The past 10 years have been some of the greatest in the history of Nintendo, which is pretty incredible considered what the company has accomplished throughout its existence. The Big N kicked off the decade in 2010 with one of its greatest games of all time: Super Mario Galaxy 2. The following year, in 2011, it launched the Nintendo 3DS, and in 2012 the world was introduced to the Wii U. 2013 saw the Nintendo 2DS, followed by the wildly popular Amiibo that debuted in 2014. In 2015 we got the New Nintendo 3DS XL, and Pokemon Go took over the world in 2016. The NES Classic was also released in 2016, demonstrating how much demand there was for retro content and kick-starting a wave of additional mini-consoles in the future. If I had to pick one year from the decade as Nintendo’s greatest, it would be 2017. This year saw the launch of the Nintendo Switch, which has sold more than 40 million hardware units and more than 250 million software units (as of September 2019). The Nintendo Switch was home to major game releases in 2017, including The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Super Mario Odyssey, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, and Splatoon 2. In addition to all of this, Nintendo released the Super Nintendo Classic the same year. This mini-console, like its predecessor, went on to sell millions of units and took the world by storm. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Kirby Star Allies, and Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, among other games, came to the Nintendo Switch in 2018. And this year, 2019, brought us Yoshi’s Crafted World, Luigi’s Mansion 3, Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair, Pokemon Sword and Shield, and more. This is also the year that the Nintendo Switch Lite and Ring Fit Adventure made their debut.
Dark Horse is back with another beautiful hardcover book celebrating The Legend of Zelda. Entitled Creating a Champion, this oversized tome is the ultimate companion to the award-winning video game The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and includes material from both of its DLC packs. This book features nearly fifty pages of sketches and official illustrations from Takumi Wada, two-hundred and ninety-six pages of design artwork and commentary about the making of the game from the creators, a fifty-five-page historical section that divulges the history of Hyrule as it is known in-game, and interviews with key members of the development team, including Hidemaro Fujibayashi, Satoru Takizawa, Takumi Wada, and Eiji Aonuma.
Jason Michael Paul, the producer of The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses, is bringing this massively successful show to Philadelphia’s Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts on December 27. I’ve seen this show two times, and I look forward to seeing it again – it’s that good! Each time the music is updated to reflect new video games in the Zelda series or simply shaken up to offer something new for repeat attendees, such as myself. If you’ve never seen the show before, witnessing this performance in Verizon Hall at the Kimmel Center is the perfect way to do so. It’s a beautiful venue with wonderful acoustics, and the intimate environment will further immerse you in the spellbinding show that is The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses. In addition to picking up tickets to see The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses in Philadelphia on December 27, check out my interview below with Jason Michael Paul. We covered a lot of ground in this interview, including how this show came to be, Jason’s favorite Zelda video games, how he started off his musical career with Luciano Pavarotti at the Kimmel Center, and more. Enjoy!
The Legend of Zelda: Art & Artifacts, which is being released on February 21, contains over four-hundred pages of fully-realized illustrations from the entire thirty-year history of The Legend of Zelda, including artwork from the upcoming Nintendo Switch and Wii U release, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. This beautiful book includes rare promotional pieces, game box art, instruction booklet illustrations, official character illustrations, sprite art, interviews with the artists, and much more.
This week’s Nintendo Minute video provides a preview of The Legend of Zelda: Art and Artifacts book, which is being released February 21:
DK Publishing, the company that has created countless terrific pop culture books that I’ve reviewed, has just released Playing With Power: Nintendo NES Classics. This beautiful hardback book celebrates the history of the most iconic and influential video game system of all time, as well as the games that defined it. It’s a great companion piece to the newly released, yet hard-to-find, NES Classic Edition. Below is my full video review. Enjoy!
The Legend of Zelda is just that: legendary. Since the original game came out for the Nintendo Entertainment System in 1987, the series has grown by leaps and bounds. Sequels have been released for nearly every system Nintendo has launched and millions of copies have been sold. More importantly, millions of lives have been changed as a result of this iconic franchise. Nintendo is well aware of the love fans have for the series, and to celebrate its 25th anniversary, a full symphony orchestra is traveling the world to bring the music to the fans; it’s called The Legend of Zelda – Symphony of the Goddesses.
This four movement symphony, a first for a video game-themed concert, just took place in Philadelphia, at the Mann Center for the Performing Arts, and I was in attendance. It was a fantastic performance, conducted by Eímear Noone, that vividly brought to life the memorable music created by Nintendo composer and sound director Koji Kondo. The music was performed beautifully by the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and also featured the Philadelphia Singers Chorale.
Similar to Video Games Live, which I’ve also seen and highly recommend, the music was accompanied by dazzling video packages. This cinematic video presentation synced gameplay from various games in the franchise to the live music. For example, if a song from the end of a particular Zelda game was being played by the orchestra, then footage of that scene also appeared on the large screen above the stage. It made for a nostalgic experience that pleased the senses.
While there was an intermission, the concert clocked in at nearly three hours and it featured three encores. Needless to say, it was an excellent performance, and I’m very glad I attended. As of right now, additional performances are scheduled through the end of the year. If one is in your area, I highly recommend you check it out. You won’t be disappointed.