Aonuma has been working on Zelda games for a very long time — since Ocarina of Time, in fact — and with the series’ popularity, it’s expected that the producers would receive fan letters from time to time. One letter, however, stood out to him.

“Since I began working on The Legend of Zelda, what has moved me the most came from a certain fan letter,” Aonuma explains. “This letter was from the mother of an elementary school girl, who was hospitalized due to an illness, and she gave her daughter Ocarina of Time so she could play it while rehabilitating.

“At first, she felt ‘this is impossible for me,’ but over time, she began getting the hang of it. Then one day, she told her mother, ‘if Link is trying this hard, then I will, too!’ as she put more effort into her rehabilitation. And before they knew it, she was back to her healthy self.

“If Link is trying this hard, then I will, too!”

“To think that one could put in more effort after watching Link to do the same, and that such a positive way of thinking arose from the game, is something that makes me very happy. After reading the letter, I thought about how Link is someone who is being controlled by the player, but there’s also a little something he was able to give back over time.

“It’s not that we purposely intend that while making games,” Aonuma clarifies. “But the key lies within what the players get to experience in the world. However, I believe that The Legend of Zelda is a game that can possibly bring out such feelings, and if you could start expecting that from now on, it’d bring me great pleasure!”

Games have always been able to evoke emotion in players; characters and their journeys can be very touching. This girl watched Link work hard to save Hyrule and was so inspired, that she tried harder to make herself feel better and then succeeded in doing so. This is but one example of the impact games can have on players; the result isn’t always better health, but more often fond memories and good feelings. How has The Legend of Zelda impacted you?

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  • Ryan Haney

    :’-)

  • Thomas Andersen

    This is what Zelda should be all about! ..in later games(especially SS) ..the games have gotten way to easy! If you compare all the 3D-games side by side, they are probably almost the same when it comes to the challange!

    ..but what Nintendo and Aonuma should know, that with experience and practice over time, the challange cant stay the same! If you play, lets say the piano, you need to take on harder and harder pieces over the years, since with practice, your skills improve a great deal! Its the same way with games, and especially Zelda! I have played Zelda for 25years now, and as with most of us “veterans” we have gotten very good at the game!

    Please Nintendo and Aonuma, stop holding our hand, stop guiding us and make the new Zelda to the Wii U a Real Challange! I want at least 2modes from the Get-go; Normal(like Zelda is now) and Veteran(10x as hard)!

    Its the first playthrough that creates the grand experience, and the greatest emotions!

    In a Verteran Mode, I think rupies should be A Lot harder to find, Enemies a lot harder/or weapons a lot weaker, Potions should be a lot weaker, hints like the Gossip Stone Guid should be removed, hints in general conversations should be Hints and not a mini walkthrough, heart pieces should be located in the hard to find chests(unlike SS where rupies where found in the hard to find chests, and heart pieces where found without the need to explore)

    The Boss’ should be harder, and you could even implement chaos to the boss room, more things that could kill you(like the boss-room in A Link to the Past’s Dark World Lost Woods Dungeon), etc

    …with a Normal and Veteran Mode from the get go, you could again cater to both the young, new beginners & the older, experienced veterans!!!:)

    Please, like in this article, we need to get back the feeling that its hard at first, that we need to work at it, dont give up and keep going to get where we want and reach the goals set in the game! Its the lack of challange that makes the experience and skilled Zelda player want to give up!

    When the journey is though and challanging, reaching the final destination is a 100x better, and feels so much more rewarding, than if the game just bends when you tell it to bend!

    Please, I beg you!!!:)

    • Hagareno

      hmmm. I agree on skyward sword since I have a grudge against that game being the first zelda console experience I haven’t loved…but I don’t think WW or TP were much easier than OoT & MM. I’ve marathoned the console series, and the only jarring game in the sequence was SS for myself.

      • Thomas Andersen

        This was a part of my rant as well:

        “If you compare all the 3D-games side by side, they are probably almost the same when it comes to the challange!..but what Nintendo and Aonuma should know, that with experience and practice over time, the challange cant stay the same!”

        What I mean is that for me, the games get Easy because of all the “practice” I got, through years of experience! So comparing the games side by side, perhaps TP and WW is 100% = to Oot and MM or slightly harder etc.. not the point! The point is that it cant stay the same, because of all the practice we get for each title… Its like saying to a pianist, that he can only play pieces on the same level as Fur Elise, his entire carrere!

        …the games need to grow with the players! I havent died Once in a Zelda game since MM(back then I was younger and less experienced at 3D-zeldas, so the challange felt real) …now I need a challange x10 harder for it to even be a challange at all! It cant just be the same, or slightly harder!

  • Takuto Starwind

    Zelda is my favorite game and it is a little hard at times that story is so touching I never knew that zelda would help ill children! Its so cool that it does go nintendo!

  • “If Link is trying this hard, then I will, too!”
    Sad and amazing story.
    It applies not only for ill people but to each person, for example If your crush doesn’t love you back, then try hard! like link saves hyrule but zelda has never look at him 🙁
    but one day…
    etc.

    • groundon

      but zelda always looks at link. not romantically, but as a friend, a colleague, an integral part of the duo that always save hyrule … she respects and admires him. isn’t that just as important? she loves him very much. and, if you would like to sponsor them having romance there’s always spirit tracks …
      i think the relationship between link and zelda is very vital and beautiful, even without the romance.
      we should all try hard, not to win our crushs favour, but to be the most likeable and inspirational people we can be.

  • LukesAlike

    That’s awesome.

  • Vladislak

    Beautiful stuff!

    Anyone who writes gaming off as useless and/or immature needs to take a second look at the people who’ve been helped through hard times in their lives. I myself have the Zelda franchise to thank for helping me through a tough time when a loved one died.

  • Crono Boy

    I love stories like these. 🙂 How has it impacted me? Zelda, among a few other special games, has inspired me to write fantasy novels. I published one, and am working on a second.

    • Davad

      Similarly, I plan to be a writer and I can thank Wind Waker for putting me on that path. Zelda will always have a special place in my heart.