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Does Zelda Rot the Mind?

Majora's Cat

How about that
Sep 3, 2010
Zelda tends to differentiate from other video games. When parents use the phrase “video games rot the mind”, Zelda has one helpful trump card to combat this accusation: Zelda games are riddled with brain-bending, mind-twisting puzzles that can exercise one’s intellect. Puzzles are directly linked to mathematics, and understanding mathematics is generally considered to be related to intellectual progress. But I’d like to focus less on this game franchise for the moment and instead tackle a broader dilemma. In this case, the big picture is video games in general.

Young gamers are constantly made aware by their superiors that video games corrupt the mind and impair intellectual development. The most asked question about this subject would probably be whether this is true or not. Whether it’s the radiation coming from the television set or a student’s lack of focus when immersed in the wonderful world of gaming, parents will always find a way to blame poor grades on the most vulnerable targets - television and gaming.


[A common perception of a "gamer" kid, who has had his brain melted by video games]​

Tim Stevens (Switched.com) said:
From the "Gee, who'd have guessed it?" department this morning comes an official report that video-game systems in dorm rooms equate to less study time and lower grade-point averages. In a recent study conducted at the University of Western Ontario, it was found that the mere presence of a game console in the rooms of first-year students led to 40 minutes less time spent studying per day, which resulted in GPAs .241 points lower on average.

The study wasn't actually intended to analyze the impact of video games on student performance, but was instead trying to correlate study time to overall GPA. Students participating in the research tracked their time studying, sleeping, partying, working, gaming and doing other student-ly things. That time was then compared to their test scores, with the overall finding being that (surprise, surprise) more studying equates to higher grades.

However, the author of the study cautioned against parents forcing their kids to give up video games at school. Apparently overall happiness also has a strong factor in a student's GPA, and really, what's going to make you happier than blowing off classes for a 24-hour 'Halo 3' marathon when it comes out next week?

Now the passage above from Tim Steven’s article about how video games bring down a student’s grade point average is pretty convincing. But the question isn’t “does video gaming lower grades?”. You don’t have to be a young Albert Einstein to know the answer to that question. It is blatantly obvious that when a student spends more time handling a game controller and staring at the TV screen (and less time completing all-important schoolwork), his/her grades will suffer a substantial blow. I myself have experienced such events unfold, as my previous obsession with Twilight Princess were the root of my descent into the Bs.

It is almost common knowledge that video games can be the cause of a student’s grades slipping a whole letter grade. It happened to me, and it more than likely happens to people on these forums. But that was not the question. Although there exists a direct relation between lower marks and addiction to video games, that does not mean that these students’ minds are slowly deteriorating. Now some can argue that paying attention in school is what helps students gain knowledge and wisdom and that counts as brainpower. Playing video games themselves (in my opinion) is not equivalent to the impairment of one’s ability to absorb new information – rather, it is a person’s own addiction to gaming and negligence of what must be done on a daily basis that leads to the “rotting” of the brain.

A student’s educational well-being has entirely to do with their skill in balancing fun and homework. I eventually found a way to maintain impressive grades in school while still retaining my fandom for the Zelda series. In this youngster’s opinion, it is no one’s wrongdoing but your own if your GPA is dropping.

Returning to the subject of Zelda games in particular, what do they have to offer that other games don’t? Well, for one, senseless violence is kept to a minimum. Everyone enjoys a good ol’ hack and slash, but you’re not really benefitting from battling your way through a countless number of enemies that seem to flood onto the screen continuously. No, what I like to see in games is a more “educational” approach to games. Learning is fun! No, no it isn’t. I’m sure that everyone can remember a point in their childhood when an adult has tried to persuade you into thinking that doing arithmetic is as entertaining as watching a movie. Gaming can make learning fun! And hey, what do you know? Playing Zelda games could very well have been the reason for my proficiency in puzzle games such as Sudoku and those perplexing tile games.

Morality and principles can also be learned from playing Zelda. In these games, we can learn that there is a goodness and decency in everybody, but there are also those with wicked hearts. And more than likely those that have committed malicious deeds will be punished in one way or another (whether it is guilt for committing atrocious crimes or being put down by the arm of law). Not to say that all situations will turn out this way. Life is unfair, but it’s a good thing that the concept of justice and how good prevails over evil is constantly hammered into the world’s youth through games like The Legend of Zelda. It makes kids afraid of performing acts of malevolence and encourages them to value compassion, bravery and decency.

So do you think video games in general can slow down a student’s absorption of knowledge?

Do you consider Zelda games to be instruments of mental corruption?

Or is there an upside to playing these games that is unseen by the naked eye?


Jan 31, 2010
a place of settlement, activity, or residence.
So do you think video games in general can slow down a student’s absorption of knowledge?

It depends on the situation. If you play video games instead of studying, it could do that. However, I usually cut my video game time out of socializing. So it resulted in me being intelligent and getting As, but being socially awkward. It hurt my social skills rather than my intelligence due to the way I prioritized it.

Also, if you were studying game design, it would actually be something from which you could absorb knowledge. Like a book.
Do you consider Zelda games to be instruments of mental corruption?

