"These Are the Games You Play in Hell" and Other Japanese Reactions to the Zelda CD-i Games

"These Are the Games You Play in Hell" and Other Japanese Reactions to the Zelda CD-i Games

Squadalah! We're off, Link-chan!

The Zelda CD-i games are a fascinating study. Not simply because they're terrible, but because their very existence represents the dissolution of the Sony-Nintendo alliance that eventually gave rise to the Sony PlayStation.

To recap quickly: The CD-i Zelda games are an ill-begotten product of a weird fling between Nintendo and Philips following the Sony break-up. Zelda Universe has an interview with the creator of the games that offers great insight as to why the projects turned out so smelly. The rise of YouTube is arguably another reason why the CD-i Zelda titles are branded forever in our memories, though: One of the first things humanity did with the revolutionary video-sharing service was upload videos of Gwonam from Link: The Faces of Evil screaming "Squadalah!" for ten minutes.

Japan never received the CD-i Zelda games because the country is clearly protected by benevolent gods, but they've seen the animations through the magic of globalization and easy media sharing. Translator Clyde "Tomato" Mandelin gathered up Japanese Zelda fans' reactions to the games' ponderous action and melty-face cutscenes. Said reactions were farmed from message boards, etc, across a span of several years, but as Mandelin correctly points out, opinions probably haven't changed much.

Here are some of my favorites:

  • "This feels like the real world but on drugs."
  • "The Legend of Zelda: Triforce of the Shits."
  • "They still had crap like this even in 1993?"
  • "Nintendo must’ve been pissed after seeing these."
  • "Zelda looks so cute when she’s sleepy!" (Bruh...)
  • "This background music sounds like American porn music."
  • "In terms of controls, animation, and gameplay, the CD-i Zeldas don’t make the grade as Zelda games. They don’t even pass as actual games. They’re the kind of games you’d play in hell."

If Hell is truly a place of eternal physical and psychological punishment, yeah, I could see demons firing up the ol' CD-i and forcing a sinner to play Faces of Evil if the iron maiden was out of commission for whatever reason.

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Nadia Oxford

Staff Writer

Nadia has been writing about games for so long, only the wind and the rain (or the digital facsimiles thereof) remember her true name. She's written for Nerve, About.com, Gamepro, IGN, 1UP, PlayStation Official Magazine, and other sites and magazines that sling words about video games. She co-hosts the Axe of the Blood God podcast, where she mostly screams about Dragon Quest.

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