After over 250 entries (and the eternity required to read through and judge each one), we’ve made our decision! That’s right – we’re here to announce the winner of our DSi contest.
A lot has happened since the contest first launched – namely E3 and the announcement of Skyward Sword – so here’s a quick refresher:
The contest began back on June 6th with this post, in which we established that the Bank of Hyrule had reached its donation goal of $250, allowing us to buy a DSi and ship it anywhere in the world! Entries were accepted until midnight EST on June 14th, and from the very beginning, they were pouring in like crazy!
For a shot at a brand new DSi, just one question had to be answered (in 800 words or less):
What do you think the plot of Zelda Wii will be?
Although the entries were judged after E3, they were not judged on accuracy compared to the actual plot of Skyward Sword. Rather, they were judged for a combination of creativity and believability. We were looking for entries that were unique, but that we could actually imagine being used as the plot for a Zelda game.
Several great entries were submitted, and we’d like to thank all of the entrants for their participation! There were a ton of great plot ideas, but unfortunately, only one could win. So what are you waiting for? Hit the jump for the five runners up and the Grand Prize Winner!
Runner Up #5
ZU Username: N/A
The land of Hyrule has been overrun by Ganondorf and his followers and all of the inhabitants have been enslaved, including a valiant youth named Link who is known among the slaves as a rebel and an icon of freedom. When Link threatens to begin a revolt to overthrow Ganon’s tyranny, Ganondorf orders his execution but Link escapes by miraculous and magical means and loses consciousness. Coming to his senses, Link to told by a mysterious voice to find the Master Sword within the cavernous depths of Hyrule’s foundation. After completing the task, Link is surprised when the blade materializes into the shape of a woman named Adelle, who claims to be the spirit of Link the 1st’s mother. After dying to save the 1st Link, her spirit became a blade of legendary power so that she might always watch over her son and his successors. Link is further informed that he himself is a direct descendant of the 1st Link and 1st Princess Zelda, making him the grandson of Adelle. With sword in hand, Link sets off on a quest to free his people from Ganondorf’s tyranny, but faces many challenges along the way, including finding and enlisting the help of the last member of the Shiekah tribe and stemming a racial conflict between the Goron and Zora tribes. Link’s adventure comes to an abrupt halt when Ganon’s curse leaves Adelle lifeless and breaks the Master Sword in two. Hearkening to Adelle’s last, hurried words, Link returns to the Temple of Time and uses the pieces of the broken blade to enter the split time rift created when Link the 1st originally removed the sword from its pedestal. Now able to freely travel through the split time line, Link must right the wrongs of his ancestors by rejoining the two separate histories and combining the past and future in a way that will unravel untold mysteries in the kingdom of Hyrule. Lands forgotten re-emerge as a part of Hyrule. Characters long dead come to life to fight in a great battle against Ganondorf. In a climatic final battle, Link storms the fortress of Ganondorf with an army of millions at his back and rescues his fellow countrymen. Sadly, as Ganondorf dies, Link lies mortally wounded and quickly passes into the afterlife. His spirit becomes the new indweller of the Master Sword and magically re-crafts the blade into an even more powerful weapon. The land of Hyrule is restored and peace again reigns with the Master Sword returned to its sanctuary in the Temple of Time and Link’s spirit guarding the land for an eternity.
Runner Up #4
ZU Username: Fareti
In the times of early Hyrule a minstrel named Link traveled the lands playing his ocarina for rupees. One evening he finds a nomadic tribe and plays for them. Since they have no rupees they share a story of joining with the Rocs, bird-like beings who see everything from the skies, and gaining their knowledge. They also tell Link that they leave their mark of an all-seeing eye that will give knowledge to passersby.
Link leaves their company and finds one of eyes on a stone, resting to practice a song by it he hears a rumbling as if the stone were talking: “10:28…The way up is beneath you.” Looking down he finds an egg, picks it up, and is clutched by powerful talons as he is carried to the City in the Sky. There he meets the Rocs who thank him for rescuing their prince and give him a feather that he might fashion a way to return so he makes a flute from the quill.
