Remembering the Wii: The Day the Traditional Zelda Died

zelda wiimote

My first and second articles about remembering the Wii celebrated some of the system’s strengths, but it would be dishonest to ignore the negative feelings I have about the console.

Many people complain about the Wii games that target children, the elderly and a more general audience. I find a lot of these complaints rather pointless. Why complain about games that don’t even target you? If Wii Fit is a great experience for someone, more power to the game and its followers.

Of course, I do understand some criticism of motion controls, but again, the criticism should focus on games that interest you in the first place. This brings me to The Legend of Zelda, a series I did not play on the Wii for a very simple reason: the idea of waggling throughout an epic adventure made me tired before I even tried the game.

Actually, my avoidance of the Wii Zelda games is a bit more complicated. I was one of those people who bought a GameCube primarily for the opportunity to play The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, though I’m glad I delved into other titles on the GameCube (to describe the system in one word: underrated). Man, I loved Twilight Princess all the way through. It didn’t have the annoying fairy and antiquated graphics of Ocarina of Time, and it didn’t have the idiotic sailing of The Wind Waker (an otherwise fun game). It put a lot of thought into sword techniques and new items like the spinner and double clawshot. It was challenging and rewarding to get the hang of shooting your bow while riding a horse. Hell, I even thought the wolf gameplay was cool (seriously, how is not playing as a wolf awesome?).

After beating the GameCube version, the idea of playing through Twilight Princess on the Wii did not appeal to me in the slightest. The mirror-image map was a mundane idea to cover up the fact that the Wii version contained no significant enhancements. Waggling to swing my sword for more than 50 hours? Trying that for a few minutes was stupid enough. And I don’t care about pointing the Wiimote exactly where I want to shoot my arrows – that controller is great for shooters, but aiming the bow on the GameCube was, like I said, an achievement, not a given.

Then Skyward Sword was announced years later. I got really excited about that game. I remember being downright intrigued about how the game’s dungeons and overworld blended into a more cohesive whole.

When I finally heard the news that you could only play Skyward Sword using the Wiimote, I tried to be positive. But to this day, I have not played that game. It’s almost like a silent protest for me. Why did Nintendo bend over backward to give us controller options for the Wii yet deny fans of classic Zelda gameplay the opportunity to play new Zelda games with the Classic Controller? I will never understand Nintendo’s insistence on this matter. The company can argue about “immersion” and “innovation” all it wants – the idea of controlling Link should not be exhausting on the surface to any gamer.

Nintendo has an opportunity to make things right with me about Zelda with the Wii U. Speeding up the sailing for The Wind Waker remake is a decent start. Nonetheless, I will always remember how the Wii made Zelda unattractive to me (the game, not the character [kinda average]!).


  1. Honestly, I pity your obstinance in refusing to play Skyward Sword because you’re put off by motion controls. The swordplay combat really was an evolution and made fighting pesky villains a lot more dynamic. They couldn’t put options to use the classic controller, because it would not be possible to translate the swinging to a control stick. Seriously, give it a try, never know you might be suprised by it. And afterwards your opinion might have more validity ; )

    • Jed Pressgrove

      Liam, I praise motion-control games in my first two Remembering the Wii articles, so this article isn’t about being put off by motion controls in general. And I will not deny what you say about the dynamic gameplay. The point is that thinking about doing this with motion controls is exhausting. For me, it’s akin to imagining myself sitting through the first part of The Hobbit trilogy. I’m just getting to the point where I don’t want to try things that don’t appeal to me on a surface level. It’s not really an opinion so much as how I decide to spend my money and time. In other words, if Nintendo had given gamers a Classic Controller option for this particular game, I would have been more likely to spend money and/or time giving Skyward Sword a shot. Ultimately, my brief experience with Twilight Princess on the Wii was enough for me to make a logical economic decision on Skyward Sword. Is it possible that I might like it? Of course. But do I really care to find out? Nope. I’d rather play games I’m interested in.

  2. Don’t play Skyward Sword, I did and it really sucks because of the motion controller.

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