If anything, I think that Zelda games combat mental corruption. I actually managed to get my thinking back on track by playing Zelda games. They helped me think about what was important and good in life. Gave me a purpose when I felt like I was in a really dark, lonely world at one point. My mind started off corrupt before I played, but it was less corrupt afterwards.
Or is there an upside to playing these games that is unseen by the naked eye?

I do think that it could stimulate creativity and puzzle-solving ability, as well as morality and such. For very young children, it might even help them learn to read. My two half-brothers learned a lot of words by playing Ocarina of Time with me.


Mad haters lmao
May 26, 2010
Hylian Champion
Zelda games certainly slowed MY perception of things. I realized once I stopped playing that I am getting slightly better, though not by more than 2-3 points, grades in my sophomore year in comparison to the grades I got in my freshie year. Obviously I am not everyone, but I'd say that video games in general, and especially Zelda, have the ability to rot the mind. I don't mean it'll destroy your brain outright, but what you could do with studying is taken away by "enjoying" or "studying" the game with which you outright choose to occupy your time with.

Sure, they can aid in somethings school related, but they [video games] can also be detriments..
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Jun 22, 2011
You are right. The reason why video games can be linked to lower gpa's is not the weakening of the mind but the failure to complete homework/read/learn in favor of playing games excessively. IMO it's fairly easy to balance schoolwork and gaming, but many kids and young adults can't seem to strike a good balance. I definitely can see my gaming being a positive influence on my mind. Zelda is basically a form of problem solving, and Tetris is a simple form of geometry. Those are two quick examples, but I bet anyone can find an example in their own gaming life. Anecdotal evidence- I'm a counterexample. I have always been a big gamer, and I haven't received a B in a class since the 7th grade (I'm now a junior in college). My freshman year in college I played probably more video games than anyone on my floor, and I earned the best grades of anyone.

Edit: I want to add that during my freshman year I had 3 game consoles with me. I got my roommate (who wasn't and still isn't a big gamer) somewhat addicted to Mario and Call of Duty. He and I both earned 4.0s the first semester.

I kind of see the video game- mind rotting thing on a continuum based on the kind of game. Some games probably do more harm than good, but Zelda games are definitely on the positive side of the line. I'll start with the games that are "bad" for you IMO.

Grand Theft Auto- sports games/shooters/Mario (halfway point at which harm/good balance)- RPGs- Tetris/Zelda/RTS- Professor Layton

Of course this is a very rough example and full of subjectivity, and I left out numerous genres/franchises also. One thing I think is undeniable is that games like Professor Layton are very good for your mind.

Zelda's puzzles are a form of problem solving and so they are good for your mind as well. However, Zelda isn't just about solving puzzles so there probably are a lot of times in which playing Zelda doesn't benefit you at all.

Of course, excessively playing games, even Professor Layton, can be bad for you in many different ways.
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Aug 17, 2011
Melbourne, Australia
I'm sorry tldr

Anyway video games don't necessarily impede upon mental capabilities. Really the only argument that could be validated is they are worthless at developing gross motor control when compared to physical games...ect.

It does depend on the game in the most part but doing anything interactive is better than say watching TV, unless say you actually try to study the literary and media properties of said TV(which 99% of us don't, myself included)

And an interesting note, if video games rot the brain then why are the always stereotyped with book-smart nerd? You know just saying.


There's a Bazooka in TP!
Feb 28, 2009
Ontario, Canada
As said, any game for you, no matter how educational, can be bad for you if you let it dominate your life. But really, then it becomes no worse or different than any obsession that takes too much time away from more important things. Even going outside and getting fresh air can be "bad for you" if you do it so often you don't settle down and hit the books to study, but it's just easier to blame things researches don't understand as much such as video games.

When it comes to the benefits, any game will help your abilities to quickly process information and will increase hand-eye coordination. Fast decision making is more often than not a staple in any game, and the ability to react increases over time. For instance, making quick timed jumps in the original Super Mario Bros 8-1 (where there's the little Mario-wide platform you pretty much can't stop on) was impossible to me for ages, but after practice I can now do it without worry, time and time again. Now, maybe that's just quick response time to that certain situation, but I would think it's a bit more in terms of overall response in my brain to my thumbs.

When it boils down to Zelda though, I think it does have an advantage over some games where you do have to stop and think about things before proceeding. Puzzles often appear that require a bit of head scratching. Even when not too difficult the positive reinforcement received afterwards I would think would be good for the brain. I think any kind of mental corruption would occur when only the game is injested, and nothing else is. Moderation is the key here, because even 24 hours of Zelda and nothing else would probably begin to rot the mind. Look at those 72-hour Zelda marathons. By the end, the gamers are sloppy and death counts become high. So, whiel they're playing a somewhat educational game for it's puzzles and thought, it's still causing some kind of mental slowdown because nothing else is accomplished in the day other than Zelda.

Really though, this is the case for anything as I said above. If you did nothing but watch TV all day, even with the most educational of shows, you're still goign to slow down. You might take some information away, but in the end your brain needs multiple activites to survive. So, I won't say that Zelda alone, or even video games can cause brain rot if dosed correctly, but they (like any other activity) definitely can if they're the only thing you feed your brain.

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