Here I am making my 99th post on Zelda Informer. It has been 16 months, 40 articles, plenty of news posts, and I am left wondering, what has changed? It has been almost a decade since my first Zelda game and almost three years since I became a part of the online Zelda kotaku. What is different from back then to now? In a nutshell: nothing and everything at the same time. We all know that things change. People change. There are fads, phases and obsessions that come and go. And as life progresses, I feel that we can come to individually appreciate The Legend of Zelda series more and more. We may not sit down and play Zelda every other day like we used to. We may not be online talking fanatically about the series across numerous forums like the olden days. But the fact remains: Zelda is still a part of us.
I remember back a couple of years ago when I was at the climax of my Zelda experience. A giddy child collecting and playing all of the Zelda games that I hadn’t experienced yet. Sleepless nights; meals skipped. It wasn’t just about the playing experience, even though I did a hell of a lot of that, it was about theorizing and the timeline. About online communities. Everything had to fit together; answers had to be found. Heck, it was damn interesting, and it still is. If only I could still facilitate all of the random knowledge, connections and theories I had going back in those days.
Then there’s now. With the exception of Majora’s Mask this past week, it has been three months since I played a Zelda game – Ocarina of Time – and it had been at least a 6 month dry spell before that since Spirit Tracks. No, it doesn’t mean that Zelda means anything more or less than it ever did, it just means we grow away from it. Other things happen; there is just so much more out there. It may be school, work, studies or university. It may be friends, family and relationships. It may even be other games and other media such as books, music and movies. Whether we consciously want to or not, many of us will drift away. Zelda will inevitably become an occasional experience and perhaps fade away entirely. However, now when I sit down and play a Zelda game it offers so much more than it did when I was playing it every week. The experience is so much more fresh and unique.
So what? Some people will be fans of the series until death. Others of us will drift away from the series and perhaps even forget it. For the majority of fans, I think the series will always be a part of us. We may rarely play it anymore, but the memory remains. The legacy, the influence endures. There was a time when I thought I’d be a 70 year old man playing Zelda fanatically and theorizing, but I’ll be lucky to reach 21 with that spirit. No doubt Skyward Sword is something to look forward to, but it also somewhat foretells what Zelda will mean to many of us in the future. Something that comes and goes. A new game reignites the fire that will slowly die down again. Sad but true.
The Zelda experiences of the past that we’ve had in playing and theorizing are likely to be the best many of us will ever have in regards to Zelda and gaming. We should enjoy the experience while it lasts. To some people Zelda is just games, but to many they are so much more. Majority of games on the market, when you finish playing them, are over. Zelda, however, remains. It’s contagious, and that is what will remain with us. The epic tales; the morals of the stories; and the inspiration which permeates through them.
Some of us even have Zelda to thank for a lot of things in our lives. It introduced many of us to the wonderful world known as gaming and led us to experience the fun of online communities. Some people can thank Zelda for indirectly guiding them into webmasterhood or beginning their hobby of writing, amongst numerous other things. It has often served as a common ground for friendships and relationships that we’ve built. Zelda has always been there for us, and it always will be – whether we remember it or not. Zelda was the beginning of many things for some of us, but Zelda isn’t where it will end. It can never be what it once was, but the beauty of Zelda is that it is always there. It has something for everyone: deep and casual gaming experiences, the potential for theorizing, moral inspiration, and the potential for it to simply be what you want it to be. Zelda is what you make of it. Whatever it may mean to you today, whatever it may have meant to you in the past, Zelda will always be there. It’s just a matter of whether or not you’re there for Zelda.