4 years ago
Let's face it. Nintendo is a pretty sexist company. After all, they were the first game developers to have a damsel in distress which has led to the infamous women-peril situation us gamers have become so accustomed to. Yet even though Nintendo doesn't always treat their ladies with the proper respect, they still have some great ones. Hence the purpose of this list: to recount the top ten female characters in Nintendo's cornucopia of franchises.
The criteria for this list is simple:
1. Entries can only be from NINTENDO franchises (which means no Lara Croft or Alex Vance)
2. The entries on this list are only from franchises I've played: Mario, Zelda, Metroid, Donkey Kong, and other more miniscule Nintendo franchises.
3. I'm by no means claiming my opinion to be the last word. If your favorite Nintendo lady isn't on this list, then leave a polite comment or make you own list or just SHUT UP!
And with that out of the way, let's get started10-Nana (Ice Climbers)
Starting the list with a rather obscure character, Nana (of 1985's NES Ice Climbers fame) was probably one of the first playable characters in gaming (aside from Ms. Pac Man), coming before even Peach or Samus. As impressive as that is, the reason why Nana is only at number 10 is because she has to put up with her sexist climbing buddy, Popo. Popo is a total doucebag. In the original Ice Climbers, player one would play as Popo, while Nana was controlled by the game's computer or player 2 and I can image how many angry younger brothers were complaining "No fair! I have to play as the girl!" No respect. But it only gets worse. Nana and Popo appear in Super Smash Bros Melee and Brawl and in both of those titles, (unless the player changes it) you automatically control Popo if you play as the Ice Climbers with Nana following his every move. And if Nana dies, then Popo is just fine and can keep on going. Yeah. Nintendo, you’re so sexist.9-Midna (Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess)
Note: I have never actually played Twilight Princess. But I have watched enough videos on YouTube to know what its about and to know that Midna is a pretty cool character. That and the fact that if I didn't put her on this list I'd have a whole bunch of angry blog readers down my throat. But really, I like Midna. She seems to be a whoole lot better than Navi (heck, a root canal would be better than Navi). Midna is super cute (or at least I think so) even without the Fused Shadow on her head and her sense of humor is awesome. The friendship/romance between her and Link's is much less serious than that of Link and Saria's but who really cares? Love connections, especially in the Zelda series are just plain confusing.8-Saria (Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time)
In the Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Link is quite the little heartbreaker. Throughout the duration of the game, he has four girls with major crushes on him: Zelda, Malon, Ruto, and Saria. From the minute I met Saria in Ocarina of Time I thought she was so great. At the time I had just thought she was some unimportant NPC, but from Link and Saria's bittersweet farewell on the bridge where she gives him the Fairy Ocarina to their final sad meeting seven years in the future, I knew that Saria was one of the best characters in the entire game. And she's also super helpful! Aside from the huge fact that she is the Forest Sage and that she gives you the Forest Medallion, her Ocarina song, appropriately titled "Saria's Song" is not only catchy, but it allows Saria to give you hints from anywhere. And I'd much rather take hints from Saria then from little Miss "HEY LISTEN!!"7-Dixie Kong (Donkey Kong Series)
Dixie Kong first appeared in Donkey Kong Country 2, but that isn't her claim to fame. The real reason why she's on this list is that she had her own game (Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble!) before even Peach got her own game. Not to mention that its a great game. Dixie Kong has since been regulated to spin off games in both the Donkey Kong and Mario series, but we can all remember this ape chick for her ability to use her hair as a weapon. Can you do that? Didn't think so.6-Princess Daisy (Mario Series)5-Goombella (Paper Mario: Thousand Year Door)4-Princess Peach (Mario Series)3-Rosalina (Super Mario Galaxy 1 & 2)2-Princess Zelda/Shiek/Tetra
4 years ago
Very rarely does a video game cause me to experience profound emotions. In fact, the most I've really ever felt out of video games are feelings of frustration over an impossible boss or maze-like area, annoyance at a side quest or pointless character, a giggle or two at some perfectly timed comedic relief, or brief satisfaction over success. Never has a video game brought me to tears or kept me up at night think about the deeper meaning within it. Not until I played the Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword for the Wii that is.
