TAKE THIS, IT’S DANGEROUS TO GO ALONE.
February 21st, 1986, Shigeru Miyamoto’s Legend of Zelda is released. It would, after Super Mario brothers, be considered one of the first modern classics and indeed would solidify an entire genre of game whilst also giving us iconic characters. This was before game creation had been fully industrialized, and it was not a foregone conclusion that the Zelda IP would be exploited for maximum shareholder profit. We didn’t know then whether there might be a repetition of this delectable formula combining exploration, combat, adventure, and dressing like a blocky Peter Pan.
July 11, 1993: Goof Troop.
Yeah, I was going to run through this entire review pretending that Goof Troop was the sequel to The Legend of Zelda because they play very similarly and it’s easy to rag on franchise games, but reading the Wikipedia page, which admittedly had some laughs (for example:)
also revealed that this game was designed by Shinji Mikami.
I’m not sure I’m alone in wanting to believe that sometimes in the dank puppy mills that are franchise game factories there are at times visionaries laboring away, cutting their teeth on grunt work material before being given their shot and moving on to contribute to games as a whole.
WELL GUESS WHAT? Here is one such guy. Shinji Mikami worked on no less than three Disney franchise projects (while his contemporaries were working away on some iteration of Street Fighter II) mind, pretty much tirelessly taking what he has to work with and short deadlines and probably very little in the way of production budget and making a game that, while I in no way want to play it, isn’t really horrible either. Given the constraints it’s probably pretty good.
Then what does this guy do? After having played a little game called Sweet Home on his NES and digging on George Romero films (long before Zombies were the household film geek name they are today), this man goes ahead and creates a little game called Biohazard aka Resident Evil. Say what you will about the series, Mr. Mikami worked his way through three possibly excruciating game design gigs and then went on to, if not spawn, certainly solidify the conventions of an entirely new genre.
Oh yeah, after Resident Evil 4 pretty much knocked it out of the park, he quit and went to Clover to oversee God Hand.