Reflection: Why The Legend Of Zelda Is Important To Me

The Legend of Zelda is a series beloved by many. Every time there’s a new title that comes out, you can bet that almost everyone you know from the most hardcore of gamers to the most casual fans will be buying and playing the newest entry in the series. The Zelda cycle, as I like to call it, is always a long and excruciating wait. We wait four or five years before we even hear murmurs of the next mainline title in the series. That wait can be even longer sometimes, such as the excruciating six years for Tears of the Kingdom.

Thinking about the way time passes between each Zelda game release is astounding. When Breath of The Wild came out I was just starting college, and now with Tears of The Kingdom, I’ve graduated and own a house, and I’m almost 30 years old. The time and the gaps it brings are loud. For me, that silence is huge because the wait for the next Zelda game reminds me of my late father and his favorite video game series.

The in game map from the Nintendo 64 game The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.
The map of Hyrule in Ocarina of Time.

When my mom was pregnant with me she would watch my dad play The Legend of Zelda on the SNES and NES. He would play Zelda II: The Adventure of Link and A Link to The Past almost on repeat. These games were his, and he loved them. When I was old enough to play games at the young age of 4, I would begin to play the same games as he did. My dad and my older brother also played A Link to The Past together a lot, and I would watch them happily. The game’s secrets were passed down to both of us, and what was instilled in us two was a generational awe and love for not just Zelda but video games as a whole.

Eventually, Ocarina of Time came out, but my dad was too sick then. He was in and out of the hospital a lot then. I was five years old at the time, and my memories of this time are hazy, but what I do remember most is watching my brother play the golden cartridge of Ocarina of Time, and watching him play the fishing mini-game a ton. Sometimes he would go to the shark cage in the Lake Hylia Lakeside Laboratory and put on the metal boots so I would get scared.

The Lakeside Laboratory from Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time.
Lakeside Laboratory from Ocarina of Time.

Fast forward two more years and my dad passed away. I’m seven years old and in the first grade. Times were tough but at least I had Ocarina of Time. My favorite part of the game back then was the moment when you go to meet Darunia and you have to play him Saria’s Song to cheer him up, his dance would always make me laugh. I replayed Ocarina of Time so much back then just to see that moment, and just to be present in a space that felt safe.

This feeling has stayed with me for every release of a Zelda game that I can remember. My dad has been dead for a long time now, and I still struggle with missing him and not being able to talk with him. But whenever a new Zelda game comes out, there’s a connection I have with him. Something that transcends all words and somehow lunges through time to comfort me. Every Zelda game always leaves me with tears in my eyes, every Zelda’s Lullaby gives me goosebumps and every Hyrule Field theme reminds me of why I love video games. And that’s why The Legend of Zelda is so important to me.

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Michael Potter
Michael Potter
11 months ago

Imagine being 53 and being completely blown away by the original zelda… talk about a lifetime of waits!