Book Review: The Psychology of Zelda – Linking Our World to the Legend of Zelda Series

Games are an escape. Their immersive worlds and lore draw us in and comfortably hold us despite the ample adversity thrown in our path. Nearly every iteration of the Legend of Zelda (LoZ) series runs a similar narrative: you are a boy called to a task that is seemingly insurmountable at the time. With exploration and upgrades to your equipment and life total, you make your way through to an all-powerful evil that has gripped the land. When you start this adventure it draws you to complete the task set before you, a task that I relish every aspect of. The LoZ series has always compelled me to explore every inch of their worlds all while taking every bit of it in: but I never knew why.

The Psychology of Zelda employs applicable psychological theories from psychologists that are not only seasoned in their craft; they are also LoZ fans. The book walks through different events in the series through the lens of psychology. Topics range from “The Nocturne of (Personal) Shadow” to “Unmasking Grief” with many other introspective life experiences. Looking through different chapters, I found myself drawn to “The Quest for Meaning in the Legend of Zelda.” This was especially intriguing for me, a Christian, who observes psychological approaches through the lens of my faith. There can be an absolute nature to some psychological theories, not allowing flexibility for outliers. This immutable approach doesn’t encompass all of psychology and, thankfully, doesn’t creep its way into the pieces of this work that I read.

Theories are laid out and explained which document the many iterations of Link’s lives as well as those involved with him on his journey. The approach may be too analytical for those who seek to simply “play” the hero. Those who want to understand the “why” of the hero will likely find some aha moments in the wealth of information from so many psychologists.

While I enjoyed what I read by in large; it is a psychology book clothed in Legend of Zelda. This is one in a series of books that span a variety of games and shows, so for those who want to take a deeper dive into the mind of games or other entertainment, this may be a great resource, especially if you’re trying to squeeze your favorite game into that report but still need a citation.

Check out another post on LoZ

Legend Of Zelda: God’s Master Sword

Ephesians 6:17 Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. The Legend of Zelda is one of the most revered and classic video game series of all time. If you’ve never played any games in this series, you seriously need to. I myself haven’t…

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Matthew lives in the Thumb area of Michigan with his wife of 10 years and their three children. His faith was planted while he was a young child and began to sprout at the age of 12. He has been a Christ-follower ever since. Filled with dad jokes, puns, and sarcasm so deep that he sometimes has to question himself about whether he’s being serious: Matthew is comfortably himself.

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