According to the latest news about The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass, the eponymous hourglass keeps your hearts from draining while in a cursed underwater shrine. Link must go from island to island to find sand so he can keep the hourglass full. Basically, he is addicted to sand.
That sounds like an interesting gameplay mechanic, lending the game a sort of Fushigi no Dungeon-esque resource upkeep element (like keeping the light glowing in The Nightmare of Druaga.) However, that's not the issue for today's discussion.
We want to talk about the item as it relates to Zelda's history. In most Zelda games since the N64 one, there has been an item in the title that is central to the game's plot and/or gameplay-- the Ocarina of Time and the very similar Wind Waker, Majora's Mask, Four Swords, the Minish Cap, and now the Phantom Hourglass. Do you think basing the game (and its title) around a single item is a neat storytelling convention, or lazy formulaic design? We are declaring this a Safe Zelda Bashing Zone. Don't be afraid to say something negative about Zelda! Here, we'll start: the first one didn't even have a subtitle, and it's still the best one.
[News item via NeoGAF]