Pixie-esque Hylian Link is among the most exalted personalities in Nintendo’s intrinsically bizarre menagerie. Possibly subsidiary only to megastar Mario himself, Link certainly has a claim to gaming’s prestigious red carpet; albeit a step or two behind the Italian fatass. He’s still inundated with autograph requests, shrieking fans and demands for the signing of breasts/asses worldwide. (And that’s just the male devotees.) But how does one achieve such renown, while flamboyance-ing about the place in a manner akin to Orlando Bloom’s distinctly camp-looking Legolas rendition from Lord of the Rings?
The Legend of Zelda series, adventure game paragon since its 1986 inception, is one pertinent factor. Dungeon-purloining across Hyrule to accrue the requisite Ganondorf-banishing trinkets is the order of the day; and has garnered few rivals in the adventure with subtle puzzling nuances genre. Across its prolific history, the franchise’s timeline has become more convoluted than The Da Vinci Code crossed with an obscure German soap opera from the 80‘s where nobody knows what in the name of Satan’s fetid foreskin is happening. (There are outlandish tales of a master document at Nintendo HQ, deftly summarizing the befuddling issue. Whether this is actual irrefutable knowledge-fact remains unclear. From their perspective it may, conversely, be a case of “Who gives a gorilla’s nutsack? As long as the games continue to earn us shitloads of cash, they could depict a infant commando with a crossbow pursuing miscreants on the moon for all we care.") There are several Links, each seemingly destined (often aided by Zelda, the princess of the kingdom) to prevent Ganondorf’s malevolent machinations. After all, in his prospective tyrannical new world order, appalling ginger beards will be compulsory for all citizens. Especially women. And who the hell wants THAT?
The gameplay of the series is exemplary. Some of Link’s most lauded romps, A Link to the Past and Ocarina of Time, attest to this. The former is celebrated as the title that galvanized the franchise’s magical formula, and propelled our protagonist to the lofty status he holds today. The latter, arriving rather later on the N64, is regarded by many fans as the pinnacle of The Legend of Zelda, yet to be surpassed. Traversing the overworld’s verdant fields atop Epona, the sense of freedom afforded, the side quests, the boss encounters; all of this constitutes an electrifying experience. Hoarding an ever-increasing accumulation of weaponry and gadgets in magpie fashion (albeit a magpie with a rarefied penchant for shields, bows and butterfly nets. “Barry, you know you can scarcely move with that sword in your beak. Don’t be a hero, man. Put it down.”) and the accompanying branching freedom within the game world is quintessential Zelda; a hallmark of the hero and series and their burgeoning renown.
Link, I have to concede, doesn’t look the part of acclaimed hero with the grandeur of some. The buff-tastic physique of Marcus Fenix, for instance, is but a lunatic notion for a gaunt elf-boy. His contentious cel-shaded escapades in The Wind Waker and Phantom Hourglass (See 'Toon Link' in his various Smash Bros Brawl guises in this image from zeldawikia) are a case in point. Nevertheless, perhaps this also serves to ingratiate him with players. Along with his bravery-bastion, the Triforce of Courage, Link showcases the capabilities of the ordinary/extraordinary dichotomy. Tenuous, perhaps, but it’s a take I’ve always held. The onus is now upon Wii U to continue the Zelda saga in a way that befits its fine legacy.
After checking out some of the greatest fanart ever beheld my mortal squelchy eyeball-balls in honor of last year’s 25th anniversary milestone above, you can behold some further nostalgic splendor right here: