Zelda in Simulacra

Miyamoto, Maddin’s ‘My Winnipeg,’ and my grandfather’s dollhouse

Annie Mok
Annie Mok
Jan 27, 2016 · 12 min read

Dollhouses

Koji Kondo’s familiar refrain from Zelda picks up quickly in the beginning of the Nintendo 3DS game The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds (2013). The game uses the same overworld as the popular Super Nintendo entry The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (1991), and the same top-down oblique view. The view gives the effect of little figurines traversing a landscape.

“Pop-out” / “fall-in” styles of 3D
Blathers in ‘Animal Crossing: New Leaf’
Drawing after a photo of Michelangelo’s ‘David’ (1504)

Tiny garden

Shigeru Miyamoto directed, designed, and produced the original Legend of Zelda game for the NES in 1986, and acted at least as a producer for most of the following Zelda games. A year before, he worked with the hyper-linear platforming of Super Mario Bros. (1985).

Under the under

Carl Jung wrote that stories reflect dreams, because both take emotional and psychological material, and use fantastical imagery and allusive leaps in logic to get at the truths we subconsciously hide from ourselves.

Link faces the cave.

Time for extreme measures

Around when I started playing A Link Between Worlds, I got obsessed with the Guy Maddin movie My Winnipeg (2007). The film comes as the last part of a memoir trilogy, following Cowards Bend at the Knee (2003), and Brand Upon the Brain! (2006). Each silent film-inflected piece shows an oblique, magical take on Maddin’s autobiography, just as Miyamoto created a dream-mirror to his own experience. My Winnipeg posits itself as a documentary. An actor plays Maddin, and a voiceover from the real Maddin resonates as the actor Maddin sits in a darkened train car that passes through Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. The reduction of the perspective helps to create the frame, in a small, manageable space, with which we move through the narrative and the city.

“White. Block. House.”

Reverberations

As Rachel Pollack says, the Magician’s gesture—pointing up and holding an instrument, and one hand pointing to the ground—suggests the phrase,

p.s.

If you’d like to read more of my work about games along similar lines, you can check out my 2014 comic “Shadow Manifesto” part 1, also published by ZEAL / Slept In Comics.

SOURCES

97 Percent True, dir. Guy Maddin, documentary produced for the Criterion edition of Brand Upon the Brain!

ZEAL

ZEAL is an online publication of criticism, comics, and…

ZEAL

ZEAL is an online publication of criticism, comics, and more on the least talked about things worth talking about, with art, essays, and comics from exciting and diverse new voices. You can support our work and get access to exclusive editor's desk content by becoming a member.

Annie Mok

Written by

Annie Mok

Annie Mok is a cartoonist, writer, illustrator, Rookie contributor, singer in See-Through Girls http://t.co/EVWI8C9uRG http://t.co/4krgh7TqMD

ZEAL

ZEAL is an online publication of criticism, comics, and more on the least talked about things worth talking about, with art, essays, and comics from exciting and diverse new voices. You can support our work and get access to exclusive editor's desk content by becoming a member.