That night Link has a vision from the Golden Goddesses telling of the Great Land they have created and a Golden Paradise for those who are pure, but warn of a darkness from somewhere beyond their control. They offer part of themselves to form Zordiana – the bane of evil – to aid Link in protecting the physical manifestation of their virtues – the Triforce.
Link awakens to find himself in the company of the Nomads again, who are entranced by Zordiana. They give a sapphire to her and talk of the dark creatures they have begun to encounter on the farthest reaches of the desert and rocky lands. The were visiting the Titans, the best metal workers throughout the land. Link goes to the Titans to forge a weapon to protect the Great Land as the Goddesses wished of him. They shared powerful stone and metal working skills and gave Link an indestructible blade to fight the dark creatures plaguing their village. As payment and an offering of good will, they give a ruby found while excavating.
Link and Zordiana return to the Rocs using the flute to find most of the sky-land ruined by the ever spreading dark spirits. They fight off the demons and discover an unsettling fact: through the creation of Zordiana arose a malevolent spirit wishing to conquer the Great Land and take the Power imbued in Din’s essence. Wishing to pass on a legacy they give a large emerald and chained-talon to Link and Zordiana, telling them that it is the key to unlocking many of the secrets hidden below and ascend into the heavens to hide for generations.
Link realizes that as long as there is good, evil will exist; but vows he will uphold righteousness as long as his blood flows. He proceeds to travel the land learning magic from all corners and enchants the three gems he was given hoping to protect himself so that he might uphold the wishes of the Goddesses. During his quest he acquires a variety of skills and meets many races in great need of protection. Noted are the aforementioned Titans who are deeply troubled by the events unfolding and some of whom fear they will be the root of more evil yet to come. Imps, a diverse group of woodland creatures who admire Link and open their homes to the duo. Third are the Aquatic-folk, shy and beautiful they introduce Link to the magical Silver- and Gold-fishes who take Link to the depth of the ocean. With Zordiana guiding his heart, he bestows the gems entrusted to him and infused with the divine virtues to each of these three tribes.
The Dark Spirit – a bodiless Ganondorf – crosses into the Great Land to capture the power he senses, only to find it to be Zordiana and not part of the sough after Triforce. Knowing the only way to defeat and banish the King of the Dark Interlopers Zordiana fuses herself to a gem on the sword from the Titans. After Ganondorf is seemingly destroyed by Link via impaling him through the heart and pinning him into the stone, Link engraves the rock: “The Hero’s triumph on Cataclysm’s Eve wins three Symbols of Virtue. The Master Sword he shall then receive, keeping the knights line true,” so that only one tested as true can remove the weapon. He proceeds to serenade the loss of Zordiana on his flute, which he passes onto the Nomads.
Retiring to the edge of the woods in hopes of finding a resting place Link befriends the Picori and shares with them his adventures as he learns the joys of fishing. He changes his name to Mudora to hide himself and journals his adventures and knowledge in a book.
Runner Up #3
ZU Username: NA
Hyrule, after a long period of peace and prosperity, began to show signs of darkness approaching. Many rebellions from other races and attacks by barbarians forced the generals to create a coerced recruitment. Link was recruited and trained in the basic sword and bow that all new soldiers were supplied.
So the new recruits are trained, then tested for skill. Link, blessed with great swordsmanship, surpasses all new recruits. He is sent off to help put off a small rebellion of Moblins. Combat on the battlefield has both enemy and ally AIs. Link further excels as a warrior and swordsman and is promoted to an elite group of soldiers.
