Is The Legend of Zelda a Literary Work?

AsaFebruary 17th, 2014 by Asa

Zelda book coverWhen someone, most likely your English professor, asks you to give an example of a literary work, what do you tell them? Do you respond with any of Shakespeare’s masterpieces? Do you say that any fictional, written work can be defined as “literature”? While the latter definition gives us a good place to start, what defines literature, especially in this day and age, is not so black and white. Hit the jump to see why I include not only Zelda, but also video games as a whole, in my definition of literature!

A few weeks ago, the question of “What is literature?” was asked in my Hispanic Literature class. I was hesitant to give my input, but after three or four people said some variation of the same thing (literature being any fictional, written work) I raised my hand and said that I didn’t think literature necessarily had to be anything written, rather, a literary work could be anything that spoke words that were far greater than itself to he who heard them. I went as far as to say that this meant that literature could, in fact, include films and even video games.

While my professor did not shoot me down, he said that, while my definition captured the essence of what was literature, my examples of movies and video games being included were a bit extreme. To an extent, I agreed with him, as I simply was trying to make a point, but the more I thought about my answer, the more I was beginning to believe my own words. As the class period drew to a close, he assigned a paper with the prompt, “Is The Communist Manifesto literature?” except through the eyes of literary theorist, Terry Eagleton.

Naturally, as any college student would do, I skimmed through the pages of Eagleton’s book, Literary Theory: An Introduction, to see if he had given a clear-cut definition to “literature,” so that I could write my paper simply on a yes-or-no basis. Unfortunately, that was not the case, but reading his book was definitely not unenjoyable, as it gave me new insight into what truly classified a work as literary. According to Eagleton, literature cannot be so easily defined by what is fact or fiction, but rather how the words are used as a tool to construct artistic phrases, sentences, paragraphs and so on that utilizes its words in a manner that “draws attention to itself, flaunts its material being.” Whenever these words become “artistic,” there is no longer delineation between fact and fiction, as the words are presented so masterfully that the truth does not matter, because the writing creates a reality. For example, I could tell you that the sky is blue. This is a fact, and it simply is just that. It does not speak to make itself real, or rather it is just there. However, if I had written:

“As the sun reawakened from its rest beneath the mountains, he illuminated the sky and gave camouflage to his sister’s, the moon’s, glowing stars. No longer was this canvas speckled with white and enveloped in a hue as black as pitch, no, but rather one that complimented the sun’s complexion, though opposed him all at once. The day’s tone calmed that of the sun, who was burning and angry, made him neutral, cool, comfortable.”

blue skyIn these three sentences, all I did was say that the sky was blue, but I gave the sky and its colors its own personalities, and I made it “[draw] attention to itself.” But what does any of this mean for Zelda? All I’ve been talking about is how to define and make literature, but believe me, it is important. If I haven’t lost you yet, let’s continue.

So, what is it that truly makes Zelda literary? Is it the story of each game? Is it their style of writing, perhaps? Maybe it’s the world that each game creates? We know they do not exist, but we cannot help but believe the rolling hills of Hyrule Field, the flowing tide of Koholint, or the scattered islands in the sky and Skyloft, that these worlds are truly real, even for just a moment. No longer is, say, Twilight Princess and the land contained on the disc a world of fiction, but rather a foreign country that you have yet to explore. This is what is so charming about the Zelda franchise, and why it is so different from many others, in my opinion. Any Zelda game, be it your favorite or even least favorite, has the power to consume your attention unlike any other form of media, including classic literature, movies, and video games. Link, our silent protagonist, was given his name by Miyamoto for precisely that purpose. He wanted the player to identify him or herself with Link, and in turn become the very hero that was saving the world from certain destruction and chaos. And honestly, I believe that is why The Legend of Zelda deserves the right to be included in literary discussion above all else. Revisiting Eagleton’s text reveals that he believes that literature should not be an objectified term, but should be instead classified as, “any kind of writing which for some reason or another somebody values highly.” Because we, as fellow Zelda players, fill the boots of the hero, our adventures are far more of a treasure to us. As Eagleton put it, we value these experiences highly. They are beloved memories, their words, actions, and worlds blur the line between fiction and reality, romanticizing all that we experience every day so that we may truly believe that we are part of a grand journey every time the iconic Zelda logo fades onto the screen. For that, it is inarguable, for at least those who believe it to be so, that The Legend of Zelda is anything but a literary masterpiece.

Much like how the definition of art has drastically evolved over the years, so has that of literature and what lies beneath its canopy. I cannot speak for everyone, but I honestly believe that The Legend of Zelda is, in fact, literature. Its words have spoken louder than any Shakespearian play, but that only concerns me. I cannot say for sure that everyone who reads this believes what I believe, but how anyone defines any work as literary or not is entirely up to them. “Literature” has become a subjective definition, one that any person can define any work that speaks to them on a far deeper level as literature. The Legend of Zelda has been far more than just a game for the vast majority of my life, since Ocarina of Time was released in 1998, and for that, the series as a whole deserves more than to just be considered a video game franchise, but should be revered for years to come as one of the most influential pieces of art in the field of literature.

