"The Legend Of Zelda" Affects Culture In The Real World? Yes It Does!
A Legend Is Born
in 1986, the wonderful Shigeru Miyamoto and Takashi Tezuka released a video game to all of Japan. A year later, that incredible work of RPG (role playing game) history made its' way to the United States and Europe. This game was called The Legend of Zelda (or Zeruda no Densetsu).
Since those humble beginnings of becoming one of the first games that actually saved your data so you can leave it and then come back, The Legend of Zelda has become an influence on society as a whole. From video games to artwork to music, Zelda is a name known to all gamers.
If you don't believe that you are influenced in any way by the affects of a massive rpg series, take a look at this flash animation by Scott Falco and tell me that you don't recognize any of the ideas shown in it. (Scott Falco's youtube page: http://www.youtube.com/user/ScottFalco)
What I Do . . .
I don't break into people's houses and smash their belongings in real life. But, when playing an RPG, I do. I will check every door I can and smash anything I can reach, even if it doesn't give me anything. I do that because I have been programed to (and because I'm a little OCD. I can't smash one vase, find out it doesn't give me anything, and not smash the others). The reason I have been programmed to is because Zelda made headway in this direction and it has been copied in numerous games.
That flash animation by Scott Falco shows the common actions and tools that a person will have for an RPG. There is a bar for health (this in the shape of little hearts, like Zelda), there is a money counter in the bottom corner (in the shape of a rupee, like Zelda), there are several identical looking vases to smash in a line (like most RPG games), and the characters really don't speak much, and when they do, it is in writing.
Yes, I found an animation that is hugely based solely off of Zelda. The guy has several different animations that feature Link and Zelda, and one with Navi. But what about this RPG video game clip from the video game "Aveyond: Rhen's Quest". (You don't need to watch it all. It's just the tutorial part of a walkthrough. But you can notice on the bottom of the screen there is a money counter and there is a health bar. This game is really similar to the original Zelda games, except for the encounter of enemies.)
Okay, What Does This Have To Do With Everyone Else?
Wha . . . ? Oh! Yea, Zelda influenced a lot in terms of culture, not just in video games. I mean, video games have evolved following Zelda's footsteps: lock-on feature, overworld map, using music as key parts of the games, the designs and flow of the caves, action/puzzle elements, etc. Do you know that Zelda received the first ever Video Game Hall Of Fame Award given by Spike TV? Anyway, back to culture.
A man by the name of Koji Kendo created the sounds for Zelda when it first came out. A lot of the music was composed by Koji Kendo--even the music from The Legend Of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. He even did the main theme for Zelda.
Zelda Main Theme Song
Boston Symphony Orchestra Zelda
Mike Lombardo's "Hey Molly"
You may say, "so what? He composed music for a video game that my kids/husband/wife/boyfriend/girlfriend/friend won't or wouldn't stop playing." It's a big deal. That little piece of music is very recognizable, although now not to the younger generations so much, because they don't really know the beauty of having a plot along with carrying a sword and solving puzzles. It's a shame. All they want to do is play as Master Chief, shoot at elites and grunts, and stop Halo from destroying the human race. Or they just want to play as little lego guys, but those lego games are pretty fun, so I can't blame the kiddies. Speaking of various types of games, when is the last time that a really good racing game came out? Must have been a while. Anyway, I digress.
There are two pieces of proof that make this a big deal. Not only is the music a recurrent theme in the Legend of Zelda games (especially those games after Ocarina of Time), the music from this game has also made an appearance elsewhere (such as in Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World which uses the tune "Fairy's Fountain". Of course, that movie had a high amount of video game action in it, including destroying an enemy and getting something out of it besides the sweet, sweet sensation of victory). But you know something is amazing when a famous symphony orchestra does an arrangement of it.
Even though it is viewed as nerdy, because all video games have a certain element of "nerd" in them, up and coming musicians can use it. One such is a guy signed to DFTBA records who's name is Mike Lombardo. While at Berkley Music College, he composed a nerdy song and it has given him more than a few fans. This one song, "Hey Molly" has Zelda mentioned pretty well. Skip ahead to 2:30 to hear it. To see his youtube page, go to this address: http://www.youtube.com/user/MikeLombardoMusic .
Zelda and Celebrities
Zelda pops up in the celebrity world, as well. The wrestler Cody Rhodes? He has the Triforce (the sacred artifact that pops up in almost every Zelda game which stands for power, wisdom, and courage) on his boots. The Cartoon Network Adult Swim Show "Robot Chicken"? Did a spoof on Zelda along with the cartoon "The Powerpuff Girls". Robin William's daughter, Zelda Rae? Yea, she was named after the title character. The Legend of Zelda title screen is even parodied on the cover of the book "The Adventure Tournament" by Nicholas Andrews.
And the Point of This is?
No point, really. Just saying that Zelda had a huge influence on the world. Cartoons, books, and comics have all come out to continue the ongoing legend. The game keeps on evolving the world of RPG video games, from changing game play in the middle of the game to increasing areas and items.
Most importantly, though, is that this game can change itself to the times. It started out as a little 8-bit character game in which swords shot out from Link when he had full health. It has since passed through several different gaming systems, continually creating new adventures while still being successful in reviving the old. C'mon, now. The Nintendo 3DS brought back "The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time" and that game, and that game alone, is the reason why I want a 3DS so bad. And I'm not alone in that sentiment!
In conclusion, I'm going to put up a poll, listing all the main games (not side-games or spin-offs) of the Zelda series. Vote and tell me which is your favorite!
Last but not least, don't break into other people's houses and break their vases. No one keeps their money in vases like that. And as a side note, what's up with finding treasure chests with only 5 rupees in it? My goddess of the Triforce . . .