A whole decade ago, The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess launched for the Wii. Though Nintendo originally envisioned it as a GameCube game—and released it on that system a month later—this Zelda sequel gave people a reason to buy a Wii beyond Wii Sports. On this 10-year anniversary, your friendly Fandom games editors share their memories of this epic adventure.
The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess released at the perfect time in my life. I’d just graduated from college and didn’t have a job, meaning I had nothing but time on my hands. And free time comes in handy when approaching a game as huge as Twilight Princess. I get the feeling Twilight Princess’ slow pacing amounted to Nintendo compensating for its many delays, since that game sure takes its time. These days, with a much more True Adult life, I found myself bouncing off of the HD version’s extended intro.
Still, I’m glad Nintendo made Twilight Princess. While I find Skyward Sword much more problematic, Twilight Princess exists in part as Nintendo making good on their promise of a “mature” Legend of Zelda. I’m a bigger fan of The Wind Waker’s charming, cartoony visuals, but still love what Twilight Princess did with its gloomier atmosphere. And I still hold it as a point of pride that I played the GameCube version over the Wii version, which mirrored the experience to account for Wiimote waggle from right-handed players. Not that I had a choice with how hard it was to find a Wii, but still…
– Bob Mackey, Games Editor
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I remember how excited I was to finally play Twilight Princess in 2006. I had waited forever (aka two years) for what was seemingly the most epic Legend of Zelda adventure ever. And, while I couldn’t hope to get my hands on a Wii, I easily got a copy of Twilight Princess on the GameCube.
At a time when I loved Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy and Hayao Miyazaki animation, Twilight Princess was a pure delight. The swordplay was excellent, making every encounter a joy. Even better was the sense of exploration you felt searching out every nook and cranny of Hyrule. Not to mention a layered plot that had some genuine surprises all the way until the end. I was all in from the beginning.
That November into December was a lovely send off to my GameCube. The purple box never looked better than when rendering the shadowy world of Link and Midna. At the time, I wasn’t yet cursed with a full-time job, so most days I spent hours on end parked in front of my 19-inch standard definition TV. That all feels so quaint now, like a simple time I can’t go back to. A decade later, Link’s lupine adventure still fills me with warm memories, even as the HD version starts to show its age a bit.
– Henry Gilbert, Senior Games Editor
I consider myself a huge Zelda fan. In fact, The Legend of Zelda series may be my favorite game franchise of all time. I’ve spent countless hours delving deep into the dungeons of Hyrule, exploring the overworld map for every hidden secret, and even sailing the Hylian seas in what I consider to be the greatest Zelda game of all time, The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker. Just hearing the overworld theme can get me in a nostalgic mood.
That’s why my initial experience with Twilight Princess is so odd. I was there to get a copy of the Wii version on release day. I brought it home, booted up my Wii, started playing… and put it down after just an hour or two. Like many longtime Zelda fans, the lengthy first wolf segment immediately put me off to the game. It also didn’t help that I had new PlayStation 3 and Wii systems and launch games to check out, not to mention the usual deluge of holiday releases around that time.
Perhaps deep down I knew that I needed to give Twilight Princess the hours it deserved and was putting it off. Whatever the reason, I didn’t come back to the game until a few years later. When I did, though, it got its hookshot in deep. I made it my mission to see everything the game had to offer. I read every guide and found every secret I could. So much so that I had no desire to go back to the recent Wii U remaster. I’d already seen all that game had to offer.
Despite the game’s awkward controls — as a lefty I was one of the few who could have benefitted from keeping Link left-handed — I came to love the game. I place it in my top five Zelda games of all time. Though from what I’ve seen of Breath of the Wild, I may need to rethink that list very soon.
– Matthew Allen, Executive Games Editor