Link becomes one of the strongest warriors and the leader of a force pushing upon a new enemy. Yet, this enemy is not new in the sense of different, just odd. Rather than putting down one rebelling race, it is multiple races working together to fight the soldiers. After victory, Link returns back to the castle to find the King and his daughter kidnaped. The General summons the elite force of soldiers to kill the evil wizard who captured the royalty. Link and the other soldiers track down Ganon and easily defeat Ganon. Though many soldiers die, they nearly stop his evil plan when he creates a barrier, secured by seven seals, placed into distant dungeons.
Link and the remaining six soldiers split up to take on the trials of the temples. Each temple is based on one of the seven deadly sins, Link starts with the Temple of Pride. Many challenges and failures break down his ego, but once overcoming his pride, he breaks the seal. Link is forced to help in another battle, before traversing to the next dungeon. At the Avarice Temple, Links finds one of the soldiers dead by a trap sprung by chests. Link pushes away his own greed and breaks the second seal.
The Pattern continues in which the battlefield is the main focus on gameplay and combat and within each dungeon another skill, rather than items, is learned by Link. Gameplay is focused entirely on the use of sword and bow. Link finds himself pure of all evil, entering the final dungeon, the Temple of Sloth. Yet, the one remaining elite soldier just finished breaking the seal. On their way back to Ganon, he tells Link of why the temple took much longer to beat – it is the Temple of Sloth.
Link and the elite soldier confront Ganon again, just as he recovered from using such a large amount of magic. They beat Ganon, but he uses his magic to corrupt the other soldier. Link is forced to kill him. Link wins just as before then questions Ganon if he is behind the rebellions. No longer under a controlling spell and wanting revenge, Ganon tells Link of a great evil upon the edge of the earth. Once Ganon dies, order is temporarily restored and Link begins the building of a large army and new elite soldiers.
Link goes on a quest to get the best warriors of the many races, just as the General of Hyrule begins to rebuild his army. Link proves himself better than the other elite warriors of the other races and they join him. With the army finally ready and the scouts return confirming Ganon’s news, they all march toward the ominous evil. Many new and different races along with the undead versions of the classic races are the enemies. Link utilizes the strengths of his diverse army to vanquish all other armies. The player gets to play the role as all the different elite warriors Link has gained and uses their abilities during the different wars as well. At the pure black marble tower, a large army defends and hundreds of magicians cast spell from the walls. Even with many losses, Link and his army push on and break through the wall.
Link and the strongest of his army push through the final dungeon and into the boss room. The final boss is a great, powerful enemy. He tells them that he was selected by the Goddesses to stop evil, but there was no evil. He tells them that the true evil is what is inside everyone and that he used that to try to kill off all the people and stop the real evil. The warriors are separated and many of them die. Link, the only remaining uninjured warrior, confronts the wizard and fights in an epic sword battle. Link kills him, but becomes infested by the wizard’s own evil. Link realizes this and the cycle of how the Goddess chosen warrior destroys the evil, then creates it. He plunges his sword through himself to end the cycle and peace is returned upon the lands of Hyrule.
Runner Up #2
ZU Username: TaffyPool
“Before time began, before spirits and life existed, three goddesses descended upon the chaos that was Hyrule…”
We all know the rest of the tale. Well, almost the rest of it. You see, at the point from which Din, Nayru and Farore departed, the triforce remained; but that wasn’t all. Anticipating the greed and corruptibility of the races that would come to inhabit Hyrule, these deities each sacrificed a piece of themselves to give life to a spirit – a demi-goddess – who would watch over the triforce, defend it against those with evil in their hearts, and wait – simply wait – for the arrival of a Hyrulian hero who could rightfully claim the triforce and take over as its guardian.
She was the Protector of the Light, and she performed her duty admirably, watching – in solitude – the growing Hyrulian civilization and repelling intruders on the Sacred Realm. But, in time, she was tricked. An enemy appeared who convinced her he wasn’t. The wisdom of Nayru could not see through his deceit and even the power of Din could not save her from defeat when, too late, she recognized the villain’s dark intentions. Only her courage, gifted generously by the goddess Farore, protected her from nothingness and willed her – though weakened – to stop waiting and instead seek out the true and rightful heir to the triforce.
