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One Metaphor Is Enough

I don’t understand the appeal of the toy/diorama/tilt-shift aesthetic for the Link’s Awakening remake. To me it’s an incorrect nesting of metaphor, similar to adding lens flares and related effects to video games.

Like, when you’re playing a game and it’s raining and some water droplets get rendered on the screen like it’s being filmed with a camera with a wet lens - unless you’re playing a game where the conceit actually is that you’re looking through a camera, this is immersion-breaking, not immersion-reinforcing. Like, I was driving around the city rocking out to the radio and looking for trouble, now I’m apparently… watching a video feed of that happening instead? I’m trying to pretend I’m actually in the world of the game - why shove this additional camera metaphor in the middle and distance me from that world?

With the toys - it’s been a couple of decades since I played with my Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles action figures, but the way I remember it, the fantasy wasn’t “Oh man, what if this molded plastic could move by itself?” It was “Oh man, what if the turtles had these crazy adventures I am making up?” The toys were a gateway, a jumping-off point for the imagination. They stood in for the turtles the way they looked and sounded in the cartoon.

When I played the original Link’s Awakening, it was the same thing. In my head, I was on an adventure on Koholint Island. I was getting to know its inhabitants, bravely exploring dangerous dungeons, and prevailing against monsters in combat. The low resolution monochrome graphics, the tinny chiptune music, it was all a gateway.

Updating the graphics to look like plastic toys makes no sense to me. (I didn’t much care for this approach in Disney Infinity either, though there they at least had the excuse of trying to make it look like your actual figures had come to life in a stylistically-consistent world.) Now the fantasy isn’t being on an adventure, it’s… playing with toys and imagining an adventure? It’s pretending to pretend? Again, why shove this additional metaphor in the middle and distance the player from the world?