Disclaimer: This article and the attached video contain spoilers for Link’s Awakening.

YouTube creator and Zelda theorist NintendoBlackCrisis takes on a debate of evil versus misunderstood in a recent theory video. NitendoBlackCrisis’s theory takes a look at the antagonist of Link’s Awakening, known only as “Nightmare”, to find out whether or not they are a “true” villain.

The video starts with a philosophical question the to the viewer on what makes a villain a villain, listing a few common tropes found among such characters. The first step the narrator takes is to attempt to define a villain. They state that an antagonist is not necessarily a villain and proceed to define an antagonist as “someone who is simply against the protagonist”. Rock Hawk from Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door is used as an example of someone who opposes the main character, but does not seem to fill the role of villain, even despite his “questionable tactics.”

The narrator goes over the actions and motives of Link’s Awakening‘s main antagonist and proposes the idea that they may simply be trying to survive, which continues to be a recurring topic throughout the second half of the video. The game’s NPC’s portraying the Nightmares in an evil light, the narrator notes, could simply be a matter of perspective. The idea of contrasting morals is next introduced, with a particular focus on saving the Wind Fish at the cost of “destroying” the island and everyone on it. Are the Nightmares evil or simply trying to survive? Is Link doing more harm than good? Does any being on the island have a consciousness of their own, apart from the main antagonist? These are all questions for debate posed by the narrator.

For me, there is no true villain, rather, just different parties each fighting for their own survival in a world which has bestowed upon them cruel fates. Reality is often ugly, and Link’s Awakening, in my eye, paints that picture greatly.

What are your thoughts? Does there exist a true villain in Link’s Awakening? Let us know in the comments below!


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