The Protector had watched Hyrule and its inhabitants grow and had been pleased with the respect shown amongst its many races. Upon entering the world, she realized most had been had been quickly connived or overpowered by the dark-hearted villain who had defeated her and claimed the triforce. Only a few races – among them the lithe Zora, the simple Gorons, the elusive Forest People, and a fledgling monarchy of men flying a stylized red eagle as their banner – resisted his control. It was from this last group that the Protector found her hero – a young man, clad in a green traveler’s cloak.
He was alone – except for the dozen enemies surrounding him. He was unallied – except for the simple sword he swung protectively. Unable to help in her spectral form and fearful for the courageous man’s life, the Protector joins with his weapon, transforming it – for the first time – into the Master Sword and gifting it with the powers of the goddesses. Link, with blazing sword in hand, quickly scatters his attackers and shares his story with Adella, the Protector.
Both, Adella realizes, are after the same person: a man from the outliers, named Page. When Page returned from the Sacred Realm – with the triforce in tow – he made his power play, finding allegiance with some races and wresting it with force from others. Link, though an outlier himself, was a trusted guide to the royal company and the first person the young Queen turned to when the King and his caravan were attacked and captured by Page.
The Legend of Zelda: Protectors of the Light chronicles Link’s quest to weaken Page’s hold on the land of Hyrule, free the King and return the triforce to Adella. The Master Sword, as the embodiment of the demi-goddess, is equipped with several powers which Link uses in his voyage. The Power of Din gives the sword and its wielder strength for short bursts. Farore’s Courage sets the sword ablaze, lighting the darkness; it also allows the sword to hover in empty spaces, letting Link double-jump bigger gaps. Nayru’s Wisdom will, by most serious players, be underutilized. This will be Nintendo’s way of including a Super Guide – the sword pointing the proper path in confusing labyrinths or the correct order for a difficult puzzle.
Link travels Hyrule, assisting characters, gaining allies and defeating dungeons. He, of course, finds weapons and objects along the way, and occasionally returns to the modest Hyrule Castle to receive news from the Queen, who is kind toward Link and frightened for her King and her people. The adventure culminates in a showdown with Page, whose powers are devastating. Using skill, intelligence and strategy, Link barely defeats him. The King, with newfound conviction, sends his men and the allies Link has gained to dispatch Page’s minions.
Having successfully retrieved the triforce and found a new guardian, Adella binds herself fully to the Master Sword, promising to be there for Link and those who will come after. He becomes the new, living possessor of Farore’s Courage and the Protector of the Light.
~ ~ ~ ~
The tale ends as it begins: with an arrival. Returning to the castle, the King and Link are quickly ushered to the Queen’s side. As dawn arrives in Hyrule, so arrives a child – a girl – whom the Queen names Zelda. Link lays a protective hand on the swaddled child; a faint symbol glows through his glove.
Runner Up #1
ZU Username: Awakening
A light breeze sweeps the Hylian shoreline and the rising sun meets the crystal sands sparkling in the wind. A small ship appears on the horizon, the mast swaying slowly with the sea. Our hero, Link, is perched atop the mast, playing his ocarina – ‘The Ballad of the Wind Fish’ accompanying his lonely ship to shore. Hair bleached by years at sea, battle scarred by unknown adventures, the events of Koholint Island are years gone by. But Link has not returned to Hyrule until now: facing his home a changed man.
‘The Legend of Zelda: Hyrule Sleep’
Link visited the Island of Koholint in the dream world of the Wind Fish, saving the creature from the evil Nightmare. A task befitting a courageous hero, but one that came with a price.
