Why the 'Legend of Zelda' Registered with Me!
... And how Link became my hero...
When I was a kid, I received a copy of a game called The Legend of Zelda: A Link to The Past.
My experience with games up until that point was generally with ''shallow'' platformers (fun to play, but not much story or substance). As such, when I first turned on Link to The Past I was immediately struck by the dramatic and epic music of the opening, and then by the haunting introduction. I had always been a fan of imaginative fantasy movies growing up, and now it was as if I was transported into one! The puzzles, bizarre monsters, and resonating score all made me a fan. I also felt a strong connection with the hero Link.
Years later, my life was in a bit of upheaval. My mother was going through a divorce, and things in my home life were very unstable. As such, I went to live with my grandparents in a small country town (where I had no friends). I often felt lonely, and the small town so far from everything was isolating. During the summer, I went back to my mom's for a visit (I was excited to see my old friends)! However, I became sad to learn they had all gone away for the summer, just as I had come back. Therefore, I decided to settle into my old room.
Fortunately, I saw a copy of Ocarina of Time sitting up there. The new Zelda game, I thought! As I inspected the cover I felt a rush of excitement! I immediately threw it on and started to play. The opening sequence was just beautiful! Whenever I hear the opening theme to Ocarina it always takes me back to that moment!
All of the aspects that made me love Link To The Past were present in Ocarina, but were advanced or improved on! I fell deeply in love with that game, and felt an even stronger connection to Link. I perceived him as the silent but ever kind, compassionate, and courageous hero. He was humble and was the essence of good. He embodied all the attributes of what a true hero should be!
Furthermore, as a lonely boy, Link was the hero I wanted to believe in. In a sense, Link did become my real life hero, as he rescued a forlorn kid and made him feel elation again.
Additionally, Link's altruism inspired me to want to be a better person.
As I look back, that summer playing Ocarina was indeed joyous and fun. Zelda helped take my disheveled self and transported me back to a place of happiness.
As with the previous titles I mentioned, I was always thrilled to play the subsequent Zelda games as they came out. Similarly, I have very fond and vivid memories of playing these games. The vibrant and ever-lasting nature of these memories is an attestation of my love of the series, and how it resonated deeply with me.
The wonderful world of beauty, adventure, peril, and puzzles that these titles offered, impacted me deeply. They also showed me that games can be just as important as film or novels in terms of how they embed meaning into our lives.
I also loved sharing that passion. One summer, several years later I had met a new friend and he was telling me how much he loved the Final Fantasy series. Listening to his words gave me goosebumps, as I immediately chimed in... "I know exactly how you feel..." and thus began to express my love for Zelda. Had I not been exposed to the adventures of Link, I don't think I would have fully understood my friend's love for Final Fantasy. Therefore, I am also grateful for the series for not only making me feel passionate, but allowing me to understand and relate to the passions of others as well.
Music can often evoke a sense of nostalgia, or make us feel closer to the things we love—so naturally I have often just relaxed listening to the amazing soundtrack from these games.
The wave of sentimentality that such pieces bring is intense, and always makes me happy!
It all these reasons and more, why I love The Legend of Zelda series and Link, and why I am sure I always will!
Note: This article is dedicated to all the other passionate Legend of Zelda fans in the world, and all those who have been affected by the series! May your courage, wisdom, strength, (and happiness) never fade!