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  • Jackie Spencer

The Magic of Pixels

Hey Everybody, welcome to Studio Kumiho’s first blog post! We thought it’d be a great idea to start chronicling our thoughts and processes as we work on our newest game! My name is Jackie and today I’ll be talking about a game that has inspired our imaginations and our current work in progress, Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past.

[Jimmy’s Note: Hi, I’m Jimmy, I’m the Lead Programmer and CEO of Studio Kumiho, sometimes I like to chime into these posts with extra notes, like so.]

To set the stage, I was an old school video game addict from almost the very beginning. Raised on a mix of Super Mario Bros, Tetris, and Bubble Bobble (check that out!), I was used to a start, middle, end. We all argued over who got to play the NES next and also, who got to be Luigi.

(Seriously, somebody had to be Luigi, any guesses?)

Enter the Super Nintendo. We were visiting our Aunt one day to visit her new kittens. There it was, this beautiful, mind blowing deliverer of pixelated dreams, the Super Nintendo! It was love at first sight, the graphics superb, and the games super playable, we were hooked.

After making a ton of excuses to see our Aunt, somebody caved and soon, a SNES graced our Grandmother’s home. She was the most popular Grandmother ever, I mean, was it even a contest? SNES and freshly baked cookies? We were there everyday.

[Jimmy’s Note: To make our Grandmother sound even cooler, she asked for the SNES on her own birthday to give to us.]

One of the games that came with the SNES was Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. It was magic, after years of rigid expectations and repetition, this world was open. I would spend days just wandering the world, wreaking havoc, breaking clay jars and teasing cuckoos.

[Jimmy’s Note: There was a comic where Greg cut his own hand off on accident while trimming his nails with the Master Sword, it was hilarious.]

This game was a huge influence, it made me realize that games didn’t have to be linear. You didn’t have to just go to the next level. If you wanted to just chill around Kakariko, it was cool. If you wanted to be less of a ‘goody-goody’ and be a little ‘chaotic neutral’ and attack cuckoos, that was cool too.

When I wasn’t playing this game, I was drawing it. I had comics about my alternate persona ‘Greg’ who just didn’t feel like participating in this rescue mission. He would go the opposite route for everything, answered no to any questions, and chased any cuckoo in his path.

Also, can I mention the fact that the game just kept going? You think you’re finally getting to the last battle, and surprise, you’re actually only half-way through, if that. The world was my oyster, I had what felt like an entire globe at my fingertips and it was intoxicating.

Special moments that stand out to me include the scene with the Master Sword, the way the mist drifts through the Lost Woods is beautiful. Who knew that pixels could do that? The way the sunlight dappled through the canopy still gives me chills to this day!

[Jimmy’s Note: Special moments for me include getting the Blue and Red mail, something about them makes Link seem more powerful and present, it was something I hadn’t quite experienced in a game before. Sure, in the first Legend of Zelda that happened as well, but this time it felt more substantial!

Another moment I loved was fighting Blind the Thief of Thieves' Town, where you had to bring the maiden into the light to reveal Blind, it was so unique and such an interesting puzzle, only told through context clues! This taught me that, as a designer, you don’t have to lay everything out to the player in such plain terms, you can leave things open to interpretation.]

What was your special moment from a past game? Tell us about it in the comments, we want to hear all about it!

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