Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Gaming Archaeologist: Revisiting The Legend of Zelda

A look at The Legend of Zelda with fresh eyes

[originally published in geeklegacy.com]

Most of us are familiar with The Legend of Zelda franchise and its legacy. Miyamoto-San, ever the game genius, did not disappoint with this brand, and nor does it fade in comparison with his other inventions, like Mario Bros. However, let’s take a sobering step back to view the games from the perspective of a newbie.
When we first encounter the character and protagonist, Link, we get the impression that he’s some sort of elf or lawn gnome. Some people may at first consider him a human with elf clothing, but a closer look will show that he has pointy ears, thus leading most to conclude that he is an elf.
Fairy Drawing
Later we learn that he’s actually a Hylean, a citizen of Hyrule. We notice that all Hyleans have pointy ears, and so we think that Hyrule is a world of elves. Separating us further from doubting this hypothesis we realize that the game involves fairies, and all of a sudden we believe that the game must be about some sort of Irish fairy tale, complete with elves, fairies and strange creatures.
At first we are not too impressed with Santa’s helper, or walking lawn gnome, but when we get a shield and a huge sword, our eyes light up with excitement. It’s action time! And this puny, skinny elf is gonna kick some…well actually he can’t kick…but nonetheless now the game begins!
Princess Zelda
We gotta rescue a Princess by the name of…you guessed it…Zelda. You wonder why your protagonist does not share the spotlight of that royal, tea-drinking, Princess Toadstool look-a-like. You realize that the game has very little to do with a legend, or with Zelda, but that you, the unappreciated protagonist whose name can’t make it to the main title, must do all the work.
Moblin Drawing
You walk by the woods and are attacked by dogs that walk on their hind legs, wear armor, and hold spears, in other words, Moblins. You pass by a river only to be shot with a ball of fire from the mouth of the monster from the dark lagoon, I mean, a Zora. You pass through a cave and are suddenly ambushed by a bunch of bats… actually, they’re called keese.
Once you make peace with the fact that, for some strange and mystical reason everything in your path wants to kill you, you then go through the temples, or dungeons, whatever you want to call them, and solve puzzles, retrieve items, and fight the boss.
Once you’re done with all of that, you happily head over to not just any mountain, but Death Mountain, to fight the final boss and save Princess Zelda. The final boss, Ganon, turns out to be an oversized blue pig! I’m not kidding, that’s how he looks like! He has the power of invisibility and to attacks you with strange projectiles. Once you’re through with him, you save Princess Zelda, look back at your hard fought adventure, and bring peace to the land of Hyrule once and for all. Actually, uh, yeah let’s just say that. Once and for all.
Undoubtedly, this game is as exciting as it is strange, as fun as it is mystical, and as thrilling as it is…weird. I know most of us excuse the silliness of classic games because they are just so cool and awesome otherwise, but if we look and revisit them with the eyes of a beginner, we can have a few laughs at the cute absurdities that they contain
You can read more from Carlos at hanabuk.com, or follow him on Twitter at @carlosjalpense as well as follow his YouTube channel, lubicuslatinae.  He can be emailed at carlos@latinogamer.com

About the Author Carlos is the archeologist of Latino Gamer, looking at the oldies but goodies and making sure that their memory remains. A Graduate student at CSULA, Carlos has a BA in English and lives in Maywood (the little city that thinks it's big). He plays guitar, writes for fun, and overall loves to look at the bigger picture of things.

Carlos es el arqueólogo de Latino Gamer. Se enfoca en los videojuegos de los tiempos viejos pero divertidos para asegurar que la memoria de los clásicos permanezca. Es estudiante de posgrado en CSULA, y tiene una licenciatura en Inglés. Vive en Maywood (la pequeña ciudad que se cree que es grande). Toca la guitarra, escribe para la diversión, y en general le encanta contemplar la vida.