Link. The protagonist of The Legend of Zelda series whom needs no introduction.....but will get one anyway. You know the fables: a great evil has come to the land, born from darkness and bent on claiming an ancient power to rule the realm. Only one hero can stop it: the hero in green, with his Master Sword drawn and courage in his heart. Link! The Hero of Time! Or the Hero of Hyrule....Waker of the Winds....Hero Chosen by the Gods.....or any of the other dozen of titles he carries. With more versions than Baskin Robbins has flavors, Link has heroically waged battle against evil time and time again. His story has been retold over the years, crossing generations and consoles. He has been a cornerstone of video gaming ever since his debut in 1986, in “The Legend of Zelda.”
Created by the ever-talented, incredibly attractive Shigeru Miyamoto of Nintendo, Link was conceived as the protagonist to carry the Nintendo Entertainment System into the realm of RPGs. It was a direct contrast to their previous hit, Super Mario Bros., because whereas Mario featured linear, platforming gameplay, The Legend of Zelda consisted of a large overworld filled with dungeons and secret passages. Miyamoto has even gone on to say that Link's adventure was based around his own childhood, playing in grassy fields and dreaming of grand journeys of danger. All these elements combined to bring us Link's debut game and introduced us to a pivotal character of the game industry.
Since Link's premiere game, Nintendo has gone on to build on the legend of Link by creating new, separate stories with new evils to face. He's been in.....*takes deep breath*....The Legend of Zelda, The Adventure of Link, A Link to the Past, Link's Awakening, Ocarina of Time, Majora's Mask, Oracle of Ages, Oracle of Seasons, Four Swords, The Wind Waker, Four Swords Adventures, The Minish Cap, Twilight Princess, Phantom Hourglass, Spirit Tracks, Skyward Sword and A Link Between Worlds. Because of the various stories of Link, there's not a consistent version that has lasted throughout the legends. Each Link is different from the last, faces a new evil and must save the realm on his own merit. However, even among all these variations, there are common characteristics: Link is always in green, has blonde hair, wields a sword and faces evil with unyielding courage, sometimes bestowed on by the gods.
Regardless of the lack of continuity in character, Link is undeniably one of the most recognizable video game characters. Nintendo has used him as one of their flagship characters, appearing in many other Nintendo products. Link has even made guest spots in non-Nintendo works, such as the Soul Caliber series and The Legend of Zelda television series (Excuuuuuuuse me, princess!). But if that weren't convincing enough, Link has been formally recognized over and over. Game Informer named Link the Number One Hero of 2006, Nintendo Power named him their second favorite hero in 2010, and in 2005 Link received his own star on the Walk of Game in San Francisco, California.
Because of all this, Link has cemented his place among the video game character legends. But it's not just because of his numerous appearances that entitles him to a spot among the gods. It's Link himself and the message he brings that is truly what draws fans to love him. Link's tales are ones of triumphing over evil when all hope seems lost. To bravely take a stand and fight for what is right. These morals will take us on a fantastic journey which inevitably ends with the world, and sometimes ourselves, in a better place. This why we love Link and will always stand by him in the coming years. For sometimes, all you need is a little courage.