Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Retro, Tingle and the Curse of Conversion

A Zelda game made by Retro Studios. That's certainly something many Zelda fans dreamt about, but was denied by Miyamoto, because he didn't want to outsource Zelda. But they can still mock the Zelda fans by letting Retro make the third Tingle game. I'm not kidding here.

Say "hello" to Kensuke Tanabe. He's the producer of all the Retro Studio and Vanpool titles. In case you don't know, Retro Studios made such great games as the Metroid Prime Trilogy (simply one of my favorites) and the latest Donkey Kong Country games, currently working on Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze. Vanpool are the guys, who made the Tingle games including Rupeeland. Later they had invented the Dillon franchise.

In an interview with VentureBeat Tanabe admitted his obsession with Tingle. Even though the character is hated in the West, he still thinks that this can be changed, turn the hate into love, by making yet another Tingle game. And the head of Retro Studios even jokes that they could make that game. Of course this all wasn't really serious and Tanabe explains that's just some crazy idea from himself and not Nintendo, but still I could see this happening, no matter how ludicrous it might seem.

As of late Nintendo has a problem. When some of their products gets rejected, they think it's not because the people simply didn't like it or because the product was bad, but because the people didn't understand it properly. The Wii U is great, people just don't understand it! - That's Nintendo's statement. The Wind Waker's art style was great for Zelda, people just didn't understand it. - That's Aonuma's statement and the reason, why they keep making more Toon Zelda, even though the Wind Waker received a lot of hate and Twilight Princess outsold comic-look Zelda big time. And you can certainly expect Nintendo to make Metroid: Other M 2, just because they think the first game wasn't understood properly. ... That Tanabe wants to sell more Tingle just fits the whole profile.

And maybe his vision would come true... Most likely not, but if I said it would be impossible to convert the people to like Tingle, I would be a hypocrite. Because I got converted myself. Two times actually. One time with the Wind Waker and later with Tingle.

I'm not hostile towards the Wind Waker anymore, but I used to be when the game came out. I was 16 years old, so everything had to be cool and there's no way that I would buy that weird GameCube with the kiddy Zelda. Three years later at the German army, a comrade had a GameCube with the Zelda Collector's Edition, where I helped him with Majora's Mask. Of course I was curious about the Wind Waker demo and I gave it a try. And I liked it. The game was really charming and I loved, how dark and atmospheric the Forsaken Fortress and Dragon Roost Cavern dungeons looked despite the toon style. Windfall Island was great and probably my favorite town in the series. I would later get my own GameCube with the Wind Waker that year (though Twilight Princess at the horizon was the main reason to get the system). I got converted.

With Tingle it was similar. At first I hated him. Especially in Majora's Mask. As a young lad I considered him to be the one and only flaw of the game. I wished he wasn't in there. In the Wind Waker I thought he was more funny, even though he rips you off badly, but I never had problems with collecting enough Rupees. I still hated him for the Tingle Tuner, which simply was a terribly implemented feature and gave him more attention than he should have. Then one day I would win Tingle's Rupeeland in an online quiz game. At first I didn't want to touch this abomination of a game, but when I started playing it, I noticed the similar Action Adventure gameplay and that the game had a lot of charme. While this game is far from perfect, I really liked it for what it is. It made me stop hating Tingle and appreciate the weird sense of humor surrounding him.

So, mission successful, Tanabe! I got converted. But I'm an exception. In both cases I got my hands on the games by coincident (or you could say "fate"). If you're unwilling to buy something, no marketing will change that. You can't force people to buy Tingle games, if they hate Tingle. Tingle's Rupeeland sold poorly, it didn't change much about Tingle's reception. And yet another Tingle game won't change this, especially one made by Retro - in that case you would just make the Zelda fans furious.

Also, just because I grew to like the Wind Waker and Tingle, doesn't mean I want more Wind Waker and Tingle. I learned to like them for what they are in the Zelda series, but I don't really want more. I originally rejected both for a reason and that's never going to change. Nintendo won't change this, no matter how many Toon Zelda and Tingle games they'll keep making.

This behavior on Nintendo's site is very unhealthy. They should stop chasing ghosts and focus on what the people really want from games like Zelda. Instead they try to manipulate you into liking something that you hated.

1 comment:

K2L said...

Tingle has been exiled from the Zelds series after The Minish Cap. Just because he now has his own games, doesn't mean anything for the series itself.