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The Duty Of A True Fan

By aquizero on Sep 05 2012 10:19 AM
After having a healthy discussion about why I should play the entire collection of games that make up The Legend of Zelda franchise, my mind started going into a state of turmoil. "Should I really go back to the basics and play through the entire series of games? Is there any real benefit in doing so?"

In the case of The Legend of Zelda series, one could argue the following point. The official story time-line has four unique branches. Each of those branches correspond to a specific set of titles in the overall series. As long as you follow one of the series' main branches, you should have a sufficient amount of understanding and appreciation of the overall storyline and its significance.

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For example, The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass is playable as a standalone title. However, the story would have more of an impact if the player completed The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker beforehand. These titles help make up the Branch of Time: The Hero of Wind and A New World. Let's look at another main-series Zelda example. If you were to play Link’s Awakening and Twilight Princess back to back, you wouldn't really gain a rich sense of connection with the storyline. These two games come from two different branches in the official time-line, and have very little in common. Of course, some similarities would be present between the titles, giving them just enough aromatic beauty to share a commonality; Zelda. Moving away from The Legend of Zelda, I would also like to know if the same idea of playing through an entire series holds true for other Nintendo-specific franchises.

Should any so-called "fan" invest their time to experience all the games in a specific series? If you were lucky enough to start your immortal video game quest during the age of the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), or even prior to that era, you may be a step ahead of the the newer generation of gamers. Playing through game titles that are based on current technology is much easier than going backwards. Someone who just started playing games on their Nintendo 3DS is much less likely to find Nintendo 64 titles appealing, solely based on the graphical appearance of the games. At that point, the only interest would be the individual's love and passion for the franchise.

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Another factor that may be overlooked would be the availability of the games on current systems. Thanks to today's digital gaming, it's easier than ever to pick up a current generation system and download titles from the past. Unfortunately, past-era libraries of games are somewhat sparse via Virtual Console services. However, with the introduction of the 3DS, Game Boy games are becoming more widely available for download via the 3DS' Virtual Console in the eShop.

If tracking down each title seems a bit too time consuming, you could always wade it out for a series compilation to make an appearance. For example, Nintendo has made it a bit easier for Kirby fans to dive into the pink puff’s history by releasing Kirby’s Dream Collection: Special Edition, in celebration of the series' 20th anniversary.

In closing, to say that one needs to play every title within a series to fully appreciate the franchise, is a bit much. Not every title has a direct connection to its previous installment(s). For example, spin-off titles like Kirby Pinball are certainly not story-driven. If you consider yourself a true fan of a particular series, it only makes sense that you familiarize yourself with all titles that helped mold that franchise into what it is today.

About the Author

Benjamin is a true gaymer. For nearly a decade, his interest in Nintendo has grown exponentially! He's not extremely skilled at any particular genre of games, but mostly enjoys RPG, strategy, and fighting games. His true obsession within the Nintendo universe is Pokémon, followed closely by Zelda. Ever since he watched the first episode of Pokémon, he's been hooked. To this day, he plays the main-series Pokémon games and watches the anime religiously. He's as close as it comes to being a Pokémon Master. His true passion for Nintendo makes him excited to write new topics for you!

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Comments: 2

Great perspective, Ben.

To answer this question:

"Should any so-called "fan" invest their time to experience all the games in a specific series?"

I think fanatics (not fans) should at least gather an acquired taste for the titles in a series. After all, a fanatic would most likely pursue something like that automatically, and without prompt. Fans are just fans. There is a huge difference between fans and fanatics though.

For a "fan" partial to a specific series not to at least take a few minutes to experience the series' roots wouldn't really make sense to me. Whether that person grew up with that gaming era or not, it just wouldn't make sense to me to not want to experience something like that. The last time I checked, I don't recall any game casting permanent trauma to me.

Personally, I feel gamers these days simply don't appreciate what they have. I also think that today's gamers are close-minded as well and rarely welcome a change of gaming pace outside of their comfort zone. Whether it's a "crappy" game like CheetahMen or Super Man 64, there are qualities (good or bad, it doesn't matter) that made those games memorable.
Yes I see your point. Fanatics would do this without much thought. A fan should at least want more from the series, which could lead them towards playing previous installments or at least researching them. I know I am trying my hardest to give the NES titles of The Legend of Zelda a shot. I hope that I can get past the parts of those games that made me uninterested in the past. I think since I am currently playing Links Awakening DX and actually enjoying it (crappy graphics aside) there is hope for me.