I decided to get out of the comfort zone, which is good to do now and then, and read The Psychology of Zelda: Linking Our World to the Legend of Zelda Series, edited by Dr. Anthony M. Bean. The sole synopsis caught my attention and thought that it would be great to read something different and see how this series could help its players and fans. Turns out that there is more than meets the eye.
The Psychology of Zelda presents a series of essay that examine how The Legend of Zelda series has different psychological elements and effects in their players. From exploring the Jungian concept of the Shadow and explaining the Five Stages of Grief to discovering lessons about pursuing life’s greater meaning or the evolution of the princess as a female character are just a couple of the topics touched in this book.
I was a little bit disappointed not to see any essay written by Dr. Anthony M. Bean himself, but given the high quality of the content I cannot complain in the end. He selected well developed and research papers, which go straight to the point but also explain several ideas at the same time when needed.
I was particularly fascinated by Stephen F. Kuniak’s It’s Dangerous to go Alone: The Hero’s Journey in The Legend of Zelda. I heard about The Hero’s Journey but never read something as clarifying as this essay, which also included several meanings on the stages and how players could understand each of them. It was my favorite one in The Psychology of Zelda with no doubt.
But in general terms, speaking about the book as a whole, I have to say that readers don’t need to have a vast experience and/or knowledge about the series. Dr. Anthony M. Bean selected essays that could be understood by all readers, even if they knew only the basics about this universe, not to mention that, although it is an academic book, all of them had simple language, just a little bit too formal in some cases.
As I said before, it is great to go for an unexpected reading option sometimes. You never know what you will find, and I am glad I took The Psychology of Zelda: Linking Our World to the Legend of Zelda Series. It is a well-known fact that videogames are not only entertainment, that they also provide teachings and valuable lessons in an attractive way (ask anything about Greek mythology to God of War’s fan if you don’t believe me,) hence I am so happy to see books like this one in the market.
If you agree with me, want to see this series under a different lens, or simply discover what the young ones are learning in Hyrule when incarnating Link, do as I did and give this book a chance. In the meantime, I will be waiting for a new book from Dr. Anthony M. Bean. He got a new reader.
Print Length: 256 pages
Publisher: Smart Pop (February 19, 2019)
Publication Date: February 19, 2019
About the Editor:
Dr. Anthony Bean specializes in video games, children & adolescents, and the virtual worlds played in by all ages. He is considered an expert in this growing field, has been published extensively in the discipline. He works with children, adolescents, and adults who play video games and their families to better understand the immersive psychological effects video games have upon the individual and resulting family dynamics. Dr. Bean utilizes video game character identification techniques and other archetypal experiences to understand and develop intrinsic motivations for playing, personal identity, and discovering conscious and unconscious conflicts, cognitions, and behaviors. He has worked with children, adolescents, and adults on discovering their own symbolic transformations through the playing of video games and dealing with depression, trauma, anxiety, social isolation, and other common diagnoses to great success.
Dr. Anthony Bean can be followed on Twitter @VideoGameDoc
List of Contributors:
Jonathan Erickson, Stephen F. Kuniak, Louise Grann, Anthony M. Bean, Larisa A. Garski, F. Cary Shepard, Emory S. Daniels, Justine Mastin, Kelsey Klatka, Shane Tilton, Angie Banham Mullins, Melisa Huntley and Wind Goodfriend
About the Reviewer:
Bader Saab is a digital journalist and solitary, eclectic witch interested in the darker side of magic and divination. Besides reading and writing, Bader also enjoys studying the Gothic subculture, which he belongs to, learning new languages and making endless lists of movies, music and the like. He can be found on Instagram as @saab.bader.