"Metroidvania." That's the term slapped on 2D games with a common mechanic of needed items and equipment in order to progress through the game's relatively open world.
The term comes from the confluence of Metroid and Castlevania, NES games that made this mechanic popular.
But, is that term accurate?
Castlevania producer Koji Igarashi gave a talk at GDC last week, and Joystiq was on hand to record some of his statements.
It turns out that Metroid had very little to do with Igarashi's inspiration for the exploration mechanics in Castlevania. Instead, it was Zelda.
"We really wanted to extend the life of the game…and the one game that popped up in our heads was Legend of Zelda, an exploration-filled action game. Pretty much our entire team, including myself, were huge fans of the game, and we wanted to make something very similar. So now you know the origin of inspiration actually wasn't Metroid."
Igarashi isn't upset that the Metroidvania term doesn't match his team's original notions, though.
"I like the name and I respect it…and I like the meaning behind it. It fits very well, so I'm actually kind of honored that Metroid, the name, is attached to Castlevania, and that it morphed into this one word, so I like it very much."
So, there you have it. We throw the Metroidvania term around constantly these days, but it's interesting to hear one of the term's forefathers speak out on its existence.
Do you like the way Zeldavania sounds? I'm not so sure I do.