I love Zelda

One highlight of my summer has been avoiding the hotter days by staying indoors and playing Twilight Princess on my Nintendo Gamecube. Yeah, I'm old school like that -- playing a game that's more than five years old on a superseded console.

This is the second Zelda quest I've undertaken. The first was Wind Waker, a charming cartoony game that I've since learned was a radical departure from the Zelda franchise but popular enough to spawn two sequels on the Nintendo DS Lite.

The Zelda games are a popular Nintendo property but seem to be little-known among non-gamers. Zelda does not have the same brand recognition as Mario or Donkey Kong and this is probably because she's something of a secondary character. You never actually play the character of Zelda, except in the game Super Smash Brothers Melee -- which is a great multi-player game where all of the Nintendo characters battle it out.

Twilight Princess has the familiar narrative that unfolds as the central character reaches the rite of passage where he is given the green hero outfit and undertakes a quest to save his kingdom. The character can be seen as a version of the green man, a symbol of rebirth or maybe eternal youth like Peter Pan.

There are little variations between the games of course, particularly in the equipment found along the way. The twilight in Twilight Princess seems a dated twist though, reminding me of The Matrix but maybe also the nothingness in Neverending Story or possibly the end of the world in this Madonna song.

A couple of things I've noticed in Twilight Princess have got me wondering about messages in the game, probably because as a former cultural studies student I seem to over-analyse everything.

Are there messages in the game? For example, often it's easy to avoid fighting all the monsters. Many times I've found it easiest to just run away and, usually, the monsters don't bother chasing. I like to think it's a lesson for players that confrontation can be avoided. This seems to be emphasised in that you don't get points for killing things. In fact, you don't get points at all. The key objective is to overcome various challenges along the way.

The other lesson that I like to think is in the game, is the way that you very quickly fill your purse and are unable to keep collecting the gems which are used as currency. This seems to me to be a message that making money isn't the goal, again reinforcing the view that you need to succeed at the objectives required to fulfill the quest. Money is means to achieve your goals, not a goal in itself.

This focus on achieving your goals rather than seeking confrontation and collecting money seem to me to be a good philosophy to impart and one of the reasons why I enjoy sharing Zelda with my kids.