If a tree falls in the middle of a forest and no one is around, does it make a sound? What is the sound of one hand clapping? Which Zelda game is the best?
All three are deep philosophical questions that have been debated for many years. Perhaps there isn’t a sure answer for them. However, in the case of the Zelda question, Eiji Aonuma may be one of the most qualified people around to share his thoughts.
Aonuma was a long term fan of the series, but is perhaps most well known for his work on Ocarina of Time. As Game System Director and Dungeon Designer, Aonuma showed his creative flair and passion for the franchise. The success of Ocarina of Time meant Aonuma directed the next three games too, before becoming the overall producer for the series. But what are his top three Zelda games?
Aonuma revealed his third choice to be Twilight Princess. He stated that he wanted to “create something better than Ocarina of Time.” This is evident by many striking similarities between the two games. Whether this was achieved or not is up for debate, but certainly this entry produced one of the darker games in the series.
It goes without saying that this game would be on the list; Ocarina of Time takes the second spot in Aonuma’s list. Arguably the greatest, or most well recognized game in the Zelda franchise. Plus, it was the first game for Aonuma to exercise his creative flair, creating tense dungeons and many memorable moments.
Lastly, in perhaps a surprise first choice for many, Phantom Hourglass is the Zelda game that is at the top of Aonuma’s list. The producer states that it allowed him to develop a “new style of gameplay”. The use of the stylus certainly brought a fresh breath of air to the handheld Zelda experience, and was among the most important innovations in the game.
Triforce Heroes is the game Aonuma considers to be the most underrated game. In what he considers a game overlooked by many, mainly due to its multiplayer aspects, which can be seen as limiting. However, Triforce Heroes provided many new features and unique gameplay, making it worthy of recognition on any list featuring the greatest Zelda games.
Maybe the most insightful part of this list is how Aonuma reflects on each game. It clearly reveals his drive to better himself, and to create a unique and thrilling experience. With this mentality, Zelda fans can certainly be excited for what’s in store for us in the future.