What do you think? Can video games, let alone Zelda, be considered literary? What types of games do you think are literature? Let us know in the comments below!

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  • Ravio

    This is a great example of why I love The Legend of Zelda!

  • NightmareXIV

    If games are literature Zelda is special. Zelda is a game I can connect to I take those experiences, and to me they become just as valuable as real life encounters.

  • http://gamextc.us/ XTC

    To be literature is very subjective in essence. Many philosophies exist on what is and isn’t literature. I see the point that you’re making about how Zelda and video games can be classified as literature and understand the logic that lets you draw that conclusion. A video game is not classified as prose or poetry classically.

    I like the way you presented that argument.

  • StationaryBomb

    If you look at it correctly, anything is a literary work :D take that you crummy 9th grade English teacher! Giving me a “C” its your fault you can’t teach kids. No seriously she was so off topic and the trouble makers always got away with anything.

    If you think outside of the box, Zelda is kind of based off of literature say take different religious stories, one hero that can save everyone, Noah’s Ark in the Wind Waker, those are just a couple of examples and not all Zelda games are exactly based off of religious stories.

    • UltimateTankOP

      Are you sure anything is literary work? I’m reluctant to say that Crazybus is a work of literature…

      • StationaryBomb

        Okay there are some exceptions XD

      • Essence Of The Triforce

        ‘Kay, just make sure you take LOTS of Holy Water!

      • StationaryBomb

        Don’t worry only 111 until your lucky again!

  • Krista Culver

    I personally wouldn’t consider The Legend of Zelda literary, but legendary. If it is to be considered fiction, I would consider it commercial fiction. Commercial fiction is basically different from literary fiction in style, genre, and the way the message is told. Commercial is usually easier to understand because it is written for many audiences, whereas, a literary writer might not care whether or not a certain person might understand as long as he or she keeps the art and his or her message intact.

    When I say genre, I mean a LOT needs to happen in the plot. Sure, Zelda is rescue the princess save the world, doesn’t seem like a lot, but it is. It’s huge, anyway. And that’s all right, because it is still a correct way of going about sending out a message. With commercial fiction, the goal is for the reader to be entertained. When the writer sits down, they think, “What can we do to please the audience?” (And of course, learning something along the way is a plus. And no, not all commercial fiction follows this form.) In commercial fiction, the protagonist is also likeable, in literary, the protagonist can have so many flaws you hate him or her. (Although, he or she does feel real and the story is worth reading more.)

    In commercial fiction, the story is told a tad differently than literary. A meaningful message can still be told, but it is told through plot and character. (Literary has the tendency to show this through other means.) Commercial fiction makes the message easier to discover so that everyone can understand. The commercial fiction author will choose a world to tell a story. The literary fiction author will choose the narrators/person.

    Of course, the two can blend in all sorts of ways. So, if Zelda is literary to you, then it is.

    • VladNorris

      The problem with that is that commercial fiction more than anything pushes ideologies to what is convenient towards the market, which usually aren’t deep messages at all.

      • Krista Culver

        That’s not necessarily true. One of the biggest myths is that commercial fiction is strictly for money. Some people use the ways of commercial fiction to capture the audience for deep meanings. But, of course, quite a lot of commercial fiction is the way you say. It depends on the authors intentions.

        • VladNorris

          I know, that’s why I made the comment.
          Non-literary works normally gives people what they WANT, whereas literary express something the author thinks they NEED.
          Your very example says so.
          “In commercial fiction, the protagonist is also likeable, in literary, the protagonist can have so many flaws you hate him or her. (Although, the character does feel real and the story is worth reading more.)”

          Let’s compare a commercial work with it’s literary counterpart about a character that is lovable in one and hatable in another: the two versions of Phoebus and Claude Frollo, ones of the original “Notre Dame de Paris” and the others of Disney’s “The Hunchback of Notre Dame”
          In the animated version, Phoebus is a good guy: nice compassionate, overall a likable character, in order to change the story to aim to a happy ending. Frollo on the other hand is overly satanized: He tries to justify his ways but does inhuman things without remorse. He ever tries to murder a baby. All this, again, in order to aim to a happy ending(with a tragedy catalizer converted to a good guy, you can have a directly antagonizing part all must fight against).
          Compared to the Original work by Victor Hugo, to put it bluntly, all of that is BS. Yup, bullshit.
          Not only is Phoebus an interested character with dark, DARK intentions regarding Esmeralda, but Frollo is much more of a tragic figure. Yet both are BETTER than the toned down counterparts. Why? BECAUSE THEY AREN’T HARSHLY PORTRAYED FOR PLEASURE. There’s a reason why dark and hatable characters exist in literature, they normally try to convey a message you just can’t as that willy nilly happy ending version. Life is harsh, life hurts, life can be as dark as the corner of the Cathedral of Notre Dame. and why this doesn’t mean it’s always going to be that bad, it is necessary to show that side so people can learn from it. There’s a lot lost in the transition of this Victor Hugo book to the theaters, and not only in Disney’s version: a lot ignore the importance of architecture in the story, which tries to emphasize the importance of architecture in the history of french society. I know commercial media can still convey important messages, but there’s a reason why literature is so important to human culture.

