Just a Boy, Nothing More

Better With Audio:

“East” | Atlas: Year One · Sleeping at Last

Each post this month is set to a different track from this amazing album. “East” is a contemplation of the mindset of a child and what the world turns the into as an adult.

I set out to rule the world
With only a paper shield, and a wooden sword
No mountain destined in my way
Even the oceans tremble in my way

I make no secret of the fact that Link from The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker is my favorite character in all of video games. He’s even the character I main in Super Smash Bros. On a superficial level, that may come as a surprise. He’s just a young kid — a very awkward, expressive kid at that. I’ll admit I was shocked in my moment of self-discovery about my favorite video game character. The more I think about it, however, the more it makes sense.

The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker | GCN

It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that Wind Waker is a game for kids. By featuring a protagonist so young and applying the notoriously cartoony cell-shaded graphical style, the designers did an incredibly effective job of hiding the mature and nuanced story within. Simply put, this is a game with themes squarely directed at grown-ups.

Wind Waker desperately begs for you, the player, to maintain your child-like sense of adventure despite the world persistently trying to rip it out from under you. Therefore, it integrates a frankly inspired choice into the characterization of its main protagonist. Link is nobody special.

What I mean to say is, unlike other Zelda games, Link isn’t the chosen hero of Hyrule. He isn’t destined by the gods from the beginning of time, or inundated with the Triforce of Courage at birth.

No, this Link is just a boy, nothing more, who just wants to save his sister. He achieves power, rather than having it thrust upon him. And this, I feel, makes him far more courageous than the other Links from any other game.

Likewise, it can be disturbing at first to grow up and realize that, like Link, most people are also not destined for greatness. Instead, much like carving out your own trail through the deep woods, one must set goals and meet them through dedication and work. However, while on the surface this may seem pessimistic, it actually should bring about relief. Much like Wind Waker Link, the course we set just proves how strong and capable each and every one of us are. My hope is that, no matter what occurs in life, anywhere on my timeline I can find the adventurous spirit I had as a child.

Who is your favorite video game character? What makes them so special? Let us know in the comments.

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Adventure Map
Introduction: Pixel for Your Thoughts: A 30-Day Video Game Reflection Challenge
Previous: The Park Bench on Main Street | Day 2 – Pixel For Your Thoughts
Next: Strokes of Luck, Good and Bad | Day 4 – Pixel For Your Thoughts
Related: Super Specific Sunshine Award IV
Inspired by: A Geeky Gal’s 30-Day Video Game Challenge
Response to: VGC Day 3: Who or what is your favorite character?
Into anime? There’s a challenge for that, too! 

  1. There is only one type of person who thinks The Wind Waker is a kiddy game: those who haven’t played it. Even sixteen years later, I can remember the preemptive backlash to The Wind Waker; it was not pretty. I have to admit I was a little wary myself… then I realized I was betting against the house by assuming that and got it on release day anyway. It may not be my favorite game in the series (it ranks 5th), but it’s a solid game to be sure. In the end, every single one of those cynics had egg on their faces (whether they know or are willing to acknowledge it or not).

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Wind Waker is an excellent game and tells one of my favorite stories in the Zelda franchise. Ganondorf actually has a personality and character development, Zelda is more than just a damsel in distress, we get backstory and character development for the previously-insignificant king of Hyrule – excellent game. I certainly cannot fault you for choosing Toon Link as your favorite!

    Liked by 1 person

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