While many people would only expect to see Zelda in a guide when it comes to books, a group of philosophers banded together to create something uncommon, and unexpected.
Anyone who has ever taken a serious look into the Zelda Franchise knows that there’s enough philosophical significance in the series to fill a book. And Guess What? Open Court Publishing, a small company dedicated to publishing scholarly works in philosophy is doing just that with a book titled “The Legend of Zelda and Philosophy” due to be released this fall as part of their “Pop Culture and Philosophy” series, which includes titles such as “Seinfeld and Philosophy”, “Simpsons and Philosophy”, and “Monty Python and Philosophy”.
The book has no single author, but was edited by Luke Cuddy from a series of papers submitted by video game philosophy enthusiasts across the globe. While the book is geared towards a popular audience, it is no amateur work; contributors are expected to have educated philosophical backgrounds.
Open Court’s own webpage on the book has this to say for a description:
“This is the first book in existence devoted to philosophy and a specific video game. It is also the first book that deals with the more general topic of philosophy and video games. The book asks such questions as: What is the nature of the gamer’s connection to Link? Does Link have a will, or do we project ours onto him? How does the gamer experience the game? Do the rules of logic apply in the gameworld? How is space created and distributed in Hyrule (the fictional land in which the game takes place)? How does time function? Is Zelda art? Can Hyrule be seen as an ideal society? What about the Triforce (one of the goals of the game is to reunite pieces of a relic called “The Triforce”)? Is there anything symbolic about courage, wisdom, and power? Why do we want to win and defeat Ganon (the evil tyrant in command of Hyrule in many of the games of the franchise)? Can the game be enjoyable without winning? Why do fans create timeline theories in such detail? Can these theories adhere to scientific standards? How is death treated in Hyrule? How do repetitive tasks done in the game differ from repetitive tasks done in everyday life?”
So it seems not only will the book discuss Zelda, but will explore philosophical issues concerning video games in general. The popularity of this book is yet to be seen, but it may bring the world one step closer to every gamer’s dream of having video games taken seriously as an art form.
No official release date has been set as of yet, only that it will be arriving “Fall 08”. You can subscribe for notification from Open Court Publishing’s web site, or alternatively, pre-order through Amazon.com’s listing.