          • Krista Culver

            Great example, I definitely couldn’t have said it better.

    • LordSlayaton

      I wouldn’t say Zelda is commercial fiction, as it isn’t geared towards large audiences. It’s a series that requires an intelligent and deep thinking reader, which isn’t one of the larger audiences.

  • Steven Montalto

    Being that the definition is subject to interpretation, I don’t see why Zelda couldn’t be considered literature, and I like the author’s argument in support of that conclusion. One thing that I find to be true, even for those who would oppose the consideration of The Legend of Zelda as literature, is the fact that Zelda is art. I believe the combination of visuals, music, and storyline makes many video games, especially The Legend of Zelda, a very unique form of art.

    • VladNorris

      The problem with that is that you don’t define what is art and what is not. Even if the concept is more abstract than an LSD trip, there’s people who determine what’s art and what isn’t. For many, Zelda banalizes a lot of these aspects.

      • Steven Montalto

        I say art is any expression of idea or emotion, and as you said, the concept is very abstract. Of course, there are some individuals who would argue that art is limited to, perhaps, the more traditional art forms (i.e. drawing and painting and sculpture), however nowadays, I feel that most people have opened up to the different types of works that exist and can consider most pieces “art.” For instance, during my experience in several art classes, the instructors always had an open mind to what could be considered art and, if asked for one, gave a definition similar to mine. Zelda is able to express the idea of adventure or exploration and can evoke many emotions in the player; that is why I wouldn’t hesitate to call Zelda art.

        • VladNorris

          I’m not saying art ins’t open, I’m saying it’s not stupid. Do you know why there is still criteria in what can you consider art or literature? To keep a limit and a standard. If we lose that, there will be a point where an immature brat could draw a penis on miiverse to troll other people and call that art.
          Restrictions on what is and not art(or high-art if you prefer) exist to avoid decadence of itself. The standards vary, true, but certain things must be kept, or else we’re going to lose even the purpose of art existing.

          • Steven Montalto

            Indeed, there must be a standard, and in the case of something like your example of some troll’s scribble, I’d say it doesn’t meet that standard due to the fact that it doesn’t express some clear concept or feeling. Additionally, I’d say art must be able to be appreciated for it’s display of emotion or beauty. That could not be done in a case like you spoke of because a “composition” like that was created with the intention of messing with others; although it may stir up some feeling, say anger, in an individual, it fails to capture that in the drawing itself. A video game, like Zelda, is created with the intention of conveying emotions to the player more directly (for example, a feeling of fear or dispair in Ikana Canyon from MM using visuals and audio readily recieved as “creepy”) and engaging him/her. This is why I would say Zelda meets the accepted standard of art just fine.

    • TheMightyDekuWarrior

      I see all video games (Well, most of them) as art. It requires a very artistically talented person to make games with such detail. And I like detail.

    • Hero of Scotland

      Literature? Yes. Good literature? Eeh…
      I mean, when you get down to it, it’s a typical damsel in distress storyline.

  • Setras

    I don’t know if I’d necessarily consider Zelda “literature” per se, but something else to consider; the first “literature” in existence was mythology. Mythological stories, while considered very real to those who told them, were nonetheless very much like ancient fanfic, with people (either accidentally or otherwise) changing details as time went on, examining and re-examining certain facets, making connections between different myths, reinterpreting their favorite characters and aspects, etc. The Zelda games, particularly with the release of the timeline and its construction thereof, are very much like modern mythology.

  • K2L

    Sorry, but books, TV, music and video games are all different media, different formats. In all of them you can have great stories, but they must be narrated accordingly to the format of the medium. Would you narrate the story of a 50-hour video game in a 2-hour film? not without making some major overhauls and sacrifices to properly adapt the content from a medium to another. The reason why most video game movies suck as well as why almost none of the licensed games are good, is because there are things you won’t be able to adapt to a different medium no matter what you do.

    So no, Zelda is not literature at all. It’s a video game series. Anyone who believes it is being delusional.

    • UltimateTankOP

      Books and plays are different forms of media-does that mean Shakespeare’s plays aren’t literature? Or are they literature, and books aren’t? What even is literature? Why is everything so confusing?!

