Rupees are everywhere in the world of Hyrule. You can find them in the grass , by smashing
up some pots, and many other places hidden across the world. However, for those of you who have played
a few Zelda games, you might have run into one common issue – having tons of rupes, but
nothing to spend them on. Of course these games all have their fair
share of shops, but most of their inventories consist of consumable items that can be easily
obtained for free elsewhere – while the selection of useful and exclusive items a player can
spend their money on is usually quite limited. A currency only holds value when the exchange
of it can properly benefit the buyer – but if there is nothing useful to spend your money
on, then where is the value? This is why I want to analyze the currency
systems used across the Zelda games to figure out which games fall short in this area, and
how they could of been improved. In Ocarina of Time, you start the game off
with one simple task – to find yourself a Sword and a Shield to exit the Kokiri forest. After rummaging around the town a bit, you
may stumble across the sword by entering a hidden crawl space – but the shield can actually
be found in the town shop for a price of 40 rupees. And in order to acquire this amount, the player
must keenly search the entirety of the town, through the various patches of tall grass,
reward chests, and hidden areas in order to get the amount required. It’s the games way of teaching the player
early on that rupees are critical to the players success, and the more that they take the time
out to explore, the better. And for the rest of the beginning segments
of this game, I would have to say that the currency system works rather well. Items that can be bought soon afterwards such
as the Hylian Shield and the magic beans can be very useful in the players quest – and
if the player spends enough time collecting rupees before hand, they can obtain these
items as soon as they are available. However, things all change when Link turns
into an adult. You still get rupees just as frequent, if
not more frequequent then when you were a child, but the problem is that there is practically
nothing of importance to buy. In fact, there are only a total of 12 important
items for sale in the entirety of Ocarina of Time that are vital towards a 100% run
of this game – The Deku Shield, which is 40 rupees, the Hylian shield, which is 80, and
10 magic beans, which comes to a total of 550 rupees. If you add the costs of all of those up, there
is only 670 rupees worth of important items that can be bought in the game – on top of
maybe a few hundred more the player might blow on the minigames – which is an extremely
low amount considering that the player will on average pick up thousands of rupees across
a single playthrough of this game. This practically makes rupees irrelevant throughout
the middle and late segments of the game – as the player will always obtain more rupees
then they actually need without even deliberately looking for them – which completely eliminates
the satisfaction of collecting them. Oh, yeah – and I completely forgot to mention
the wallet caps!! The idea of having a maximum wallet size in
a game is to encourage the player to constantly spend their money rather than hoarding it
– but when the game barely has any important items to buy to begin with, then there’s a
good chance that you will be spending the majority of your playthrough with a maxed
out wallet – which reduces the incentive of picking up a rupee to an absolute zero – A
problem that Ocarina of Time is all too famous for. Fortunately, future games would improve slightly
from the system in Ocarina of Time, but most of the flaws were still apparent. In games like Majora’s Mask through Twilight
Princess, there still are only a few important items for sale, but at least those games were
a little more generous when it came to wallet caps. Majora’s Mask had a cool system where you
could actually bank up the rupees in your wallet, not only to store them for safe keeping,
but also to unlock bigger wallets as savings rewards. However, the majority of rupee spending in
games like Wind Waker and Twilight princess didnt come from various smaller items that
can be bought throughout, but rather, from huge late game purchases that would sponge
up your bank account. In the Wind Waker, most of the rupee spending
takes place during the Triforce Quest near the end of the game
and in Twilight Princess, most of your spending takes place across 2 “donation style”
side quests that give you heart pieces and unlock one of the better items
in the game – the magic armor. I guess this is slightly better then just
letting the rupees go to waste like in Ocarina of Time, but it would have been better if
there were several more smaller, mid game items to purchase to help balance it out. Having a few expensive items thrown into the
mix doesn’t really fix Zelda’s currency problem – but more so just covers it up. Fortunately, the currency system in the next
3D zelda game, Skyward Sword, would undergo massive improvements to become the most balanced
and consistent one of that time. For starters, there are actually TONS of things
to spend your rupees on in this game – like shields, pouches, stat altering metals, and
gear upgrades that all make collecting rupees worth your while. Your base wallet size is rather small, but
you are given tons of opportunities to upgrade upon it through side quest rewards and normal
payment – so you don’t have to worry about filling up this way. Also, the prices for the late game items aren’t
ridiculously expensive like they were in the past games – with the most expensive one only
being a mere 1600 rupees – which is actually really good considering that the max wallet
size is 9900. This currency system works really well because
a player who actually takes the time out to explore the land to find extra rupees will
be rewarded passionately with great items that can significantly help them out on their
endeavours. This all leaves us with the most recent 3d
Zelda game – Breath of the Wild. Although it is a little hard to compare this
game to the rest due to how the openworld format changes things. I can still admit that the currency system
in this game works great! There are tons of great armors and upgrades
that can be purchased from all across Hyrule – and many different opportunities for the
player to afford them. A lot of the smaller consumable items for
purchase such as bugs, materials, and arrows are actually worth your money in this game
– as buying them out removes the tedium of finding and collecting them from the world
yourself. The game even has a secondary currency called
“Mon” which can only be used exclusively at secret shops scattered across hyrule. Extra wallets and Wallet caps are also no
longer a thing in this game – but I honestly think that is for the best, as a monetary
restriction in a non restrictive game like Breath of the wild wouldn’t honestly clash
very well. But with all of this said, what exactly is
the point that I’m trying to make here? If we look back on the analysis of all 6 of
the currency systems, we can see that each one gets progressively better and better. Majora’s Mask improved on Ocarina of Times
system by having more generous wallet sizes and a banking system so your collected rupees
wouldn’t just go to waste – Wind Waker and Twilight Princess made use of the larger wallet
sizes by having high tier purchases to spend your rupees on – Skyward Sword corrected the
system by adding a wide variety of items that were always available for purchase – and Breath
of the Wild just had its own system that was different then Skyward Sword, but just as
effective. However, just because each game has been getting
a better and better currency system with each release does not nessisarily mean that we
can exactly trust this pattern for future games. Only one out of the 5 classic 3D zelda games
had a satisfactory enough currency system – and despite all 4 of the other games getting
remastered versions during or after Skyward Swords development, none of those currency
systems really underwent any significant enough improvements. Sure, remakes like Twilight Princess HD got
the Colossal wallet added in – which allows the player to hold a whopping 9,999 rupees,
but what good is that if there were no extra items added into to the game to spend the
extra rupees on? This is why I am really hoping that the future
Zelda games don’t suffer from the same economic issues as the previous ones – as these currency
problems are one of the few minor downfalls of an otherwise fantastic series. But what do you guys think about this issue? Did you also have a problem with the currency
system of these older games, or was it not that much of a big deal? Feel free to let me know down in the comments
below. Also, while we are on the subject of rupees,
my channel now has a merch shop set up – so feel free to spend YOUR rupees to buy some
exclusive, Croton gear – the link for that can be found in the description below. Also, a huge shoutout to my amazing patrons
and youtube members who help support the channel – if you would like to help me out as well,
all of the information will be down in the description below. Anyways, thank you all so much for watching,
and I’ll see ya guys in the next one!!