Exploring the Psychology of “The Legend of Zelda” at SXSW

Credit: Nintendo

It’s true that SXSW brings tons of fun but what really gets me going is the intellectual stimulation. The panels are absolutely not to be missed. My favorite panel was in discussion about the Psychology behind the game “The Legend of Zelda.”

I was really most fascinated by the discussion around how Princess Zelda has evolved over time. The Psychologist pointed out how in Super Smash Brothers she’s depicted as a warrior, not the damsel in distress she was in the original 1986 version of the game.

Dr. Anthony Bean (@videogamedoc), Dr. Rachel Kowert (@drkowert), Dr. Emory Daniel (@fusrodoc), and Dr. Shane Tilton (@silnan) discuss the importance of The Psychology of The Legend of Zelda and how it relates it to our own everyday lives.

This discussion highlighted how Zelda has evolved over time to have her own sense of agency. It made me think how gaming can be used to both reinforce or shape social constructs like gender norms. I’m thankful that today’s little gamer girls have an example that shows them that they don’t have to simply be victims but that they can fight and aid in their own salvation when faced with adversity.