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Arzette, a love letter to the CD-i Zelda games, will also revive an awful controller

The Jewel of Faramore will recreate the painful magic of the '90s Zelda games for the Philips CD-i.

Seedy Eye Software / Limited Run Games

Arzette: The Jewel of Faramore is getting a controller worthy of its inspiration — for better or worse. The upcoming game, a spiritual successor to the infamous 1993 Zelda titles for the Philips CD-i, will launch with a limited edition controller that resembles one of the largely forgotten system’s original remotes.

Developer Seedy Eye Software (a homophone for “CD-i software”) says using the controller on “Classic Controls” mode will let you “play Arzette, as it might have played back in 1993.” That’s when the title’s inspirations — Link: The Faces of Evil and Zelda: The Wand of Gamelon — arrived for Philips’ (brief) stab at a game-changing home entertainment system. (A third title in the series, Zelda’s Adventure, launched in 1994 with a top-down view, and Philips discontinued the system four years later.)

One may wonder why a developer would want to pay homage to a pair of historical duds better known for their memed cutscenes and masochistic gameplay than, oh, fun. Earlier this month, creator Seth “Dopply” Fulkerson told Game Developer he saw “untapped potential” in the notorious titles.

“The limitations the games suffered thanks to the hardware, budget and time constraints became painfully obvious,” he said. “I found it very inspiring to see how much [director Dale DeSharone] and his team accomplished with so little. There is a handcrafted charm to the games. They are hand-animated, hand-drawn, with brilliant music, designed in a surprisingly non-linear way that encourages you to explore them.” He continued, “Though they have many, many flaws, I truly believe there is innate potential in the games. Making a new game in the same style, with improvements to the core gameplay, was an irresistible idea.”

The game brings back several artists from the Zelda CD-i games. These include artist Rob Dunlavey and voice actors Jeffrey Rath (Link) and Bonniejean Wilbur (Zelda).

Promotional image for gear promoting the upcoming game Arzette: The Jewel of Faramore.
Promotional image for gear promoting the upcoming game Arzette: The Jewel of Faramore. (Seedy Eye Software / Limited Run Games)

The “retro-inspired” controller will only work with Switch and PC. (The game will also support PS5 / PS4 and Xbox.) The remote looks nearly identical to Philips’ paddle controller, except for a couple of extra buttons. A fair warning that, given how the original remote played, the new version won’t likely make Arzette (or any other games) more playable or enjoyable — just more nostalgic.

Seedy Eye has partnered with Limited Run Games to distribute the controllers (and physical game copies). The two companies say they "worked hand-in-hand to craft the perfect physical goodies that pay tribute to Arzette and this oft-overlooked era in gaming.”

The controller will be available to pre-order starting February 2 at 10AM ET. (Pre-orders close on March 17.) The remote costs $35, will ship in a gray color and currently has an estimated November ship date. A pink variant will be exclusive to Arzette’s Collector’s Edition bundle. Arzette: The Jewel of Faramore arrives on February 14. You can watch its trailer below.