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Seeing, Playing (Sort of) Zelda in High-Definition

We didn't play it, but we moved it back and forth from a TV to a controller!

Nintendo video games will finally be displayed in high-definition sometime in 2012. Most of the prototypes shown by Nintendo, however, didn’t properly underscore what more palatable hardware could mean for Nintendo games and what third-parties now have access to.

Chase Mii and others were terrific examples of what Wii U’s controller is capable of, but the (mostly) non-playable demonstration of a Zelda HD was, well, Zelda HD.

As one would expect, Zelda HD looks pretty damn great. A Nintendo representative would not confirm whether this was actually a new Zelda game or not, only saying it was a high-definition sampling of a Zelda game molded after Twilight Princess.

The demo itself did not involve controlling Link and battling the towering spider, but it was a real-time, camera-adjustable demo that allowed seamless transition from viewing the game on a TV to the controller. In a very Apple-like fashion, it just works. Period. No pause, no jittering—the screen just moves places, as though that was a great thing games have been doing forever.

The difference in screen fidelity is apparent when you look closely, but at a glance, and for the imaginable situations where you’re playing it for short moments of time, it’s looking more than serviceable. The screen quality seems much better than what we’ve come to expect from the DS touch screen but not quite approaching PS Vita.

Link’s inventory appears on the touch screen when the game’s being played on a TV, a feature I’d expect most games to adopt as a simple way of incorporating the screen in some meaningful way. When the game switches to the controller, one would imagine it’s as simple as hitting start and swapping items the old fashioned way.

In short: Nintendo games are going to look great in HD, both on the TV and controller.

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