by Stephanie Klimov
Sharing the experience of enjoying The Legend of Zelda games has instilled a (hopefully) lifelong love of the series and adventure in my little one.
All photos were taken and provided by the author.
Parenthood is a life-changing journey that many people travel through in life. No person or book can prepare you for this transformation, and it comes with seemingly impossible challenges and amazing rewards. If you ask any parent, I would say most–if not all–say they would not have it any other way.
In addition to attending to a child’s basic needs, parents have an opportunity to share their hobbies and passions with them. Sharing your favorite music, games, and foods strengthens the parent-child bond and perhaps forges new traditions from old ones. One can even conclude that the path through parenthood is a lot like Link’s path to all his quests in The Legend of Zelda. Link is confronted with his destiny–where he must choose to answer this calling (or not) and overcome trials and tribulations while creating memories along the way.
My parents discouraged me from playing video games when I was a child. They firmly believed it “turned your brain into mush” and was a complete waste of time. However, I could not let go of my earliest memories watching my cousin play The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. The impression it made on me lasted into adulthood, and when I had my son, Nikolai, I knew that I had to share my passion for Zelda with him.
For my son’s first Halloween, he was only 1 month old, and I bought him a Link onesie while I dressed up as Zelda. A few years later when I felt he was old enough, I played Ocarina of Time while he watched. Nikolai immediately took to the boy without a fairy, and he particularly enjoyed watching Link navigate temples and fight bosses. I felt on top of the world every time he cheered when I collected another medallion (his favorite was the “blue one”). After playing that game, he asked for more, so we watched Let’s Plays on Youtube of various Zelda titles, like Twilight Princess and Skyward Sword.
Nikolai soon became a Zelda expert, and he enjoyed flipping through Hyrule Historia just as much as I did. In fact, when he was about five, he showed interest in The Legend of Zelda without my prompting. He loved drawing Link in dungeons of his own imagination. He was also Link for another two Halloweens, and now he plays Mario Kart 8 Deluxe as Link (and Link only).
Even though it is just a video game franchise, there is a distinct sense of pride that swells in my heart whenever he and I bond over Zelda. Perhaps a little has to do with the fact my parents and I rarely shared fun hobbies together, but most of it has to do with creating memories together. In fact, I am very much looking forward to gifting him his very first Nintendo Switch for his seventh birthday (my day-one Switch passed down–let’s get real here). With it, he will have access to play all the Zelda games on Nintendo Switch Online as well as the Zelda games I own for that console: Breath of the Wild, Link’s Awakening, and Skyward Sword. Pretty soon, I will be the one watching him play Zelda games, not the other way around–and when that time comes, I’ll be the happiest momma in the world.
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