The Legend of Zelda is one of those special video game series that has very few, if any, bad entries. Despite the nitpicks or the poor design decisions, every game in the franchise has at least one unique, fun, or redeemable quality to justify that game’s existence. But suppose you were one day gifted power over time and space, and a Higher Power directed you to delete a single Zelda title from existence; this game would never have existed, and never will exist. Which Zelda would you choose? The answer may be harder to determine than you might first think.
I had to contemplate this question for quite a long time before I decided on my own answer. My mind initially jumped to the more poorly received games in the franchise, such as Tri Force Heroes, or Phantom Hourglass, or even the CD-i Zelda games. But upon further consideration, each of these titles is better off within existence than not. As poorly designed as TFH was, I would never want to forget the fun I had playing the game with friends. As frustrating as PH was at times, I felt like it taught the Zelda team valuable lessons in modern game design. And as goofy and awful as The Faces of Evil and Wand of Gamelon were, where would the internet be today without their contributions to .gifs and YouTube poops.
So which game must I ultimately choose? Well, I must — however reluctantly — nominate Skyward Sword for final deletion. Now, Skyward Sword is not a bad game, far from it. But I think that this Wii title, upon reflection, would leave the smallest hole in history if it were erased. Nintendo’s choice to include motion controls has essentially locked the game to the Wii hardware, and I just can’t think of a way for the company to re-release the title without a huge overhaul and more effort than it warrants. Plus, the Zelda team has already back-peddled on a lot of the design choices that they established with Skyward Sword. They’ve completely abandoned the use of motion controls — even though Eiji Aonuma once touted them as a permanent feature in the series’ future — and they have intentionally steered away from the linearity seen in Link’s Skyloftian adventure. I had my fun with SS, but I can least justify its existence when compared to all other Zelda games.
But what about you, o judge of time and space? Which one Zelda game would you delete from existence? Choose wisely and share your thoughts in the comments below.