The Legend of Zelda – A Complete Development History by Ishaan Sahdev

4/5 stars.
ebook, 159 pages.
Read from July 23, 2020 to Aug 2, 2020.

Most people who know me know that I love video games, what most don’t know is that the Legend of Zelda games are my favourite. It was Ocarina of Time that first got me hooked on video games when I was 13 and it is a game that I haven’t stopped playing since. Since I adore the series so much I follow a variety of fan pages on social media which allows me to get any news related to the series as well as interesting discussions and memes. It was on one of these pages that I found this book.

You can read a copy for yourself from this site: https://zelda.gamepedia.com/Development_of_The_Legend_of_Zelda

My understanding is that a student wrote this book for their thesis and due to all the copyright restrictions from Nintendo had to make the book free to read in order to share it.  Having said that, this book doesn’t read like a thesis and is accompanied by beautiful images and graphic design that highlights different aspects of Nintendo’s history and the Zelda games giving it a really enticing and professional look.

The book talks about the humble beginnings of Nintendo and the main people that helped shape the company it is today. It also goes over how it had to adapt to the changing game markets not only as technology changed but as its target markets changed, as the West and Japan desired different styles of games. The main directive of the book is the development of the Zelda games and how their story was created and how its game play developed over time and with technology. The book includes interviews, in-depth research and references to give a highly accurate timeline of the creation of the Zelda series, with each chapter dedicated to each of the major Zelda releases.

I found I was the most interested the Zelda games that I loved the most, obviously, but I found that the few games I wasn’t bothered about not as engaging which, is likely not the author’s fault. My favourite aspects of this book was learning how the Zelda series came to be, what inspired it, and especially about the people who have shaped and made it the loved series that it is. I would recommend this read to anyone who is interested in video games and has a love for Nintendo or the Zelda series.

The Psychology of Zelda by Anthony Bean

Can we talk about how gorgeous the cover art is for this book? Made me want to read this book even more.

4/5 stars.
ebook, 256 pages.
Read from March 12, 2019 to March 20, 2019.

Ocarina of Time was it for me, the magical game that got me hooked on gaming forever. It’s a game that I still play to this day and the reason I will never part with my trusty N64 console or my 3DS. I’ve gone on to play a large portion of the Legend of Zelda series since Ocarina of Time and these games have forever become a part of who I am. Each game has marked different moments in my life while also helping to keep my imagination alive and provide a safe space for me to relax. It’s a reliable world that I can always lose myself in no matter what’s going on. Many fans of the series feel the same so it’s no surprise that there would be interesting psychology behind this beloved series.

legend-zelda-breath-wild-gold
Breath of the Wild, Released March 2017

I saw this book being promoted on one of the Zelda fan pages I follow on Facebook and was immediately captivated by the cover art. It’s absolutely stunning. Having always wanted to dive into the psychology of this game and explore my own intense interests in the game, I made a frantic search and request for this book on Netgalley.

This book is a collection of essays by psychologists and similar professionals who also have a passion and academic interesting in video gaming. Each essay broaches a different topic in the game. From the analysis of Link’s hero archetype, the reason why Link never speaks a word, the role of the notorious Dark Link, the structure of the music in the game and how it affects gamers, and the changing role of Zelda over the years, to themes of grief and depression present in Majora’s Mask, this collaboration of essays touches every aspect of the game despite its short length.

The essays are quite academic in nature but I wasn’t expecting anything less, though it seems some readers were a bit put off by this. I think it would have been disappointing if the essays didn’t have enough factual references. I particularly enjoyed the section on Majora’s Mask and the different stages of grief. This one essay alone stands out and is worth getting this book for this essay alone. Majora’s Mask was and still is unique from the rest of the Zelda games for its approach to these darker themes and the fact that it is the only game that has been made as a direct sequel (Ocarina of Time). There are some repetitive facts in relation to Carl Jung as he is discussed in at least 2 or 3 different essays. There is also some repetition with the game quote selection used in the essays as well.

You don’t need to be a psychology major to appreciate this book as the analysis is laid out in a straight-forward and easy to understand manner. Overall this was a quality read and if you love Zelda and are interested in an academic analysis of the games and their themes this is a worthwhile little read.