Last week, we decided to take a break from the more obvious types of polls to go for a more nebulous option - favorite timeline/stylistic era (each of the four timeline eras cover a distinct style of Zelda game), and the results are in! Did the legendary era of heroic blades and mythical archetypes win? What about the classic era of top-down gameplay and nostalgic goodness? Or did the award go to the shadow era, with its darker games? Perhaps the winner was the new era, with its open-ended adventures and cel-shaded graphics? There is a conclusion to this question, and the resolution is downright shocking.
Here are the results of the poll, conveniently converted to chart form for ease:
That’s right - it’s a tie. The legendary era home to Skyward Sword and Ocarina of Time came in equally with the shadow era of Majora’s Mask and Twilight Princess. The new era of The Wind Waker and its sequels took a distant third, with the classic era came in last. Apparently, general opinion is torn between Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask, torn between Skyward Sword and Twilight Princess.
Of course, here’s the winning comment - a passionate dissertation on the new era courtesy of user Whaleshooter:
“As much as I love the tenebrous themes and the unsettling mood of the Shadow Era, I have to go with the New Era. Not really because of looks, even though it’s a style that clearly hits the right mix between charmingly familiar yet wonderfully outlandish (though DS graphics didn’t do much for me). The reason why this era is my Zelda Era of choice is because it puts the Kapital A in (action) “Adventure” gaming; exploring the vast unknown, to boldly go where no tights-wearing ten-year old has gone before. Wind Waker was a ballsy move from Nintendo’s part. Apart from the obvious gamble in art style, it also dared to go as far as to say goodbye to the old Hyrule, which had come to be so much to us over the years, ranging from quiet safe house for some, to second home for others. Wind Waker marked the beginning of the “New Era” in every sense of the word(s).
A fresh start, a new beginning: who could tell, after watching Wind Waker’s credits, what the future would hold? It was the same familiar thrill that we had come to familiarize with from the first time we awoke in a watch tower on link’s birthday, looking out at the sea, scouting for a new shadow of an island we could not wait to discover; a sensation that kept going all throughout the game, and made all those lengthy boat cruises worth every second (at least for first playthrough). With the drowning of Hyrule, Zelda became an ocean of possibilities, literally. Gone were the shackles that were the obligatory inclusion of Death Mountain and Zora’s River, away with the expected Castle Town and Kakariko Village. Here lied room for whatever you could imagine.
This is something Wind Waker and Phantom Hourglass definitely did right, and something the newer console Zeldas regretfully neglected. Especially Skyward Sword, with the alluring promise of floating island exploration extravaganza, which turned out to be lacking to say the least.
To summarize, the New Era taught us that even though the newer Zeldas have returned to more traditional exploration, Zelda is not defined by this, and can always be so much more than we expect it to be, maybe even more than we can ever hope to possibly fathom.”
Two things: first, I am hereby placing a requirement on these that the winning post must be no more than two paragraphs from here on out. Secondly - isn’t it ironic that the winner basically lampoons the winning eras? But he/she certainly does it with a real passion - kudos to you, Whaleshooter, and here’s the much-maligned Medal of Nonchalant Subparness for your effort:
One more thing before we say our internet farewells - we have a special award for Guest. As the winner of the favorite music poll, he was promised an atrocious musical cover of his favorite Zelda song in the results for next week’s poll. Without further adieu, I present this gift to Guest - Most Gracious Guest, the Official Zelda Informer Poll Cover of the Wind Waker Credits Theme. Let it tarnish your memory of the song forever.
That’s it for this week! Stay tuned for the next poll to start on Monday. Happy living.