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?