There’s a lot of fun to be had with the CD-i Zelda games, which is why this is the second time we’re running CD-i Month. For those of you who missed out last year or want to revisit some great CD-i moments, I bring you the best of CD-i Month 2013. These are some of our favorite pieces of content that we posted or created last year to celebrate the Unholy Triforce.
An interview with the creator of the CD-i Zelda games
What would you ask the developers of the CD-i Zelda games if you had the chance? “Did you even play a Zelda game?” “How did those cutscenes end up so bad?” “Do you put that on your resume?” In 2007, the former manager of the team behind Link: The Faces of Evil and Zelda: The Wand of Gamelon gave an open and honest account of what happened while the games were being developed. As much as we make fun of these games, this interview is a really interesting and insightful read. He revealed that it was a challenging process, with a limited budget, small team, tight time frame and little input from Nintendo.
“Nintendo’s only input was we ran the design document and character sketches past them for their approval. They were mostly interested in the look of the Link and Zelda characters. I think the Link and Zelda characters were in somewhat of a formation stage back then. Because really, the characters didn’t appear very detailed in the Nintendo game. They were mainly visible, you know, on the box covers.”
The interview gives an overview of the history of the development of the titles, including how the now-infamous cutscenes came to be outsourced to Russia. It also addresses the criticism that the games experienced following their release.
“Given the amount of time we had, and what we were creating at the time in terms of company infrastructure, I thought we did a good job. You know, we weren’t Nintendo. And Nintendo makes fantastic games, which are exceptionally well tuned in terms of gameplay… I would imagine that anything was going to fall short of that, in terms of the amount of time and energy that Nintendo puts into gameplay… I felt that, given the circumstances, we did a good job. It could have been better, of course it wasn’t Nintendo.”
“It could have been better, of course it wasn’t Nintendo”
You can read the entire article and interview here, which also contains some rare concept art for the games.
Our favorite Poop, and non-Poop, in 2013
There is a lot of CD-i Zelda poop on YouTube. Some of it is very funny, and some of it is just plain stupid. Last year, MeStar Studios was our favorite producer of CD-i Zelda poop, with dozens of videos with high production quality and the kind of quirky humor that fits the world of CD-i Zelda so well. You can see two of his best videos in this post.
There was also this excellent and hilarious non-poop video called “The King’s Birthday”, done in the style of the cutscenes but with original animation and acting.
What the CD-i games did right
They made Zelda the protagonist of a game. The idea of a playable Princess Zelda has been discussed among Zelda fans for as long as there has been Zelda games, and two of the three CD-i titles did just that. In this article, Dave Johnson examines the treatment of Princess Zelda in the Nintendo-made Zelda games and the use of the “damsel in distress” trope.
“The only games so far to star Zelda as a protagonist … have been in games that Nintendo didn’t publish”
“I’m going to make a very bold claim here. It should be to Nintendo’s shame that the only games so far to star Zelda as a protagonist—or dear goddesses, even just not having her kidnapped or turned to stone or whatever—have been in games that Nintendo didn’t publish, and namely in games that Philips made for the CD-i. In 14 out of the 14 Nintendo-published Zelda games Princess Zelda appears in, she has been the damsel in distress. A helpful damsel she may be, but she’s a disempowered damsel nonetheless.
“And I don’t think that there’s any sort of excuse tall enough to overcome this oversight.”
You can read the full article here.
My CD-i Day
What would happen if CD-i Zelda took over real life? How would you go about your day and interact with people? This video shows you what that day might look like.
King Harkinian and Princess Zelda took over the Zelda Universe mailbag after the regular host was summoned to save the island of Koridai from Ganon. Their answers are, of course, based on their own world and experiences.