      • K2L

        “Literature is a term that does not have a universally accepted definition, but which has variably included all written work; writing that possesses literary merit; and language that foregrounds literariness, as opposed to ordinary language. Etymologically the term derives from Latin literatura/litteratura “writing formed with letters”, although some definitions include spoken or sung texts. Literature can be classified according to whether it is fiction or non-fiction, and whether it is poetry or prose; it can be further distinguished according to major forms such as the novel, short story or drama; and works are often categorised according to historical periods, or according to their adherence to certain aesthetic features or expectations (genre).”

        Definition on Wikipedia.

        • UltimateTankOP

          Wikipedia, eh? You’re really good at research.

          • K2L

            And you’re really good at sarcasm.

            Simply put, a work that is presented in a medium belongs to that medium. Nothing more, nothing less. You can have adaptations to other media, of course, but the original source of the work cannot by itself be considered to be of a genre that it didn’t originate from. And Zelda is no exception. This is why I don’t like games that pretend to be movies, owing most of its presentation to the cutscenes or dialogues.

          • YoshiFan101

            Wikipedia is a pretty good resource

    • Hero_of_Legacy

      I think it is a bit harsh to call everyone else delusional, people are entitled to their own beliefs, you can agree to disagree, but you shouldn’t shoot them down because they think differently from you, that’s how wars get started.
      About the topic while you can’t just switch a story to another format without losing something, if not everything, does that really mean it is not literature? Take Lord of the Rings for example, quite a lot was lost in the making of the movie, but does that mean the core essence that makes Lord of the Rings just that, does it cease to exist? Also saying if you change Zelda to a movie, the idea that it might not work, even if you can’t translate it properly, that doesn’t change what Zelda is. Not everything can work in different formats, a story rife with the thoughts of a character could make a horrible play, but a great book.Zelda is a story, an adventure, a tale of good versus evil, a coming of age. Do you not find all these in what you call literature? Does it not evoke the same feelings, if in a different way? You may or may not agree, but you are entitled to believe what you may, and I will respect that. This is just my own opinion.

      • K2L

        “Do you not find all these in what you call literature? Does it not evoke the same feelings, if in a different way?”

        That’s the whole point of a good story. To keep the reader hooked, to make him or her feel like the characters feel. The aims of a video game story, a film story, a book story and even a song are similar, but that doesn’t mean we can extrapolate the meaning of literature or literacy into a medium it doesn’t belong to. And believe me, I have read several books and played several films, and I have felt hooked and impacted by the stories in them, but that’s simply because those stories are doing well their job. A video game tells its story through gameplay and cutscenes. A book tells its story through written words.

        • Hero_of_Legacy

          Don’t we read Shakespeare as literature? but it is a play, it’s proper form is in speaking and movement, yet we treat it in the same regards as literature. So saying that video games can’t be literature is like saying that most of Shakespeare’s work is not literature, anybody would say that would be crazy to do that. Literature originally, was seen as writing, but what about the oral tradition of many civilizations? Were those not written down and included in the same? Through time as more mediums have been discovered, the definition of what EXACTLY is literature has changed, if epics, books, and plays can be all wrapped together, now with this new medium of video games, why not include it? After all, it still has the story, themes, connections to the audience, and binds people together that share knowledge of it, and crates a connection between them. Having read a book, talking to other people about it, the story, action, themes, it is not all that different from when I talk to people about a game we have both played,
          Well there’s my two cents, take it as you will

          • K2L

            You know what? Forget it. Keep with your imaginary and nonsensical definition of literature, it’s really pitiful. If that makes you enjoy games better,fine by me. I, for one, adhere to the widely accepted definition.

          • Hero_of_Legacy

            In a way, I have to say your right, despite all the similarities, and while it may tell a good story, video games are not quite literature. The last couple of posts I mostly was practicing arguing a point, while also trying to open you up to a broader way of thinking, even if you choose to stick to your point, which you did. I find it a little disappointing that you would end on the, your crazy note, instead of trying to support your argument, but oh well. While video games do have great story, and do link you to the story, literature is the story as told by a person, not a journey through a world as you make your own choices. While both a very interesting mediums for telling a story, reading another’s story, and making your own will remain separate.

          • K2L

            ” I find it a little disappointing that you would end on the, your crazy note, instead of trying to support your argument, but oh well.”

            I’m just tired of walking into circles with this discussion. I already said why I disagree with this article’s reasoning, and I’ve just wasted my time.

  • Sean Gadus

    Really depends on what you consider literary. As an English Major I’d say the majority of teachers and professors would say no. But In a sense it could be consider Literary and other sense it would not be.

    Zelda borrows deeply from mythology, traditional story telling, and the idea of a hero’s journey illustrated in various books by great authors like Joseph Campbell (Pick up a copy of Campbell’s fantastic book The Hero with a Thousand Faces).

    The setting is certainly Romantic and poetic. It can invoke strong feeling and resonates with beauty. Zelda games create a beautiful epic world full of beauty and depth. There are dynamic characters and relationships within the game. And strong emotions. Spectacularly imagined creatures and characters.

