legend of zelda

My Gaming History

Gaming Nostalgia

Super Metroid CoverI'd like to apologize for being so wordy this week at the First Hour, but the writers here love to write!  I recently asked Ian to tell me about his gaming history, thinking I'd get a couple line reponse about how his parents bought him a Game Boy or something, but along comes a serious epic that will probably seem very familiar to many of us reading along.

If you've got your own story you'd like to tell, reply in the comments or send me an email, I'd love to host it here!

The Famitsu 40/40 List: A Review

Editorial

Metal Gear Solid Peace Walker CoverOver the last 24 years, popular Japanese gaming magazine Famitsu has awarded 14 perfect scores.  For Famitsu magazine, a game review's final score is actually two to four total scores assigned by a collection of reviewers.  Technically, there's no such thing as a 40/40 score, but four 10/10's.  But gamers love numbers, and we love comparing one game's numbers to another game's numbers, so the 40/40 perfect score list is a great way for fanboys to scoff or gyrate in anticipation.

Outside of the country, Famitsu is the ultimate barometer of what Japan thinks of a particular game.  Famitsu scores are thrown about in headlines and rattled around in forum discussions, but you almost never hear why a score was awarded one number instead of the next.  This is undoubtedly because of the language barrier between Japan and the rest of the world, but also because numbers are easy for everyone to understand and the fact that Famitsu editors give their reviewers about 100 characters to explain what they thought about a game.

While I'm not personally a big fan of a game review's score (I'd much rather read the why and how), the Famitsu perfect score list is an intriguing specimen.  The eighth game in two years just garnered the spotlight: Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, but let's start at the beginning.

The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks

Full Review

Legend of Zelda Spirit Tracks CoverThis is a first for us, but this is our second full review of The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks on the First Hour. Paul first reviewed the game in early February and praised it for its stellar action and improved controls over Phantom Hourglass.  He did note some issues with the train in the game, and while most of my opinions will echo his, I would like to get my thoughts down before I move on to other games.

This is Nintendo's second attempt at going for an entirely stylus-driven Zelda experience.  I'm actually still a bit shocked that this works.  It's not perfect, but it is definitely not substantially worse than playing a console Zelda game, and in some ways works better than the old 2D games.  Paul said he noticed improvements in the control, but either it's been so long since I played Phantom Hourglass that I didn't notice, or... they didn't make any improvements.  I'm guessing the former as I was rarely frustrated with the game control-wise.

Just like to quickly mention how awesome it is that we got two Legend of Zelda games on the Nintendo DS, especially considering it was nearly three years after the system debuted that Phantom Hourglass finally landed.  It'd be great to see a third, but I imagine Nintendo will be refocusing their efforts on the DSi or 3DS at this point.  Hey, you can always hire Capcom to make more portable iterations.

The Most Cinematic Moments in Gaming History

Gaming Nostalgia
Metal Gear Solid 4/metal Gear Solid 4 Cover

You know the scenes I'm talking about. These are the kind of scenes that you have a save file just moments before so you can replay them over and over. These are the scenes you invite your friends over to see so you can show off your system in all its technical glory; the scenes that surpass mere nostalgia and still to this day retain legendary status in the gaming community. These are some of my favorite impacting scenes in gaming history. What are yours?

Spoilers inside.

The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks

Full Review
Legend Of Zelda Spirit Tracks Cover

The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks is the latest in the revered Legend of Zelda series. I doubt anyone needs an introduction to this series, so I won't give one.

Spirit Tracks is on the Nintendo DS, and is a direct sequel to 2007's Phantom Hourglass. The controls have remained mostly the same, with a few refinements that I'll get into later.

Spirit Tracks follows the story set out by Wind Waker and Phantom Hourglass. It's now a hundred years later and everything is settled in the new land, with Zelda as the princess. Link is training to become an engineer (get it? Training?) when suddenly bad things happen and Link is the only one who can fix them. We've heard it all before, right? Maybe all except the train part. But this time, Zelda has had her body stolen, and she travels with Link in spirit form. She acts both as fairy companion a la Navi (although much less intrusive), and she doubles as a giant-sword-wielding, invincible suit of armor. Zelda can possess Phantoms and you can control her, in a new twist to the Zelda series. So for those of you clamoring for a playable Zelda character, this is as close as you can (and probably ever will) come.

