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Zelda 25th Anniversary: 2001

Preface (3/23/2015): I used to be a prolific writer at Zelda Universe, a large Zelda fansite, during my teenage years. When the 25th anniversary of the Zelda franchise loomed, they decided they wanted to run a series of 25 articles, celebrating each year. They contacted me and asked me to do one; I volunteered for 2001, and wrote the article below. My audience was primarily teenage Zelda fans, so I wrote for them.

Ah, 2001. It was a tumultuous year, and a watershed moment for the Zelda franchise and the game industry. It saw the release of not one, but two Zelda games – two Zelda games developed by Capcom, with Nintendo’s blessing.  It was a year that polarized and divided the Zelda fanbase more than any other, when the first footage of The Wind Waker surfaced at the final Spaceworld. We saw the launch of the Gameboy Advance, the Gamecube, and Super Smash Bros Melee. And, in the industry at large, Sega announced that it was going 3rd party, the Playstation 2 was in full stride, and Microsoft jumped in with the release of the Xbox and Halo. For me, a thirteen year old Zelda fanboy, the stakes were high and the drama was irresistible.

I was as happy as a clam, impatient, angry at various people on the internet (of course!), and ridiculously excited for all the ups and downs that my favorite gaming franchise had in store for me. I think I speak for all of the Zelda fandom when I say that 2001 was – wait for it! – legendary. Not convinced? We’ll see about that.

Your typical Zelda fan, in January 2001, had two things on his or her mind: the impending release of the Oracles and the Spaceworld 2000 tech demo footage that blew us all away with its hyper-realistic depiction of Link fighting Ganondorf.  We had been teased – marketed at with great success. We had tasted paradise, and it was the Gamecube’s power to render Ganondorf’s five fully-articulated fingers while he taunted us from across the sea, at Japanese trade shows. We wanted more – we were hungry for more of that juicy goodness, and it would take something hefty to sate us. Read More →