I could never put into words what this video game series means to me. I fell in love with Ocarina of Time as a child; my father bought the game on a whim and played almost every evening (if he didn’t want to, my brother and I would cry until he did). It took him ages to complete simple tasks and months to defeat a dungeon. And yet there we were, every night, my brother and I beside my father cheering him on as he destroyed patches of grass, vases, and small foes. There was nothing more exciting than watching him ride Epona through Hyrule Field or more thrilling than watching Link dive from the top of the waterfall in Zora’s Domain. Every inch of the game astonished me, even when I was too terrified of the enemies to come out of my hiding spot behind the couch. How could a video game encompass so much, make me feel so much? I don’t know. But it still does. And it always will.
My dad wasn’t a gamer then and isn’t one now. OoT remains to be the only game he played fully (and perhaps the only reason he finished was at the request of his children); but, he tells me constantly that it was the only game he, or anyone else, ever needs to play. And he’s right. I could play OoT for the rest of my life and still cry at the opening scenes, still feel horrified at the Deku Tree’s death… What I wouldn’t give to play this game with fresh eyes, to explore this world ignorantly. Now the game, although entirely beautiful, seems predictable. My soul knows the movements and tricks. But the beautiful thing about Zelda? There isn’t only one game.
When Skyward Sword came out, I felt thrilled. Since then, I’ve started and quit, started and quit. But I’ve finally, years later, completed the game. I’ve begun my quest to play all of the Legend of Zelda games in order of the published timeline that came out in Hyrule Historia. I think a part of me kept abandoning Skyward Sword because I didn’t want it to be over, just like now I always want to play OoT for the first time again. I’m worried that one day I’ll run out of Zelda, and the story won’t be able to shock me and inspire me in the same way ever again. But finishing Skyward Sword was beautiful and triumphant. Perhaps half of it is nostalgia, but my love for this franchise is unparalleled. It’s a story of time and how goodness and love can transcend the most evil of foes- even time itself.
There’s legend and myth throughout that are written so strongly and beautifully that I find myself speaking to Hylia and the three Golden Goddesses (I can remember, as a child, feeling excitement for going to church and learning about how Din, Nayru, and Farore created the world). I connect more spiritually to the lore in Legend of Zelda than I do to anything I’ve learned in organized religion. A game transformed into faith- how sublime is that?
I find it so impressive that the creators of Zelda knew where the legend began- in the sky with the goddess Hylia and a demon who threatened her- and yet the creators waited until technology improved enough for the game to be utterly awe-inspiring via the design. And that it is. I felt holy playing this game because I was there, the first ever incarnation of Link and Zelda right in front of me. I was a witness to the beginning of it all- what a blessing. The game explains how and why reincarnations of Link, Zelda, and a source of evil (Demise) eternally exist, but better than anything, Skyward Sword introduces the greatest relationships I’ve seen in a video game yet: Zelda and Link are FINALLY shown as friends who honestly and purely love one another; Zelda and Impa share a bond that withstands the strain of time; and even Link and Fi (the guide to Link throughout the game) have a tremendous connection that ends in one of the most heartbreaking goodbyes I’ve ever seen. How lovely it is that although Fi departs, I’ll think of her (as will Link) every time I reach for the Master Sword, despite how many centuries have passed.
I’ve never been able to put into words exactly why I love Legend of Zelda so much, why I cry at the mere mention of it. But I suppose I’ve found some words that might help: I live for any kind of story that makes me question, doubt, enjoy, and, ultimately, worship my life.