    Literary or not, Zelda is something very special. Its incredible mix of incredible gameplay, gorgeous art direction and beautiful created worlds and characters, and exciting, universal story telling. That’s good enough for me.

  • OcarinaPlayerOfTime

    I actually saw this one youtube comment said he did a report on the final boss in ocarina of time, he got an A+

    • Ghirahim

      Well, now I know what I’m doing for my final exam. Probably not exactly this but something related to Zelda in general.

      • YoshiFan101

        unless your teacher doesn’t like zelda, than you might get a bad grade

        • Ghirahim

          My teacher loves Zelda. She’s played every single one.

          • YoshiFan101

            oh, mine just likes shakespeare….

          • Ghirahim

            That was the case for my teacher last year. He docked marks on my reading response because he thought the book was dull. This book was The Silmarillion (look it up, it’s awesome).

          • LordSlayaton

            Really? How did he think The Silmarillion is dull? I’m assuming he only read the first few pages, because that is odd.

        • Waffleface

          I wrote an essay for my existentialism class about how Ganondorf from Wind Waker basically encompasses everything about Tolstoy’s opinions of human despair.

          It was awesome.

        • LordSlayaton

          That’s impossible. No one can “not like Zelda”. It’s just impossible.

          • YoshiFan101

            its possible, lots of my friends don’t like zelda

          • LordSlayaton

            … What? Have they ever played any of the games? I think that they must not have, and just go with all the rest of the Nintendo hate.

          • YoshiFan101

            they have, they liked it before, now they just don’t care and they play CoD

          • YoshiFan101

            they just aren’t interested…

          • TheMightyDekuWarrior

            Sad.

          • YoshiFan101

            yup, nobody to talk to about zelda… except two. but I don’t talk to them too often and one has only played WW

          • TheMightyDekuWarrior

            I have quite a few friends to talk about Zelda with. But me and my best bro constantly talk about it… when we aren’t talking about his terrible girlfriend that he clings to, but that’s not important.

          • YoshiFan101

            terrible girlfriend? ya isn’t important, I’m too young to understand love.

          • TheMightyDekuWarrior

            Wasn’t your age like a dot or something?

          • YoshiFan101

            ya, thats how you see it. I’m older than a dot though. since I believe you’re 14, that means I’m younger than you, all you need to know

          • LordSlayaton

            Oh. Well then they actually do like the games, they are just pretending they don’t. They are trying to act what they think is “mature” even though it is he exact opposite. Very common thing, the only cure is to try to talk them out of it.

          • YoshiFan101

            no, they talk about CoD all the time. They don’t really care about it, I’ve asked them they didn’t really care…

          • LordSlayaton

            They are in denial. They would never say what they actually feel, and may have even repressed it to the point where they don’t even know it.

          • YoshiFan101

            no no no, they seriously don’t like zelda, one of them likes the music a lttle bit, but otherwise they don’t really like it

          • LordSlayaton

            They would never admit it, but they do. It’s a common thing.

          • YoshiFan101

            just stop, they don’t, I know, it crazy, but they really could care less about Zelda

          • LordSlayaton

            Depending on how long it has been since they last played, they might not even know anymore. But trust me, what I say is true, it’s been this way since the “Nintendo Power!” Days.

          • YoshiFan101

            I’m gonna say it again, THEY DON’T LIKE ZELDA

          • LordSlayaton

            Impossible.

          • TheMightyDekuWarrior

            Give them an emotional speech about the true art of gaming that they can reject and call “gay”.

          • YoshiFan101

            nope, I promised my self never to call somebody gay again. (I joke about my friends in gym when its the girls turn to go and say “You missed you’re turn”)

          • TheMightyDekuWarrior

            No, no, no. I meant OTHER people calling the speech gay, not you. I think it’s ridiculous that people call something out like that that means happiness, or by today’s standards, homosexuality.

          • YoshiFan101

            oh, okay. one time when they said that they were gonna play cod when the got home I said “You can’t play a fish”

          • TheMightyDekuWarrior

            HARDYHARHAR.

          • YoshiFan101

            Probably should’ve took a picture of their reaction. its like nobody knows what a cod is

          • TheMightyDekuWarrior

            COD isn’t a type of fish anymore, it’s now an FPS. They did it.

          • YoshiFan101

            its still a fish, its just 10% of the population still knows what it is

          • YoshiFan101

            still knows what it actually is

          • TheMightyDekuWarrior

            That 10% is the people with brains, which is something uncommon among people nowadays.

          • YoshiFan101

            yes, I’m one of them, but this is my brain. (this is just the size of my brain)

          • TheMightyDekuWarrior

            I expect a snail to have a very small brain. :D

          • YoshiFan101

            yes! you got it. I expected a different reply. to you, a like

          • TheMightyDekuWarrior

            PRIDE IN SPEECH

          • YoshiFan101

            what? pride in what speech?

          • TheMightyDekuWarrior

            My own.

