You can’t please everyone with any tournament structure. No matter what you do, there are going to be unbalanced matchups, or people who absolutely cannot win the tournament.
A straight double-elimination, Personal Best-seeded tournament (such as used in the Zeldaone tournament) I think works very well once you get over 32 people. I think it gives the most people a genuine shot to win a game, while still giving the top runners a showdown at the end.
However for reasons I won’t go into (I’m not going to put words in people’s mouths), this is a tournament structure that is disliked by many of the top Zelda 2 runners. So, in trying to find a compromise structure, I outlined a World Cup of Zelda 2. Here’s how it works.
This assumes About 32-40 players. We take the players and break them up, completely randomly (though perhaps seeding the top 8 players), into 8 groups. Most of the groups would be named for the 7 towns, with the hardest group named for Death Mountain. Each group begins the tournament by playing a round robin. This means every player in the tournament gets to play 3 or 4 matches, guaranteed.
After the round robin, each group is ranked by number of wins, with ties broken by the sum of the player’s times in the group matches. The top two players from each group advance out of group play, and into the final tournament.
The final tournament of the top 16 players (seeded by sum of times in group play) would be a single elimination bracket to determine the final winner of the tournament.