I’ve been playing The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker and thinking about the legend of Zelda—the central narrative of good and evil and light and dark that these games keep retelling. Wind Waker opens with a cutscene that summarizes the series’ recurring myth. Once, the land of Hyrule contained great power in the form of the Triforce. An evil man named Ganondorf stole that power for himself but was defeated by a young boy clothed in green. The young boy went away. The evil man came back. During the course of the game, it’s revealed that Hyrule was submerged beneath a flood in an attempt to seal away evil forever.
It didn’t work, of course. If evil was completely banished, there would be no game to play and no story to retell. Wind Waker’s intro cutscene presents Hyrule’s history as a sort of folktale, as if the story had been passed down from generation to generation. But you, the player, know the story. You’ve lived the story. If you played through Ocarina of Time, you got to travel across Hyrule and defeat Ganondorf yourself.