          • YoshiFan101

            …okay…

          • LordSlayaton

            No. It’s more slowly and intelligently explain to them how immature they are being. Very hard to do, but if done right it can work.

          • TheMightyDekuWarrior

            Then they’ll reject that and call YOU gay. Anything they disagree with or dislike, they call gay. So I dislike swimming in water, and you know what? IT’S GAY, HAHA.

          • LordSlayaton

            Lol. Their biggest fear is others thinking they are immature, hence the Cod addiction. Funniest thing is, they don’t even know what mature is. The only modern FPS adults play is Battlefield, but we’ve kept that a secret from them.

          • TheMightyDekuWarrior

            That’s actually really true. I’ve seen alot of children play CoD, but more adults play Battlefield. Plus, I haven’t had much trouble out of their community.

          • LordSlayaton

            Bf players work very hard to keep it that way. It’s almost invite only, like this site.

    • YoshiFan101

      I wish my teacher was a zelda fan….

  • TheMightyDekuWarrior

    Very long comments… You know what? I’m going to make the shortest one in the comment section! Here it goes!

    • TheMightyDekuWarrior

      Yep.

      • UltimateTankOP

        ..

        • TheMightyDekuWarrior

          I hate you.

          • StationaryBomb

            I was going to type “I” but disqus no like single letters.

          • YoshiFan101

            so was I…

          • TheMightyDekuWarrior

            .I

          • YoshiFan101

            I’m gonna write the shortest comment, here it goes…

          • YoshiFan101

            .

          • YoshiFan101

            I did it!!!!!

          • TheMightyDekuWarrior

            O_O HOLY CRAP!!

          • YoshiFan101

            I am a magician

          • TheMightyDekuWarrior

            Dude, tell me how you did it!

          • YoshiFan101

            why? Why should I reveal my secret?

          • YoshiFan101

            its really simple actually

          • TheMightyDekuWarrior

            Because I’ll be your… best friend!

          • YoshiFan101

            I already have a best friend, and besides, I don’t even know you :p

          • TheMightyDekuWarrior

            But I’m Deku! (Darn, I need to think of something better…)

          • YoshiFan101

            yes, you do

          • TheMightyDekuWarrior

            Uhhhh… I’m watching the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon right now? Is that good?

          • YoshiFan101

            That sounds exciting. but you can’t bribe me, if thats what your trying to do ;P

          • TheMightyDekuWarrior

            He’s a Zelda fan. (I’ve got him now!!) But really, he is.

          • YoshiFan101

            here’s an explanation:

          • YoshiFan101
          • YoshiFan101

            it isn’t the greatest, but whatev’s

          • TheMightyDekuWarrior
          • YoshiFan101

            cool, what is your favourite LoZ game?

          • TheMightyDekuWarrior

            I don’t really have a “favorite”, mostly because it’s so hard to give a straight answer. But if I had to pick ONE, I’d have to say Skyward Sword. I’ve played nearly every Zelda title, so you can see where it gets hard.

          • YoshiFan101

            same, I haven’t played much, And its actually really close between Skyward sword and Ocarina of time. SS is literally 0.000001 percent better than OOT

          • TheMightyDekuWarrior

            Skyward Sword is the most fun for me. I mean, who doesn’t like swinging a sword around like a maniac? If only Zelda U would do that… It would be the best day of my life.

          • YoshiFan101

            thats how I beat Ghirahim in hero mode… sooooo hard for me to beat him. and the hoards of red guys near the end of the game. (I loved how it was like an entire army against Link)

          • TheMightyDekuWarrior

            One man army, my friend.

          • YoshiFan101

            yup, I kinda feel bad for Link, look at what freakin Malon does, than look at Link

          • TheMightyDekuWarrior

            What did she do?

          • YoshiFan101

            milk cows and ride on horses

          • TheMightyDekuWarrior

            A real woman.

          • YoshiFan101

            oh and… sing? to the horses?

          • TheMightyDekuWarrior

            Is it weird that I sing to the flower bed?

          • YoshiFan101

            whats the flower bed?

          • TheMightyDekuWarrior

            It’s where I live! I live with the Tulips and Posies.

          • YoshiFan101

            I still have no idea what you mean… I’m just gonna assume that you sleep in a bed of flowers.

          • TheMightyDekuWarrior

            *Deku Scrub :D

          • YoshiFan101

            okay, I’ll just stick with a regular, comfy bed :)

          • TheMightyDekuWarrior

            Please don’t tell me it’s made of wood…

          • YoshiFan101

            don’t worry, its not

          • TheMightyDekuWarrior

            Thank goodness, I was about to go all out Mad Scrub on you.

          • YoshiFan101

            ya, thank god, I suck at verbal battles…

            anyways, is it just me, or has it taken a while for new articles to show up?

