In 1986 The Legend of Zelda was released in the United States. Shigeru Miyamoto and Takashi Tezuka designed a timeless master piece for the original Nintendo entertainment system. A fantasy driven and action packed adventure game that was set in the epic labyrinth filled world of Hyrule.
The unique interesting feature about the game’s packaging? It was gold. The Zelda franchise would emerge as one of the cornerstones for Nintendo and solidify them in solidarity as the major player in the industry. The Legend of Zelda would go on to sell over 6.5 million copies.
1983, 1987 and 1989. There is no doubt that the gold standard in college football during the eighties was the Miami Hurricanes. They took the college football world by storm. An unknown entity prior to college football’s blue blood establishment became the ferocious new flagship.
Ironically the infancy of the Zelda franchise was tucked in perfectly within the Hurricanes chronological realm of dominance. In 1988 The Legend of Zelda’s predecessor Zelda II:The Adventures of Link emerged into the spotlight.
Selling over 4 million copies, it was radical departure from the original and ranked by the publication Nintendo Power as the 12th best Nintendo Entertainment System game of all time.
That is yet another parallel to the Miami Hurricanes for me. Still a powerhouse in the eighties but yet under two distinct styles. Think of the stark contrast between Howard Schnellenberger and Jimmy Johnson.
One distinguished individual was a forward thinker and stoic with a pipe. The other icon was a brash and outspoken statesman who said stop us if you don’t want us to dance in the end zone.
The Legend of Zelda was a top down open world-esque revolutionary that introduced the gaming world its first ability to save your progress. Zelda II:The Adventures of Link would shift into a side scrolling menace once you wandered into a town or a terrorizing temple. Different but distinct. Different but powerhouses in their own realms.
The 2001 Miami Hurricanes is the greatest team of all time. 1998’s The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time is the best video game of all time. In the pantheon of pantheons there is much room for debate but both claims have been repeatedly and resoundingly made.
The music from the Water Temple in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time pic.twitter.com/I8f2snWbgY— Zelda Gif World (@GifZelda) May 29, 2020
Both brands have versions of themselves that are considered the pinnacle. Experiencing both entities in their entirety, I can attest that they were timeless and combined brilliance. Both were breath taking perfect representations of their fields.
The Hurricanes a perfect 12-0. Ocarina of Time sits atop the rankings of the review aggregation portal with unfathomable score of 99.
Three years apart. Their greatest opus. That was a long time ago now. A threat seemed to emerge from seemingly the dense fog of nowhere. The Big East is gone and the Hurricanes haven’t won its conference since joining the ACC. Nintendo is now more known for handhelds rather than its core systems.
In many ways the SEC’s rise to prominence and the establishment of technologically enhance dynamo system brands like PlayStation would change how the game would be played. Simply relying on nostalgia became a recipe for both’s apex demise.
The Hurricanes relied on the same infrastructure, Greentree field, antiquated weight rooms and antiquated pro style offense to the deaf tune and beaten drum of legacy will prevail. It hasn’t. It wont. So many teams passed the Hurricanes by. The Hurricanes have not won another championship.
The reported hardware of systems like the PlayStation 5 are jaw dropping. The Zelda series is in a precarious situation and staring up at technological giants. It is exactly in the position that the Miami Hurricanes finds itself. In need of a hardware upgrade. In need of a revolutionary revamp. Both are the field not the ones continually leading it.
As wonderful of a game as the last installment in the series, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is, it’s system competition has it outmatched. Call of Duty Modern Warfare topped the list of 2019’s greatest sellers to include physical and digital dollar sales. Breath of the Wild was not even in the top 20.
Zelda is at a disadvantage because Nintendo relied on its nostalgia rather then investing in technology. It relied on its titles from the eighties to carry the torch forward and hoped its loyalist fans would sustain them indefinitely. It is losing the arms race.
Just replace the world “Zelda” with “Miami” and the word “Nintendo” with “the Hurricanes” in the above paragraph and you know why they are same.