Power on. Title screen. Name entry. Start.
Jesus is on the scene from the very first seconds in The Legend of Zelda. The action opens with our hero, Link, standing alone in an empty canyon. It's the outset of his adventure – the beginning of his quest.
And he's almost entirely unequipped. Besides the cap on his head and the shirt on his back, this young would-be rescuer holds only one tool you'd traditionally associate with a hero.
And on that shield, an emblem. A single decoration.
The Legend of Zelda begins with this simple image – and it's a sign of things to come. A connection. A link between worlds that are inseparably intertwined.
But the collision of Christianity and Nintendo's fantasy world of Hyrule hasn't always been as easy to see as on that first game's first screen – so this book will exist to uncover those connections. To place them side-by-side.
To pit Zelda vs. Jesus.
Hey there, Nintendo fans of the Internet. It's me, Lucas M. Thomas. I'm hoping mine's a name that rings a bell for you, as I've been working for the past six years to bring you the best possible reviews, previews and features covering our favorite video game company over at IGN. I've done everything from Virtual Console coverage to eShop updates, from reviewing cult classics to designing in-depth infographics. Late last year I even wrote and illustrated an entire digital children's book starring Kirby, for goodness sakes. So safe to say I've been the IGN Nintendo Jack-of-all-Trades since 2006.
And now I'm going to bring you a book. This book – Zelda vs. Jesus – that I've had in the works for several years and that now needs your help in getting the word out! (Plus, pledging your support through Kickstarter here lets you go ahead and pre-order copies for yourself!)
This topic fascinates me. Ever since I first picked up an NES controller
in the '80s and first sent Link on his quest to save the first Zelda,
I've wondered just why there appeared to be hints of Christianity
scattered all throughout the land of Hyrule. From the Cross on Link's
shield to the fact that he picks up a Bible as a "book of magic." From
the other Cross he finds in Zelda II that lets him see hidden ghosts
flying around to the fact that he, years later, is swallowed by a whale
in Ocarina of Time (which you absolutely can't witness without thinking
back to a Sunday School lesson about Jonah in the Old Testament.)
So what's going on here? Just how many links are there between Link's adventures and the imagery and ideas of real-world religion? Are these parallels between Christianity and the Zelda games intentional or not, and what implications would the answer to that question have? I want to explore this territory – to dig deeper into one of gaming's most venerable franchises – and see what we can find.
And why now? It's the perfect time to do so – here in the wake of the release of The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, a game that pushed prayer, goddesses and spirituality to the forefront of the series' narrative more than ever before. And I'm timing the book to release just in time for Zelda's 25th American anniversary this August – while this Kickstarter campaign is launching just in time for Easter, the biggest day for Jesus all year.
So please consider backing Zelda vs. Jesus and pre-ordering your copy right now through a pledge on this Kickstarter page. If you're a video game fan, you're investing in a deeper, more thoughtful, more thorough piece of writing than is ever regularly available to you – there are tons of great news pieces, editorials and reviews written every day in the games journalism world, but nearly no one is writing full-on books for your consumption. Let me be the one.
And if you're coming into this from the Jesus side of things, as a
Christian who perhaps knows next to nothing about video games, well –
consider the bridge-the-gap potential of a project like this. Investing
in Zelda vs. Jesus is backing something that could impact your church's
youth group, for just one example – connecting with their interests in a
relevant, modern way that just might encourage them to look deeper into
the entertainment products they consume every day.
Thanks so much for your time and consideration, everyone. Now let's do this. Let's pit Zelda vs. Jesus.