There are some who don't understand. Some who say that Skyward Sword is the black sheep of the Zelda bunch. That odd cousin in the family trying to be like other, older members. Those who will tear it to pieces with criticism such as "its art style looks like crap" or "the motion controls were awful" or "I miss Hyrule field". But that's not the point. Like a snowflake, every Zelda game is crafted differently and if they weren't then fans would get tired of the franchise quickly. The newest incarnation in the Zelda franchise is the poster child for that philosophy, proving that a mix of change and old tactics can give a fresh yet familiar outing.
There are three things I must say before I go any further though: 1. there will be major spoilers for Skyward Sword ahead and a few minor spoilers for other Zelda games (especially Ocarina of Time). 2. This is NOT a review of Skyward Sword. That is another article for another time. This is merely an analysis of the depth and emotion of this game. And 3. Skyward Sword is without a doubt my favorite game for the Wii, and my favorite Zelda game of all time (with Ocarina of Time coming in a very close second), so this may be a bit biased, but you know... ;)
Let's start with something simple that I think helps to convey emotion in Skyward Sword very well: the art style. Early Zelda games hardly focused on the art sytle at all, but when Wind Waker came around, art style became a discussed topic for Zelda affectionatos. Wind Waker had a light, cheerful cell-shaded style, while Twilight Princess' design was darker and more detailed. Skyward Sword takes a queue from both of these games, combing the cell-shaded technique with well-placed detail and realism to create a dreamy yet sophisticated look. Simple design choices helped to, in my opinion, really tie into the simplistic yet epic feel of the gameplay and story. The art style of the scenery of Skyward Sword is something akin to an impressionist (painting with soft, short strokes to represent the effect of light on objects) watercolor painting; the further away you are from something, the more blurry and out of focus it appears, giving you a very distant and broad sense of your surroundings. However, as you approach the background, it clears until the illusion shows off its details. This is a truly artistic technique, masterfully done. The characters are also simply designed, human characters appearing (for the most part) realistic, and other races in the game taking appearances based on the areas they are found in. For example the forest-dwelling Kikwis have plants sprouting from their backs to hide them from predators. Very clever on Nintendo's part. So for the most part, Skyward Sword creates a visually sweeping world that is enforced through a delicate, yet complex art style.
A series known for its music, the Legend of Zelda series has given us some classic tunes that will forever go down in video game music history. Who could forget the epic 8-bit theme that has been a staple song in the series ever since? Or how about the calming and gentle Zelda's Lullaby, which has been Princess Zelda's main theme ever since its appearance in Link to the Past and its elaboration in Ocarina of Time? I'm happy to say that both of these tunes and many more appear in Skyward Sword, which is the first game in the series to have fully orchestrated music. Already I have grown attached to many of the games memorable pieces such as the Ballard of the Goddess (which is actually Zelda's Lullaby played backwards :), Faron's Courage, the flying theme, and Fi's theme. The same genius who composed the music for the Super Mario Galaxy games, Mahito Yakota, was on board for Skyward Sword and the similarities between the games musical styles are evident, yet the broad scope for music in Skyward Sword is also there, with each and every song trying to convey a different feeling in someway. The game's dungeon themes all are simple songs, but containing some mystery in them, as if they are adding to the puzzles in the areas themselves. Skyloft's theme is a befitting song for the relaxed town above the clouds, with the percussion even changing as you enter the residential quarters of the town to make it more simple as opposed to the plaza and bazaar areas. The song that plays as you are soaring through the air on your Loftwing oozes adventure and excitement as you explore all that the sky has to offer. Ghirahim's theme is sinister and twisted much like the erratic and flamboyant demon lord himself, while Fi's theme, beautifully done with the simple piano and flute, is mysterious like your ever-helpful sword spirit and companion. Yet when it comes to emotionally impactful moments in the game, the music add to them in ways you never thought it could. For example (and the spoiler alerts go into effect right about now) when Zelda is about to enter her age-long slumber to keep Demise sealed away, the iconic Zelda's Lullaby plays while she is explaining the situation to Link. Its as though the song is sending Zelda off into her sleep, and not only that, but it makes the moment all the more tragic for our beloved hero. I could go on and on about the effectiveness in the emotion of the game's music, but there's not enough hours in the day.
