I’m not quite old enough to remember when the first The Legend of Zelda game was released, but I still have many fond memories of the series. The Legend of Zelda series was one of the first video games that really showed me how much adventure and story could be packed into one “little” game. No matter which game I played, there was always something new to explore, and I fell in love with the each game’s world and its characters.
Yesterday (February 21, 2021) marked the 35th anniversary of The Legend of Zelda franchise. Nintendo’s popular adventure series made its debut in 1986 on the Famicom in Japan, before coming to the United States a year later on the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). In celebration, I’ve collected a list of my favorite Zelda-related memories to share, in no particular order.
Fairy tales have told the hero-saves-the-princess story for about as long as fairy tales have existed. This plot was later incorporated into video games, with some of the earliest story-driven games requiring you, the player, to save the damsel in distress. This trope has appeared in dozens of video games since, but none more prominently than the Mario and Legend of Zelda franchises.
Back in the 8-bit days, both of these franchises revolutionized gaming with Super Mario Bros and The Legend of Zelda. Though vastly different in terms of genre and gameplay, both games tasked you with fighting the villain and rescuing the princess – Princess Peach in the case of Mario, and Princess Zelda in the case of Zelda.
The appearances of Peach and Zelda in these early games are classic examples of a Damsel in Distress – no real plot importance other than being a person to be rescued, and essentially helpless (though less so in Zelda’s case). Over time, however, Nintendo has subverted these tropes in their games, especially in each franchise’s most recent entries, Super Mario Odyssey and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Although the safety of these princesses is still the goal of your quest, these two ladies are far more than just damsels in distress.
A few months ago, I wrote a post titled “The ABCs of Writing.” Today, I’d like to give you a rundown of another one of my favorite things, The Legend of Zelda in a similar manner – for those of you unfamiliar with the video game franchise, think of this as a quick introduction to the games (no spoilers, I promise). If you’re a Zelda fan like me, I hope you’ll find this to be a fun and entertaining look at the elements that make our favorite games what they are.
The Legend of Zelda is a franchise that has been around since the beginning of video games. The first entry in the series featured a massive overworld like nothing the world had seen before, and since then, the land of Hyrule has just gotten bigger and better. The Zelda franchise has become my go-to inspiration anything involving worldbuilding, especially fantasy settings like my story for this year’s NaNoWriMo. No matter what game you’re playing, the Zelda series has some great examples of excellent worldbuilding. I’ve learned a lot from these games, and so today, I’d like to share that with you.
So what worldbuilding aspects does The Legend of Zelda do well?
Have you ever played a video game, watched a movie, or read a book that made you want to live in that world? In all stories, no matter what the medium is, the setting plays an important role. Because of that, we often find ourselves wanting to visit that world – myself included. I’ve experienced a lot of stories, and while setting isn’t always a prominent factor, the best storytellers know how to utilize this element to their advantage.
Today, I’d like to dedicate some time to my favorite fictional worlds. Not only would I love to visit these universes myself (well, if they weren’t so dangerous), but they’ve also influenced my own writing in a number of ways.
One of the often-overlooked aspects video games is its soundtrack. Like movies and TV shows, you often don’t notice the music in the background as you play your favorite games, but those tunes are just as vital to creating the game’s atmosphere as any other element. The beauty of soundtracks is that they aren’t in-your-face, and yet they can still affect your mood and thoughts during the game. After all, who can forget the intensity they felt as Tetris taunted them with its catchy tune?
Although I’ve always appreciated video game soundtracks, I started really listening to them a few months ago, since the (typical) lack of lyrics and fast-paced music helps me focus on homework, writing, and other things that require concentration. Plus, because they’re usually intended to be played for indefinite period of time, I can listen to them on repeat for as long as I want. In light of that, I’ve compiled a list of seven songs from video games that I love – perhaps you’ll find a new favorite as well!
We often remember how we first discovered the things we’re passionate about. It might be the book that got you to enjoy reading, the first camera you ever owned, or the movie that made you realize you wanted to be a film director. Though I remember may of those things, the ones that really stick out in my mind are the video games.
Not long ago, I realized my blog had been lacking in one of my favorite subjects – gaming. Sure, I talk about it here and there, but I’ve never really focused on it for a whole blog post (except perhaps Writing Lessons from Ace Attorney, but even that was more writing-focused than gaming-focused).
Growing up, gaming was never really a big deal in my family. I played a version of Pac-Man that plugged into the TV and enjoyed my fair share of computer games, but that was about it. Without these three games, I probably wouldn’t be the gamer I am today. Sure, I’d probably enjoy a few rounds of MarioKart or play the occasional game of bowling on Wii Sports, but nothing too intense. These games really changed my life for the better, and ever since I played them for the first time, they’ve opened the door to more geekery and gaming.