Viewing posts tagged The Legend of Zelda

Hyrule Haeresis 6

There was a child once long ago who went into the woods outside Kokiri Village. The child was looking for someone, and was very sad because all of their friends had gone away, and they thought that they didn't have any. As it came to be, these woods were enchanted, and it was said strange and mysterious things happened to those who travelled through them. Some of the village people thought these woods had been the dwelling-place of the Old Ones in the time no-one could remember anymore, and that their spirits and memories still haunted those same woods.

The child searched high and low, near and far, but couldn't find any trace of the person they were looking for. Then, the child found a cave inside a hill they had never explored before. Supposedly, this cave opened up into a gigantic hole, and the child fell in. That was the last anyone ever heard of them. Some say the child found the kingdom of the faeries who are thought to live inside that hill, and that it was those same Good People who raised that child, and that they remain inside that hill to this very day ...

Hyrule Haeresis 5

Patriarchy is built on epic time. Learned male history requires exhaustive documentation of political kingdoms and dynastic successions. The Chosen Warrior-Hero God-King must come of age, become anointed, take a throne and lead his people to victory in battle before retiring and passing his crown on to the next generation. Rise, fall and rise. In our language, we call this canon, and the canon of the aristocratic literate patriarchy stands in stark contrast to the cyclical deep time of the feminine and feminine understanding. This is, in fact, the true first war in the world, and its battle scars have played out across the visage of our ideaspace since the start of all time.

And so, deeply fraught and conflicted is The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. Like the Celtic mythology from which it draws its inspiration, the tune this Ocarina plays is a melancholy one, a lament for a world that was lost before history began. Its story opens as if a folk tale (perhaps a fairy tale). The narrator speaks in the voice of a storyteller relating events to an enraptured audience, presumably comprised of children. Ironically, or maybe inevitably, this is a story about having childhood ...

Hyrule Haeresis 4

Blasphemy, they would have said.

The story of handhelds is the secret story of the video game industry. Always overlooked in conversations about “bit eras” and “hardware cycles” and “console generations”, the handheld side of the medium has from the start been relegated to the kiddie table of the master narrative of history. This is in spite, or perhaps because, of the fact that until quite recently handhelds were the best selling consoles on the market, and even today the “casual gamer” epithet is applied almost exclusively to those who are in possession of smartphones and tablets (that is, roughly 100% of the populace).

It is perhaps not altogether difficult to see why: Accessibility was always going to be a sticking point for a culture fundamentally built around the exclusivity of privilege necessary to have the latest up-to-date technology at any given time, and handhelds are built to be accessible, using older, established kit in inventive new form factors to keep costs down and ergonomics up. And there's nothing gamers fear and despise more than low cost and ergonomic, for to them such things comprise the mark of the weak-willed and the infidel. So shunned was the Game Boy ...

Hyrule Haeresis 3

When Christian monks and missionaries first reached Ireland, Scotland and the Isle of Man, they brought their gods, language, writing and canon with them. And with these tools, they set about the process of assimilating the indigenous gods, culture, history and tradition they found there. One problem they had was what to do with the in-depth genealogies the locals in Ireland had that told tales of a series of invasions and resettlement of the island by successive groups of immigrants, some of which seemed to have a decidedly divine and magickal air about them. As this clearly did not mesh with what their own mythologies told them about the origins of humanity, they put these stories to the pen and retconned them as the supporting cast, ungods and demons of what they interpreted as the definitive Christian canon.

Although The Legend of Zelda is typically read as being largely based on Celtic mythology and mythological archetypes, there is actually a fair amount of Christian influence in the series, particularly in these first three games. Link's sword in Zelda no Densetsu and Zelda II: The Adventure of Link bears a very prominent cross, and in the first game he wields ...

Hyrule Haeresis 2

Video game sequels are a different beast than sequels in other mediums. In video games, a sequel is typically expected to improve upon its predecessor because video games are intensely technical. Since a game is thought of at least partly as a feat of software engineering, sequels are approached as a honing, refining and improvement of the original as much as they are a thematic and aesthetic continuation of them. In other words, we should think of video game sequels as new and improved models as much as the next chapter of a story, if not more so. On the other hand, the nature of a sequel demands in any medium of genre demands narrative escalation.
 
Zelda II: The Adventure of Link is a classic example of this duality. In an attempt to avoid repetition and falling into a rut, Shigeru Miiyamoto set out to create a game that was fundamentally different from Zelda no Densetsu and even brought together an entirely new development team in an attempt to push his designers creatively. From a mechanical standpoint, Zelda II: The Adventure of Link seems to be doing everything in its power to be as different as possible from Zelda ...

Hyrule Haeresis 1

“’Suppose that truth is a woman-And why not? Aren’t there reasons for suspecting that all philosophers, to the extent that they have been dogmatists, have not really understood women?’ There is thus a residue that philosophy has not known how to read, for which it has not been able to account. When matters become urgent or when truth is at stake, Nietzsche gives this residue a name: woman.”

-Beyond Good and Evil, Friedrich Nietzsche, as translated by Judith Norman, as cited by Avital Ronell in conversation with Anne Dufourmantelle in Fighting Theory

Zelda no Densetsu (lit. The Legend of Zelda) opens up with the declaration that this is a legend that has been “passed down from generation to generation”.

The Legend of Zelda has thus been, from the very beginning, something from the recesses of our shared memory. The secret history of Zelda is that she truthfully only exists at her purest in an unknowable primordial state lost long ago to the collective dreamtime. Even the “original” Legend of Zelda arrived in its present state shaped by the expectations and experiences of its previous incarnations. It is also, first and foremost, a fairy tale in the most classical ...

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