Link can no longer sleep, trapped in consciousness, dreams are a just a shadow of reality. As a result, Princess Zelda’s past connection with Link has been severed. With no ability to sleep, her cries cannot reach his mind. The land of Hyrule remains forgotten to our hero, falling with his memories.
That is until one night, a familiar song catches the wind: a lullaby. A woman stands on the Hylian beach, singing to the sky. An ancient baton grasped in her hand, she conducts her song through the wind in hopes that a forgotten hero may return. A conjured gale pulls her song in its wake, a song fatefully caught by the sails of Link’s vessel.
Link arrives on Hyrule’s shores on a quest to discover the origin of the lullaby (‘Zelda’s Lullaby’) he heard at sea. Unfortunately, the well equipped Link loses his shield, bow and Pegasus boots upon upsetting a group of monkeys, who knock him out with a bunch of coconuts and steal his items. As he regains consciousness, Link discovers a silver, feminine creature at his feet. This creature (called “Annie”) asks Link about his dreams. “Did you dream, just now?”, she muses, “you can’t have, the closest you come to sleep is a knock to the head”.
Link is embarrassed at what she knows. “Never sleeping, never dreaming, these are things of monsters. But you are not a monster… Link”, she exclaims. Annie disappears, revealing Link’s sword and directs him to where the monkeys have hidden – the beach side caverns.
Inside the caverns, Link is plagued by the true nature of his curse. Not mere insomnia, but the physical manifestation of dreams, invincible monsters that resemble their real world counterparts. These manifestations only appear in darkness: the environment of sleep and dreams – something Annie explains. “You cannot sleep. But you must dream: so the dreams come to you!”, says Annie, “You cannot fight a dream, but I can”.
Link is tasked with calling Annie whenever he believes he’s fighting a hallucination. When doing so, she brutally destroys them through the strike of his sword. With Annie’s help, Link finds the thieving monkeys and reclaims his gear. Now ready to discover the source of the lullaby that he heard at sea.
Although Link does not remember, a lot has changed in Hyrule. Ganondorf is now the ruler of Central Hyrule. “Civilized” Moblins now inhabit Hyrule Castle, Castle Town, Hyrule Field and Kakariko Village. People are banned from these areas and are stuck living with Gorons, Zoras and Kokiri in the fringe communities. Gorons and Zoras are unhappy with sharing their land, while the child-like Kokiri have adopted the people of Castle Town as ‘parents’. Link discovers the owner of the mysterious lullaby is Princess Zelda, who now lives in the Kokiri forest community.
Zelda is concerned that returning to Hyrule has not cured his amnesia. Although Link has agreed to help Zelda overthrow Ganondorf, as his quest progresses, she begins to hear strange rumours of his actions. Link is tasked with reuniting the people with Gorons and Zoras so he may discover the Celestial Heart of each community, a power that will reunite the innocent races of Hyrule and help them take it back.
It soon becomes apparent that Link has been killing innocent companions on his quests. Princess Zelda witnesses this, when Annie appears as Link kills a farmer during the night. Link, thinking it was a Moblin, is shocked to discover Annie is the cause of his hallucinations. The creature is feeding off Link’s memories, denying him his past and using his insomnia to create dreams and hallucinations that sabotage his quest.
Zelda tells Link of an ancient temple, which will allow him to sleep, enter his dreams and destroy Annie for good. As the bearer of the Celestial Hearts, Link must escape Annie’s control so they can attack Ganondorf’s kingdom and free Hyrule…
Grand Prize Winner
ZU Username: The Eternal
Our story begins in the republic of Hafen, an idyllic country of green fields and tropic coasts. Our hero lives a quiet life in a frontier village just large enough to warrant its own inn. Link serves as part of the town watch; a necessity near the dark woods to the north. He performs his duties admirably, keeping predators away from the livestock and slaying the occasional monster. Things begin to change, however, when he hears a mysterious voice in his slumber, warning of a coming danger. His fellow villagers dismiss these as simple dreams, and a reassured Link relaxes for a time.