First Hour Podcast - Episode 1

Podcast

Welcome to the first episode of the First Hour podcast! In this premier episode, Paul and Greg discuss the site's origins, discuss The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks, and argue about the Nintendo 64's library of games.

Please leave us your feedback! We've been listening to podcasts for years but this is our first time actually producing one.

Theme Music
Plok Title Jam - Mazedude

Best Legend of Zelda game of the decade

Editorial
Best of the Decade

This is the first of a few roundtable debates planned covering the last decade of video games spanning 2000 through 2009. For today, three of the writers at the First Hour gave their opinion on what the best Legend of Zelda game of the decade was. This was not simple, considering there were three major console iterations along with many portables games, released across five systems. Here are Greg, Mike, and Paul's picks for the best Zelda game of the decade, ordered by their release.

Eligible games are: Majora's Mask, Oracle of Ages, Oracle of Seasons, Four Swords Adventures, The Wind Waker, The Minish Cap, Twilight Princess, Phantom Hourglass, and Spirit Tracks.

The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks

First Hour Review
Legend Of Zelda Spirit Tracks Cover

The Legend of Zelda is an old and respected series of games. The brainchild of Nintendo's Shigeru Miyamoto, the series contains some of the best-loved games ever.

When a series continues this long, there's always a risk: either the games stay the same and get stale, or they innovate and don't fit in the series.

December 7 ushered in the latest iteration of the green-clad hero on the DS. Spirit Tracks is a direct sequel to Phantom Hourglass, which itself was a direct sequel to Wind Waker, making this the longest string of direct sequels for the franchise.

Set about 100 years after Phantom Hourglass, it features the descendants of the previous Link and Zelda. But what we want to know, is this game any good? Is it the same as Phantom Hourglass, but with a train instead of a steamship? Is driving a train any fun? What will the first hour of the latest Zelda game be like?

Games I simply could not sell

Gaming Nostalgia
Chrono Trigger/chrono Trigger Cover Snes

I've been going through my large collections of games lately, which numbers in the hundreds, deciding if I can pass any of them off to gamers who can actually appreciate them for what they are. Not only do I have tons of games, but for 95% of them, I also still have their original box and manual. This makes some of them rather valuable for the collector, and hopefully I can provide.

However, there are a few games which I simply can not give up, some are worth quite a bit, others... well, they're mostly just meaningful to me. Let's take a nostalgic walk through some of the rare, obscure, and classic games I own that I could never give up.

The Legend of Zelda: The Complete Animated Series

TV Show Review

Legend of Zelda Animated Series CoverThe Legend of Zelda: The Complete Animated Series is a 13 episode series that aired along with the Super Mario Bros. Super Show back in 1989. It features everyone's favorite skirt wearing hero, Link, and his chaste damsel, Princess Zelda. Don't forget about Ganon, Link's archnemesis and ever-persistent bad-guy-with-a-losing-plan. Throw in the Triforce, the Master Sword, and tons of swashbuckling adventures, this is probably the Legend of Zelda you know and love, right?

Well, maybe not. Remember, this was 1989, the mysterious time between The Adventures of Link and A Link to the Past. The characters were about 20 pixels high on the screen and the only real art we had from them was in the instruction booklets, not much to go on for an animation team to create a whole cartoon around. So Link really does look like he's wearing a skirt, Zelda looks like a twig at six feet tall and 100 pounds, while Ganon is sporting his classic pig design. A similar predicament faced the art team of the Panasonic CD-I Zelda games (yeah, those). There's a great interview over at Hardcore Gaming 101 detailing some of these problems.

So nothing formal here, let's just discuss some of the things I noted while watching The Legend of Zelda: The Complete Animated Series. The show is available over Netflix Instant Watch, check it out!

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