comScore Play NES Zelda With Breath of the Wild Gameplay | The Mary Sue
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Play Old School Zelda With Breath of the Wild Gameplay the Way God Intended

One of the most unusual things about the Nintendo Switch’s The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is its truly open world, wherein you can make a run for the final boss right from the beginning, though winning that battle is another matter. That freedom of exploration is a lot like the original NES Legend of Zelda, which wasn’t quite as guided and formulaic as later entries in the franchise, and a fan game has mashed the NES style together with Breath of the Wild gameplay for your enjoyment.

The inspiration for Breath of the NES, which you can download on itchio and play for yourself, comes from Nintendo’s own prototyping for Breath of the Wild. Their developers first built Breath of the Wild-like physics and chemistry engines into an NES-style, 2D Zelda prototype in order to experiment with what kind of gameplay could be found in the final version without having to build a full 3D game world to play around in—a kind of back-to-basics approach.

It certainly seems to have paid off in Breath of the Wild‘s runaway success, but that prototype still sounds like a lot of fun for nostalgic fans, though the odds of Nintendo ever releasing such a thing are practically nonexistent. That’s what makes developer Winter Drake’s fan version so appealing, even though there’s no guarantee that Nintendo will let it last for long. Drake built his version in Game Maker Studio in a few months, adding lighting effects and twists to the gameplay systems, but they’re not quite finished yet.

They plan to continue even if Nintendo comes after their intellectual property, telling Kotaku, “While I’m going to stay hardworking on Breath of the NES for as long as I can, if Nintendo asks me to stop using their IP, I do plan to continue development with my own original characters. I’m having way too much fun creating this world to just give up.” Knowing Nintendo, you should go ahead and grab the Zelda-fied version before it gets shut down, but we look forward to seeing what Drake does with it in the future, even if the graphics have to switch to a knockoff version.

(via Kotaku, image: screengrab, more on Nintendo’s prototype at Ars Technica)

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