Storytelling in video games has evolved significantly in the last 30 years. The Zelda series is a perfect example of that evolution, particularly in the endings — gone are the days where Link saves the princess, she thanks him, and then the credits roll. Ranging from heartwarming and heroic to bittersweet and hopeful, no two endings are alike, and it makes each game memorable and distinctive. Concluding a story is no easy feat in any medium, so for the Zelda series to have (mostly) consistent great and satisfying endings across a lineup of 19 (almost 20!) games speaks to the quality of the storytelling and writing.

In a series with memorable endings, like Link and Tetra returning to the surface after King Daphnes Nohansen Hyrule sacrifices himself for a better world in The Wind Waker, or Princess Midna bidding Link farewell in Twilight Princess, or an elderly Impa reuniting with Zelda after years apart before fading away in Skyward Sword, the endings are varied and perfect. While so many of them are fantastic, my personal favorite is Link’s Awakening ending. Throughout the entire game, the nature of Koholint’s existence — whether it’s real or a dream — is called into question numerous times. What happens when Link awakens the Wind Fish? Will Koholint and all of the friends Link has made along the way cease to exist? It’s one of the only times where I HAVEN’T wanted to beat the game. But the ending is incredibly beautiful. Link awakens and sees a seagull flying by. Is it Marin, realizing her wish to fly and become a seagull? Is he imagining the seagull as her? It’s open-ended, but not in a way that doesn’t have closure or isn’t satisfying, and I adore it. What do you think? What is your favorite ending to a Zelda game? Let us know in the comments!

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