          • TheMightyDekuWarrior

            I’ll talk to you later, my man. I’ve got to go get some sleep, I’ve got to rake the yard in the morning…

          • YoshiFan101

            okay? my man? I’m younger than you so I have no idea what you mean.well, bye I guess

          • OcarinaPlayerOfTime

            Yes. Just yes. So much yes. Yes.

          • Guest

            !@#$%^&*()

          • Guest

            `~1!2@3#4$5%6^7&8*9(0)-_=+

          • Guest

            *.*

          • KittehCatten

            .

          • KittehCatten

            I feel like an idiot.

          • TangledLink

            Welcome to the club

            President:YoshiFan101
            VP:Me

          • http://theyoshifansite.webs.com/ YoshiFan101

            yay I’m a president!

          • KittehCatten

            I actually have no idea how I did that.
            Not even a joke.
            Can’t replicate.

          • KittehCatten

            I am serious.

          • TangledLink

            I have a theory as to how he did it, Here goes:

          • TangledLink

            .

          • http://theyoshifansite.webs.com/ YoshiFan101

            don’t tell anyone our secret! okay? I was the first one to do it, copyrighted

          • http://theyoshifansite.webs.com/ YoshiFan101

            so its mine,

          • TangledLink

            Sure, I like Being In a Small Loop, Plus this gift you Gave me was Generous:

          • http://theyoshifansite.webs.com/ YoshiFan101

            I gave you that? okay

          • TangledLink

            Didn’t you ever play Z1? You’re The Moblin…

          • http://theyoshifansite.webs.com/ YoshiFan101

            really? I don’t remember being a moblin

          • TangledLink

            You Know, “It’s a secret to Everybody…”

          • http://theyoshifansite.webs.com/ YoshiFan101

            it sure is

          • UltimateTankOP

            What the? But Disqus doesn’t let you write one-character comments. I held the impossible-to-beat record! How did you…?

            NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!

          • YoshiFan101

            its really simple, once you find out my secret you will feel stupid

          • TangledLink

            I did it in 10 Minutes(Look Down)

          • OcarinaPlayerOfTime

            :3

          • TheMightyDekuWarrior

            3:

          • YoshiFan101

            .

          • YoshiFan101

            did it again ^_>”<

          • OcarinaPlayerOfTime

            :S

      • Yepper (the kindly waffle)

        you mean yepper right? :D

        • TangledLink

          ..

          • http://theyoshifansite.webs.com/ YoshiFan101

            I discovered it first

        • TheMightyDekuWarrior

          Yeaher.

  • DestroyerOfClockTown

    Interesting opinion. I think Zelda could be literature.

  • Zaptoid

    I’m homeschooled, so I can do mostly what I want for writing, so for a short thing, I chose the final confrontation with Ganondorf at the end of Ocarina of Time.

    • Zaptoid

      It was after I saw this article, but I didn’t have it in my mind at all when I chose it.

    • TangledLink

      Me too, Sept’ I get Paid for my writing…

      • Zaptoid

        You get paid for school!?!?!?

  • Guest

    I always thought literature was books, but it looks like I was wrong. I always thought of video games as an art form, there are bad books like there are bad games or movies. Interesting article.

    • Delpheas

      Technically plays are literature too..

  • Nexus Verbal

    Although there is a ton of writing that goes into a video game series like the Legend of Zelda, and there is certainly a lot of text to read, the games are not literature, because as a whole, the medium is entirely different. And as such, the manner in which the story and characters expresses themselves are entirely different.

    Video games and films, are definitely created using a variety of literary techniques and are usually based on some sort of script. However, the finished product isn’t meant to be read. In the case of a film, it is meant to be viewed and listened to. In the case of a game, it’s meant to be viewed, listened, and played (Most of the time, at least). Every medium interacts differently with our senses.

    I’m sure many readers out there would say that there is nothing more engrossing in the world than a very good book, and that’s because there’s nothing but words in front of you; Your brain has to create and give life to the world and characters while you read. In the case of film and video games, this is already being done for you. Now, of course, that doesn’t mean films or video games are a lesser art form than the novel, it just means they’re completely different.

    So I guess that’s my two cents.

    • Delpheas

      By what you just said plays are not literature either, yet the academic world counts them as such. I read all the time, yet I also act and throw myself into plays, play videogames and watch movies that have deep meaning and can connect on a level beyond “*bang* Yeah he’s dead!”

      Books have their equivalent to action films and shooters, just like film and video games, while still young, have their equivalent to The Lord of the Rings or A Tale of Two Cities.

      By the definition of Lit given in the article, plays, films, and video games all can fit quite nicely. If Literature was defined as “something one reads, where the the brain is solely responsible for visual creation” then yeah, they wouldn’t fit. But as it stands, they do.

  • hollander

    Video games like GTA are so brutal and grossly, it is based on mafia, and
    alcohol, and drugs, and sex, and shoot and die, I hate GTA, and games like GTA,
    so not cool.

