Just when you thought your dream of playing a game where Princess Zelda was the protagonist was never going to happen, along came YouTube user Kenna W. (Hopefully, as a true fan of the franchise you do not count those CD-i games, in which case you would have realized this dream about 20 years ago…) Kenna modded the original Legend of Zelda so that the player controls Zelda to save Hyrule and Link instead of Link playing the part of the hero.
Kenna drew her main inspiration from a recent story about a father that had modded Donkey Kong to allow his daughter to play as the Princess. She also remembers as a child how she was somewhat disappointed by the fact that Zelda’s name appeared in the title of the game, yet she did not get a chance to play as her.
Kenna received help from her boyfriend, a video game programmer, to guide her toward the best way to accomplish this task. The two have had previous discussions about a game starring Zelda, and they thought this would be a good extension of that idea. They worked for a few days to perform all the edits necessary so that the finished product would play just like the original game, but with the two main characters reversed. They achieved this by editing the sprites with an application called “Tile Layer Pro”. Once they made all of the changes, they simply play-tested it until they had worked out any mistakes.
You can watch some of the game footage here:
While modding is nothing new, a simple swap such as this one still preserves the original gameplay. There might be some people that get upset at an effort like this because it alters the original game, but I think it is a good way to shed a positive light on such a beloved series. The best fans of a specific franchise, whether that be comics, video games, television shows, etc., are often the ones that create fan fiction and other content related to that franchise. At a time when the media tends to focus on negative angles most of the time (especially when it comes to Nintendo), it is refreshing to hear stories of fans that let their passion help them create a new twist on a classic. This does not mean that I want to see every beloved game from my past switched around to use different characters, but in this case it helped a woman to play in a way where she could connect more fully with the game.
What do you think? Would you download everything necessary just to play the game as Zelda? Is this good exposure for the franchise, or is it blasphemy to the loyal Zelda fans? (I take no offense to this fan altering her own experience of the game because it does not impact my memories of playing it.)
You can read more about Kenna’s efforts on her blog: http://kennastuff.blogspot.com/