Podcast 45: The Psychology of The Legend of Zelda

Few video game franchises are as widely loved and recognized as The Legend of Zelda, and few have pierced the public consciousness as much. By one estimate, games in the Zelda franchise have sold about 109 million copies since The Legend of Zelda was first released in 1986. That’s a lot of smashed pottery. 

The series is also a popular topic for academics and critics wanting to think more deeply about video games and find more lessons and inspirations to dig out of them. If you look carefully enough, there are a lot of lessons to be learned about the games and a lot of ways to apply them to the worlds of art, philosophy, and psychology. 

That last one is particularly interesting to us, as you might think. Many a psychologist has tried to understand what effects video games and the stories they tell have on us. How do Link’s battles against Dark Link in Ocarina of Time, for example, mirror the difficulty of confronting our personal demons? What lessons about finding meaning in life can we take from Link’s quest through Hyrule? What’s happening between our ears when they hear those familiar and beloved melodies from our favorite Zelda game? And what what can Link’s tragedies and trials, like the loss of the fairy Navi, teach us about grief and depression?

These are the questions I will talk about with my guest experts who wrote a book called The Psychology of Zelda: Linking Our World to the Legend of Zelda Series.

Music Credits:

  • Robot Motivation” by The Polish Ambassador, licensed under Creative Commons: CC BY-NC-SA 3.
  • The Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time: Title Theme
  • The Legend of Zelda Majora’s Mask: Song of Healing
  • The Legend of Zelda Wind Waker: Farewell Hyrule King
  • The Legend of Zelda: Overworld
  • The Legend of Zelda: Shreik’s Theme

Show Notes:

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