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  • A Viewers' Guide to CD-i Zelda Sign Language

    Jul 05 2015 10:34 PM | Nozdordomu in Satire

    “A Viewers’ Guide to CD-i Zelda Sign Language”

    Outsourcing has its downsides, believe it or not. Never mind the possibility (often certainty) that you’re exploiting foreign workers who can’t argue for their credit (mmmm). What if those foreign workers decide to include their own foreign customs in your product, without your approval and with you none the wiser? Something similar seems to have happened to Philips, the Dutch technology company, best known here for its forays into gaming consoles and Nintendo licenses.

    With the legal permission, if not complete approval, to create multiple games in the Legend of Zelda franchise, Philips pushed ahead with two games released on the same day in 1993: Link: the Faces of Evil and Zelda: the Wand of Gamelon. As an added bonus, and possibly a distraction from their old-fashioned side-scrolling gameplay, these were to be the first Zelda games with full-motion video cutscenes. Most of the scenes were the creation of four Russian animators flown into the US by Animation Magic, the game’s developer. This was apparently the first time that Russian animators worked in the US, which would’ve been difficult to do during the Cold War. (It wasn’t the last, either; the Russians animated more of the developer’s games, like I.M. Meen.)

    Although viewers can see the Russian influence in the blocky, surrealistic character designs, the actual animation is a bit trickier to place. One thing everybody seems to notic...

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