A Child Meets Zelda: Is This Learning?

One of our testers forwarded me an impassioned, unsolicited email to Nintendo that described an idea for Zelda. The following copy is unedited. I think it helps make the following points about 13 year old female players—

  • If I didn't tell you that the author was female, would you have been able to tell? (Point -- don't stereotype or underestimate female gamers).
  • Gender is a huge part of a child's developing sell esteem. Designers, don't forget or underestimate this. Let the player fill in the blank on the hero role.
  • Zelda and games like it will be the "Wizard of Oz" and the "Gone With the Wind" of the current generation.
  • Writing quality (and level of scholarship/thinking) increases with motivation. The Zelda experience has been a powerful inspiration to her writing. I wonder if her teachers know about this?
  • Nintendo scores points for at least responding. She told me "at least they didn't just delete it."
  • Game designers, take note -- this isn't a bad idea.
  • What do you think of Nintendo's response to this child?

(names & emails have been changed because this child is 13 years of age)

--- Original Message ---
From: anonymoushuman@yahoo.com
Received: 10/19/08 12:59:02 PM PDT
To: nintendo@noa.nintendo.com
Subject: Webform: Game Related > Other

Hi Nintendo!
I'm (name withheld) and I am a huge fan of your games. I recently read an article saying that you wanted to create another Legend of Zelda game that does not follow the save the princess plan. I, as a gamer who talks to other gamers, have some ideas that would work well for a Zelda game. I would greatly appreciate it if you read the whole message and email me back whether you like the idea or not.
My idea is save the hero.
I know that a lot of Zelda gamers enjoyed the idea of having a Dark Link. That's why I think that Dark LInk should be the main bad guy in the game. I have seen pictures and heard abput 3 different types of Dark Link; the weakest/first stage one that has purple hair and red eyes, the middle/second stage one that is the most common (black hair and red eyes), and then the strongest/final stage one that has white hair and white eyes/no pupils. In the begining Dark Link should not seem as big of a problem, Gannondorf still seems to be the problem. Link will have encounters with Dark Link as you get farther in the game. As Dark Link gets better and turns into the 2nd and 3rd stages he will eventually be much more powerful than Gannon. In fact, he will control Gannon just because he can.
Now that was just the bad guy part of my plan. When you get about half way, probably less, Link will get captured by Dark Link. And not just any normal capture, Link gets stuck in the Twilight realm. Link can't do much there so you play as a different character. You will then play as Zelda, which would be a great addition to the Wii because of her abilities. Adding magic to the game would be a huge hit, especially with the Wii controlers.
I think it would be a good idea to also be able to play as Midna during the game. The 2 princesses fighting side by side to rescue Link. Midna would be great for getting through mazes and solving obsticles and Zelda would be the one that would do all the fighting. This is also a great chance to bring back the much loved Shiek. I know that a lot of players would enjoy that.
Please email me back! I want to know your opinion, whether it's a good opinion or bad.

Contact me at anonymoushuman@yahoo.com or (222)-222-2222.


------ Please do not remove your unique tracking number! ------

--- On Sun, 10/19/08, Nintendo Customer Support <nintendo@noa.nintendo.com> wrote:
From: Nintendo Customer Support <nintendo@noa.nintendo.com>
Subject: Re: Webform: Game Related > Other <<#63749-118753#>>
To: anonamoushuman@yahoo.com
Date: Sunday, October 19, 2008, 7:18 PM

Hi (**), I enjoyed reading your e-mail.

I also wanted to let you know that, although Nintendo really does appreciate your interest in sharing your ideas with us , we are unable to pass along or accept unsolicited ideas for legal reasons. For more information, please visit the following address:


Also, be sure to check our website's What's New section (http://www.nintendo.com/whatsnew) regularly for all the latest information and announcements regarding our products.


Barbara Soules
Nintendo of America Inc.