chapter  10
17 Pages

The Hero of Time

The Legend of Zelda as Children’s Literature
WithChamutal Noimann, Elliot H. Serkin

Shigeru Miyamoto’s The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (1987) exemplifies, particularly via Tolkienesque fantasy, a Neo-Romantic belief in the power of children’s literature to mature the imagination of children and renew the childlike imagination of adults. Action-Adventure videogames, such as The Legend of Zelda, are often dismissively considered related to children’s literature, mainly because they are narrative-based, often feature child protagonists, and are popular with children. However, Children respond passionately to videogames, like The Legend of Zelda, precisely because they are grounded in the rich potency of literary traditions that preceded them. Tolkien’s ideas of Primary and Secondary worlds anticipate and predate recent studies that connect fantasy and action adventure videogames with Possible Worlds theory. When reading successfully, children use their imagination to accept possible world scenarios that borrow elements from their own reality to understand those scenarios. Mythopoeic videogames take this further, empowering children to marry interpretive consideration with imaginative decision-making.