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ISBN 978-0-8126-9654-7


288 pages

(Fall 08)

The Legend of Zelda and Philosophy

I Link Therefore I Am

Edited by Luke Cuddy
Volume 36 in the Popular Culture and Philosophy® series

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Like novels, operas, and epic poems before them, video games have transcended their early outcast status, surviving the sneers of the ignorant and the slings and arrows of self-appointed culture bosses. Video games now boldly claim recognition as the fulfillment of Richard Wagner's dream: The Work of Art of the Future. For all those millions who have grown up with Zelda, and the new millions who enter the Zelda universe each year, this is the first philosophical investigation of the rules of Hyrule, the personality of Link, the awesome power of the Triforce, and the enigmatic quality of Zelda herself.

"A thinking adventure worthy of Link and gamers everywhere. Level up!"

— David Gerding, game developer and professor of Interactive Media at Columbia College

"A landmark volume confirming that video games not only reshape our notions of space, time, and authorial voice, but can also address deep philosophical questions—and even raise some new ones."

— Kurt Squire, columnist for Computer Games magazine and co-founder of

"Like the Hylian hero who seeks to reunite the Triforce, readers of The Legend of Zelda and Philosophy will emerge from their quest having fused criticism, philosophy, and culture into a single relic. This relic not only glows with the virtues of Zelda as a work of human creativity, but also legitimates the ways video games participate in the long history of philosophical inquiry."

— Ian Bogost, author of Unit Operations: An Approach to Videogame Criticism

"In this passionate, well-argued, and intriguing book, philosophical thinkers who are also gamers find that the Zelda games have so much to teach us (besides where to find the Hookshot). Millions of gamers experience the Zelda universe as both deep and believable, despite the games' minimalist stories. Could this be because of their depth of philosophical meaning?"

— Chris Kohler, author of Retro Gaming Hacks and Power-Up: How Japanese Video Games Gave the World an Extra Life

A longtime gamer, Luke Cuddy now teaches and writes philosophy, a welcome escape from the more onerous responsibility of fighting Ganon. He has contributed to Quentin Tarantino and Philosophy: How to Philosophize with a Pair of Pliers and a Blowtorch (2007), Battlestar Galactica and Philosophy: Mission Accomplished or Mission Frakked Up? (2008), and various scholarly journals.

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