Of course, this tranquility is shattered when the village comes under attack one night. Under the pale moonlight glimpses of the enemy can be seen; faded spears held in the hands of shadows. The town watch rallies, but their attacks prove ineffective against the ghostly soldiers. Only when Link arrives does the tide turn: our hero’s blade cuts through the shadowy horde with a blazing light. Even so, it’s all he can do to hold the line; steadily the town watch is pushed back toward the town’s fort. Sealing the gates behind them, they look on as the enemy vanishes with the dawn.
Fearing further attacks, the villagers send Link (the only one still fit to ride a horse) to Hafen’s capital to request aid from its army. Link immediately sets out, but when the journey takes him into the night, he again comes under attack. Surrounded, he is driven off a steep cliff, barely surviving his fall into a chilly river. Unconscious, he again hears the voice from his dreams, this time given a face: a fey spirit named Adelle urges him back on his feet and back on his quest, guiding him to the safety of a healing fountain.
Rejuvenated and steadfast, our hero finally arrives at Hafen’s capital. He finds, however, that his journey is far from unique; bands of refugees have come to the capital seeking asylum, each driven from their homes by the force termed the Army of Wraiths. Swamped with entreaties, Hafen’s counsel denies Link an audience. Guided by Adelle and his own determination, Link infiltrates the castle, eventually finding himself not-so-stealthily tumbling into the council’s meeting room.
Understandably perturbed, the three councilors order Link to be taken away in irons. Just as the guards are hauling him off, however, the light from the previous nights returns, revealed as a glowing mark on the back of his hand. Curious now, the councilors listen to Link’s story. Impressed with the boy’s speed in traversing the countryside, they ask that he ride to each of the land’s provinces and warn them of the encroaching foe. They also vow to send a relief force to Link’s village.
As he sets out once more, Link hears Adelle, who asks him to seek out several shrines in the lands he visits. This is harder than it sounds, however, as the Army of Wraiths has already moved far into Hafen. After aiding the people in each area, he fights his way to the heart of each shrine, wherein a beacon lies. Activated by the mark on Link’s hand, these lights flare to life, generating a protective aura which holds back the Army of Wraiths. With each lighting he receives a vision—a vision of war and conquest, somehow connected to the lands lying beyond the forbidden forest to the north.
Returning to the capital, Link finds word of his exploits has spread. He has been dubbed the Prophet of Light, as his presence signals the impending protection of the beacons. After Link explains his visions, the council is skeptical; as far as anyone knows, there is nothing to the north but the vast, dark forest, an evil place which devours anyone who enters. Nonetheless, our hero heeds the call of destiny and journeys north, disappearing into the shade of the trees.
Guided by Adelle and harried by the wraiths, Link eventually emerges on the far side of the woods, and finds himself in a broken, deserted land. Evidence of a once-proud nation still remains in the traces of architecture; symbols from Link’s visions can be found adorning the ruins. Finally, our hero comes to what can only be the land’s former capital. It is here that Adelle reveals that this was once the great kingdom of Hyrule, cast down by the gods when its people turned to conquest. The Army of Wraiths is what remains of that selfish desire: pure aggression taking on human shape, bent on fulfilling the edicts of a long-dead king. For peace to return, Link must journey back in time to right what went wrong in the kingdom of Hyrule.
Whatever mysteries await, it is clear our hero’s journey has only just begun…
Thanks for entering!
To all who entered our first true Bank of Hyrule contest, thank you! You fueled a ridiculous contest and it’s been a joy to hold. We’re going to be holding another one soon – or, as soon as you want it.
The next Bank of Hyrule contest will happen once we’ve got another $100 in donations deposited into The Bank. If you liked this contest, please consider adding to this contest fund! The members of ZU appreciate it.
Once again, congratulations to our five runners up, and to our grand prize winner – you’ll be receiving an email shortly with details about how to claim your brand new DSi.