Retro recollections: Is it important to play all of a classic game series?

There are plenty of classic game series, but when approaching them, is it vital to start at the beginning?

Credit where it’s due; my thoughts around retro gaming today can be traced back to a tweet made by the excellent Alex Boz, AKA @ausretrogamer

Pretty simple, right? I mean, I was a little surprised that he had never played any Zelda game, but I certainly don’t mean that in a judgemental way. There’s just way too much retro gaming history for somebody to have played everything. Just not possible. There are numerous games and game series, including some of the big ones that I’ve never played, so I’m certainly not going to judge anyone else.

Still, I suggested that he should play it, because it is the granddaddy of the Zelda series. Pretty much everything that has been built in the Zelda universe comes from that game in one way or another. I could even make the claim (and I believe I’m about to) that it’s the closest thing to the the Switch Zelda: Breath of The Wild in the entire series run.

No, really. You start The Legend Of Zelda in an open area with lots of danger, and very little real direction. You’re free to go wherever you like, and plenty of things will kill you if you’re not careful. You can follow the game script, but you’re not forced to. Sound familiar?

Still, while The Legend of Zelda is a great classic retro title, not every game in the series really is. I wouldn’t particularly recommend anyone except a completist spend too much time with the sequel, The Adventure Of Link. It was an ambitious title, to be sure, but it doesn’t play quite as well.

Although this ad is perfectly charming.

And that got me thinking. Games are an art form without a doubt, but they’re an evolving art form. I do think it’s important to play the classics, both because they can be great fun, and because it’s a great way to inform your overall gaming knowledge, whether you’re just a player of games or somebody who wants to make them.

But nobody has time to play everything, and the evolving nature of games (and the missteps along the way, interesting as they might be) aren’t as worthy of your attention. If I was picking the Zelda games that (in my opinion) you must play, I’d say The Legend of Zelda, then Link to the Past (because damn, that game is FINE), then Ocarina of Time (of course), probably Wind Waker (if only for the art style) or Majora’s Mask (because it’s so very offbeat for Zelda).

I’m still to dip my beak into Breath Of The Wild myself, but it seems likely to be on the must-play list. I had a lot of fun with Link Between Worlds, but that’s very heavily informed by Link to the Past. Equally, if there’s time then the Oracles series, or Twilight Princess or Skyward Sword are fine, but essential? Maybe not. Naturally, your tastes could vary.

And that’s just one retro games series! There are dozens, if not hundreds!

Retro recollections are just random musings on retro subjects, usually whatever I’m playing at the moment.

Lead image: Daveoratox

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