    • Trevor

      cool story, bro

      • hollander

        Is that sarcasm or what?
        it’s just what GTA is based on.

        • Bloody18

          So you hate GTA for what it’s about.

          Okay, so you must hate most everything in current music, television, and most pop culture subjects.

          I mean, you’re free to dislike whatever you want, but that’s not really a great reason for hating it, especially if you like other forms of media in which those things appear in and are prominent in.

          Just saying *drops mic*

          • hollander

            So you like GTA? and no if I dislike GTA, than it doesn’t mean
            I hate all pop cultures, and that kind of music, and it was in the news,
            WHY WHY, would you
            film, two people having sex? HOW brutal, how stupid,
            You like that?
            and there are much more of missions like that,

            such things you don’t see on televison, or with pop subjects.

          • Bloody18

            I don’t know what kind of media you are exposed to, but that is EXTREMELY prevalent in pop culture and the news and such things. And yes, I do like those games. I think it’s rather fun to go break up hookers and steal cars, in a video game. I also like running around Hyrule Field and slashing monsters with the master sword. I do neither of these things in real life. That’s why there’s video games for these things.

          • hollander

            So tell me, do you like to film people having sex,
            running around while scolding, and shooting?
            Such things are prevalent and cool, in a media,
            with Sodom and Gomorrah as title,

            such stupid, brainless and foolish games are they,
            becoming drunk while fighting is cool out there I think?

          • Bloody18

            Again, in a video game, yeah. I wouldn’t do that in real life as 1) it breaks several laws and 2) I don’t do drugs or disrespect people in that way. That’s why there are video games like that. So we can enjoy doing stuff that would be harmful to others were in not in a /video game/

          • hollander

            So, if the law doesn’t exist, will you kill people
            and reap every women you see?,
            and even if you do like it, (because it’s just a video game,
            than you simply have a sick mind.)

          • Bloody18

            No because of reason two. Again, it’s just a video game, if you don’t like it don’t play it; however, if you’re not going to like it, at least have a decent reason for disliking it.

            Also, aside from the fact that I don’t like women, it’s rap. You might want to either learn to spell or enable some sort of spell check on your browser/phone.

          • hollander

            You said said, I wouldn’t do that in real life as it breaks several laws, so you would do it if it doesn’t break several laws,
            and it’s well known that aggressive games, make people aggressive(not always), and than they might shoot other people.

          • Bloody18

            No, I said I don’t do it because it’s against the law /and/ because I respect other people (as well as myself) too much to do those things. And that is complete bullcrap. Games don’t make people violent, it’s the way in which society depicts and punishes violence (in a fun way and that you won’t get punished) that makes those who are already violet act out.

          • hollander

            I don’t have respect for Osama Binladen.
            Shooting games can make people violent, like
            call of duty, a lot of persons who killed people,
            also school kids who came into their schools with
            shotguns, the most of those people, were extreme
            fight/shoot game players.

    • Delpheas

      There are books and plays that I wouldn’t consider literature, and the mario games would have hard time trying to convince me as well. But things like Mass Effect, Elder Scrolls, Zelda, L.A. Noire, Bioshock, The Last of Us, etc… these are all things that aspire to inspire and create worlds and life that causes us to think of something beyond ourselves.

      • hollander

        Yeah, GTA and mario as literature, pffff to strange.

  • TwiliTetra

    I completely agree with you. I see games as literature, even though most people just see it as a way to keep children quiet. Not all games though. The Legend of Zelda is extremely deep and meaningful, but games like flappy birds…. Not so much.
    Have you shown this article to your professor? He might appreciate the different perspective, or at the very least, the effort put into it, since this is pretty well written.

    • Asa

      Whenever I wrote the paper concerning the Communist Manifesto, I basically said what I said here, except with less passion. I, personally, thought the Communist Manifesto was a dry read, but it did spur a lot of discussion about the struggle of the proletariate with the rise of the bourgeoisie. But in my paper I even said something like, “I was the one in class who said even videogames could be literature, so take my opinion with a grain of salt,” or something like that. In the end he did appreciate my opinion, and as long as I supported it, he was ok with it.

  • Bloody18

    I’d say so if they have a story/some dialogue.

    • KittehCatten

      well excyoobs meys pwincesz.

      • Bloody18

        Well alright then lol.

  • EponaRocks

    I think Zelda is literature because, when you are go to open a book for the first time, aren’t you just going to explore the worlds its pages contains through the eyes of another just as you do when you go to pick up the wii remote? When something bad happens in a novel and it reaches its climax, aren’t you like, “c’mon! C’mon! C’MON!” – just as you are in the final boss fight of a videogame? Though this mostly doesn’t include casual games that you’d get free from the app store on your phone…:D
    Show your professor this article, definitely. Just to see what he thinks.

  • Delpheas

    I’d agree. Mostly because I think if a play can be defined as literature, something which was written not to be read, but watched, then film and video games have just as much right to belong in that classification.

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