The Legend of Zelda
    by Laurie Taylor

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Although many of you may instantly recognize that music, for those of you who don't, that's the themesong for the first Legend of Zelda video game. While The Legend of Zelda has gone through many updates and revisions, with a new version out last month, the basic story remains the same.

The Legend of Zelda follows in the tradition of other epic stories like Beowulf or The Lord of the Rings -- a malevolent power is menacing the land, and it is up to the hero to vanquish it. The game takes place in the fantastic country of Hyrule, which is filled with monsters and great challenges; it is where we play as Link, a spunky youngster who grows with the story in valor, understanding, and strength.

In each version of The Legend of Zelda, Hyrule is plagued by an ancient evil in the human form of a man named Gannon. Gannon's name and evil ways change slightly from game to game, but in each he tries to take over and destroy peaceful and happy Hyrule. Gannon's destruction begins by his taking, breaking, and scattering the pieces of the Triforce, a magical object that holds great energy and is inherently good. That's why Gannon always seeks to keep it from any who would oppose him. The Triforce can be split into smaller pieces (Power, Wisdom, and Courage) and must be united in order to bring it back to its full strength. Yet, by dividing it, the people of Hyrule can often hide a piece or two while waiting for the hero to gather the rest together. That hero comes in the form of Link. Each Legend of Zelda game has taken Link on trips through the intricate landscape of Hyrule, from its small quaint towns, to its mountains and dark caves. Link even voyages out to sea, to castles filled with terrible monsters; all in search of the Triforce so that he may fight Gannon and restore a peaceful balance to Hyrule.

Link's many quests to help the villagers, and his valiant battles are the stuff that classic myths and fantasies are made of -- from the Hobbit to Harry Potter. But with this added pleasure: we get to play along, too. As Link, we experience both his frustration (for example, when he fails to defeat the goblin-like Moblins or the Octoroks) and his joy (when he discovers the secret fairy pond in the hidden forest). And, with the newest Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker released last month, you'll notice that the music just keeps getting better.

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Copyright 2003 Laurie Taylor

Today's program reviewed the following work:
Legend of Zelda: THe Wind Waker

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April 2003
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"Recess!" is a co-production of the University of Florida's Center for Children's Literature and Culture and WUFT-FM, "Classic 89."