I was never, nor had any particular desire, to be a psychologist or a behavioral scientist, but as an aspiring writer, how people behave and why is something of special interest to me. And one of those behaviors that has always amused me is a sort of phenomenon I’m seeing as the latest iteration of the Zelda franchise is quite literally hours from official release.
A bit of disclosure; one of the first games I ever played that I didn’t have to copy myself from a book related to an Atari 800XL was the original Legend of Zelda, and I have at least attempted to play every console title of the series produced since them (and a handful of the handheld titles as well). It’s one of a small handful of IPs that would be a wild dream of mine to write for. So if I occasionally drift into fanboy territory with some of my prose here, that’s why. I’ll try not to.
Anyway, what I’m describing as one behavior is really more two behaviors that are related to each other. The first is a dogged, I dare say irrational, urge to be as jaded as possible about anything in the present or the immediate future. It’s like an unspoken competition between people to be as negative as you possibly can about something right in front of you without getting your teeth punched in by someone else who is finally sick of your shit. This is made all the easier by the inability to strangle someone through the internet, so online we get to see human behavior plumb to some depressing-to-the-point-of-comical depths.
And, no, it’s not something restricted to The Legend of Zelda or even games. New movies, new shows, even remakes or new seasons of existing shows receive this treatment from a remarkably large segment of the public.
However, this tends to go hand in hand with another behavior, often by those same people; an equally dogged urge to remember what came before fondly, becoming ever more fond of what they experienced the further back they go. This phenomenon is especially visible in the Legend of Zelda series, and why I noted it in regards to this intellectual property. See, I remember the release window for The Wind Waker. That thing was loathed for much of the period that it was the headlining title in the franchise. The cel graphics were such an awful change in visuals. The storyline was such a deviation from what had been so successful before.
Nowadays? Those same fans look upon it as one of the best in the series. The art style that had been a cop out to accommodate “weaker” hardware? It’s “charming” and “colorful” now. The story is now a “bold direction” to take, and history is now remembering it as one of the IP’s best titles.
Why did they have to abandon all that was so great about Wind Waker to make “The Legend of Skyrim?”
We have gotten so good at dismissing what was bad about the past and comparing that idealized version that didn’t really exist to what is in front of us that I believe it contributes greatly to the gun-shy nature that infects our creative industries. We punish the natural course of things… until it comes time to remember them… then wonder why more people don’t break the mold more often.