Story-wise, Skyward Sword connects to the player like none other. If you're reading this artcle, changes are you have played Skyward Sword and know the games plot or at the very least you know the basics so I'm not going to elaborate too deeply. As a brief backstory, long before the land of Hyrule was founded, evil beings scourged the land, seeking to take the ultimate power of the gods of old (the Triforce) for their own. To protect the humans from these forces, the goddess Hylia gathered them on a small patch of earth and sent it skyward while the other races fought to push the forces back to where they came. Fast forward many years and we meet the first versions of Link and Zelda, living in the town above the clouds known as Skyloft. The two of them attend a knight academy and the game starts off with the annual Wing Ceremony, a Loftwing race to see who will graduate into full knighthood. Link, along with the class bully Groose and his cronies are competing in the race this year, and Zelda, who is Link's long-time friend, really wants him to win, so she wakes him up so that he can get some practice. A few misadventures later and Link emerges as victor of the Wing Ceremony. In celebration of the event, Link and Zelda go flying around Skyloft, but they are interrupted by a black tornado that sends Zelda plumitting to the world below and knocks Link unconscious. Upon awaking, Link hears a mysteious voice and follows it to the interior of the Goddess Statue in Skyloft and finds a sword. The spirit of the Sword, a being named Fi, informs Link that Zelda is still alive and tasks him with finding her, taking the mysterious sword with him as he descends into the unknown of the world below, setting the events of Skyward Sword into motion.
The Link in Skyward Sword is easily the most connectable and the most in-depth out of the entire series. While still remaining a silent protagonist (like he should always be, a lesson we learned from the Zelda CD-i games), he is very expressive. His many facial expressions that we see throughout the game give us a small window into what our hero must be thinking. Whether it be a look of worry, anger or satisfaction, Nintendo did a wonderful job in making Link into a more open character, without making him irritating or controversial to fans. AKA, they didn't take a page from the last Metroid game, Other M, which basically ruined Samus Aran's character by making her a man-dependent, spineless, blabbermouth. Not that I hate Other M, but let's just say something like that for the Zelda series would not work.
Skyward Sword's Zelda is by far the most enjoyable one. She is youthful, playful, sweet, and empowered. Plus, she is the only Zelda to not be of any royal blood in the entire series. Her father is not a king, but simply the headmaster at the academy. This makes her immediately more relatable, which makes her all the more tragic of a character. She starts off as a simple girl, with a normal life, but by the end of the game, the weight of an entire world rests on her shoulders and not even by her own choice. She must give up her former, simple life in Skyloft to take up the duties of the goddess Hylia (Zelda is the mortal incarnation of Hylia) and enter an age-long sleep to protect the world from Demise. Yet not everything is hopeless for her however, because she has Link, who will go to the ends of the earth to ensure her safety. The relationship displayed between Link and Zelda in this game is intamate and deep. Instead of the two of them meeting in a courtyard or her calling to him through his dreams, their relationship boarders on an actual romance, something that Zelda fans have hoped for for a long time, but Nintendo has for the longest time been afraid to give us. At one point early on in the game, it even appears as though they are going to kiss, but of course its merely a tease on Zelda's behalf. One day, Link, one day...
Yes... I'm a girl... yes.... I'm a gamer..... yes.... i do play Nintendo games. NO I DO NOT PLAY CASUAL GAMES!!!!!!!! So basically, I am a major fangirl of all things Nintendo. My favorite series are Mario, Legend of Zelda and Metroid, and I also like Kirby, Yoshi, Wario, Donkey Kong, and the Super Smash Series. I'm a no-nonsense, hardcore gamer and I can't stand the fact that most guys think girls can only comprehend causal games or social games. SO DEAL WITH IT!
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