchise, but some of the individual games are stellar. I adore Wind Waker’s seafaring adventurous tone, and A Link to the Past captivated me from the moment I booted it up. Majora’s Mask is unequivocally my favourite, since it handles morbid and serious topics in such a graceful and non-preachy way.
So anyway, that’s all the word I’m gonna say on this project for now. I started it as a way to fiddle about with Unity’s new 2D toolset (WOO!), and now it looks to be turning into something I can really work with, especially with all I’ve learned in my ~year of working on Mystical MacGuffin, and seeing the limitations that I impose on myself sometimes.