chapter  11
17 Pages

Take Away the Sword

Teaching for Creativity and Communication with The Legend of Zelda in Art History
WithDavid Boffa

Although Miyamoto realizes people tend to see the original Legend of Zelda game as a solitary experience between the player and the system or game, in reality he designed it with communication in mind—which is precisely why Link starts without his sword. This emphasis on communication between players stems largely from one of Miyamoto’s creative goals: to design games so “that players themselves will become more creative.” Miyamoto understands that communication forms the basis of learning, discovery, and creativity. I examine here my course designed around the Legend of Zelda series and the decision-making process involved in it. In doing so, I wanted to create a better introduction to the study of visual and material culture than the one typically employed at the college level. Furthermore, the class was an opportunity to advance the value of videogames as valid artifacts worthy of serious art historical study.