People Aren't Waiting Around For Nintendo To Make A Female Link

People Aren't Waiting Around For Nintendo To Make A Female Link

Nintendo may or may not ever give us a woman version of Link from Legend of Zelda, but where there's a will, there's a way. Or a game jam.

In recent times, there's been speculation that the next Legend of Zelda's Link will be a lady, not to mention an honest-to-goodness lady Link sighting in a Hyrule Warriors art book. But we can't play as her. Not in any dungeon-delving, innocent-vase-shattering adventures Nintendo's created, anyway.

Enter Female Link Jam. The goal of the online event is for people, whether longtime game designers, hobbyists, or people who've never made anything before, to spend April creating their own games starring a woman version of typically male keebler el -- er, hero, Link. What that means, however, is somewhat open to interpretation. Per the game jam's FAQ:

What does Zelda-style mean?

A bunch of things, actually.

Typically, the first thing that comes to mind is top-down action-RPG style. Tons of Zelda games are exactly that. But there's also a bunch that rely heavily on platformer sections. Not to mention all the ones where the player is directly behind Link, similar to a Mario 64 or Grand Theft Auto. It could also be 2D or 3D, by the way.

What's mainly important is that you keep the following iron-clad rules in mind:

  • The player is a female named Link. How you define this is up to you.
  • The game takes place in the Zelda universe. How you define this is up to you.

So you can get pretty creative within those confines. You could, for instance, do a modern version of Hyrule where lady Link fights valiantly to keep the art of traditional swordsmanship alive despite the fact that Ganondorf just opened a trendy MMA gym (with an attached smoothie shop!) down the street. Or a space-age one where lady Link explores fantastical cosmos, full of alien species based on classic Zelda species and enemies, aboard her conspicuously stallion-shaped spaceship, the E.P.O.N.A-III. Or a game where you're an item shopkeep aiding Link, and you've got to figure out what she wants based on facial expressions, gestures, and other non-verbal cues (Link's not much of a talker, after all). Or a street racing game called A (Very Tenuous) Link To The Fast And The Furious. Those are only a few pretty horrible ideas, and you have my full permission to steal them!

The Female Link Jam's organisers (rightly) point out that learning to make your own small game really isn't that hard:

Do you know what Construct 2 is? Go download the free version of that, and then download one of the .capx files I've put together at the following links. You can try them out in the browser first, and they're even fully-commented. Pair that with a few Construct 2 tutorial videos, and suddenly you have a pretty basic understanding of how to make a platformer or top-down Zelda-style game. Seriously. Take a day and figure it out.

Or heck, you can even jump into a text-based engine like Twine, learn the basics in five minutes, and go from there.

I highly recommend it. Do it with friends, if you can. I've participated in a few game jams, and -- though the games we created made my game reviewer bones want to forcibly exit my body -- they were wonderful, enlightening experiences. If you love games, one of the most interesting things you can do is try making one. Doesn't matter if it's good or not. I mean, there's a prize for this jam, but that's not the point. Just inhabiting that headspace for a bit will change the way you view the medium.

Also, I think a woman Link would be totally rad, and we deserve at least a few or 12 or 100 games about her. So, you know, get on that.


Comments

    Isn't this kind of asking for trouble? Using copyrighted characters (and probably assets) seems like a good way to get your jam shut down.

    Wouldn't it have been smarter for them to do a game jam promoting female main characters in general?

    I'm also kind of curious why it has to be specifically a female Link, wouldn't it be better to promote a main character Zelda or something that fits within the games lore already?

    Why are people so set on getting a Female Link of some form?
    This is weirdly common, I don't understand it. I'm gay so I know I wouldn't understand this exactly but I've never wished for Female characters to have Male versions.
    it's just perplexing to me. Maybe it's some sort of hidden attraction they're hiding! (I'm kidding) =)

      Yeah I've never really understood it either, if we were going to get a Zelda-style game with a female character, couldn't it just be Zelda/Sheik or an entirely new character as the protag? Why make Link a female?

      I don't think I'd mind if Link were a girl at some point, but I'm also fine if Link isn't. I quite enjoy the archetypes and lore they have going and I feel that the story of interlinked people stuck in a loop in time makes it fitting for the charters to be who they are (or were) again and again like a stuck record. That's pretty much what the overarching story of tLoZ is, in a nutshell.

      IMHO, their genders match that. It could be interesting to have Zelda save Link, or perhaps 'miss' Link could save prince Zelda. But I feel that the lore would be just fine left as it is as well, and perhaps changing it up just to change it up isn't the best reason to do things.

      Like @sabrescene said, I also think it would be better to make a new character instead of changing an existing and established character to be something they aren't, just to fit a mould. Even if the character keeps the name 'Link', after all you name Link every time you start the game anyway. Link is just the name of the avatar before you name it in a way.

      Side note: I may be mistaken, but isn't Zelda the name given to princess through tradition and Link is a young boy from the forest? I'm not 100% sure, but my point is that the gender isn't the biggest aspect of the game and I don't think it should be for any game (unless the story is about gender roles etc I guess).

      Last edited 24/03/15 3:24 pm

      I think it's partly because there's multiple heroes named Link in the Zelda series, and they're possibly all from the one bloodline. As such, there's no reason why there can't be a female one.

      Personally I'd rather just see more strong female characters, than start converting male characters to female. Feels like it cheapens the "win" for those who really want it, and is just a token gesture no matter how dedicated the developers are to the idea.

      I think some people would like to see a lot more good female characters in games in general. Women who are into gaming have grown up with characters that mostly don't represent them and games which sometimes present females as rewards or to be rescued, or as decoration. So they have a point of view and they are pushing it. They want to see more female perspective and feel less excluded from the medium they love. A female Link (an iconic character) would be a huge coup for this idea.

      I don't have an issue with any of it. I would play if Link was a girl. I would also play if they pulled a switcharoo and made Zelda the one born a hero and Link is the one that has to be saved.

    I think I will make the most tumblr Zelda game possible, Link is a genderqueer multicultural pansexual deku-kin who you can't control because Link is independent and doesn't need you to pressure her to choose her path.

    voiced by Benedict Cucumberpatch, the game crashes any time you hit the trigger buttons.

      SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY.

    Why not make Link the Prince, and Zelda the hero instead? Like a role reversal? It could still be the Legend of Zelda because Zelda is still current?
    Instead of more sword play, she could be more magically inclined ???

      I logged in to say something similar to this. It's been said before I reckon Nintendo should make a series with Zelda as the primary character. Having her be more magic inclined would be fine by me!

    We. Don't. Need. A. Female. Link.
    Make a new character. I don't want a male Samus. I don't want female Mario.

    As other people have said, why are people so obsessed with making Link a girl? I understand the internet's base desires to gender-bend and ship characters from games, but why not just go and create your own original female character starring game instead? Rather than trying to change everyone else's work, why not focus on the one thing you have control of, your own work? There is room enough in the world for Link to stay male and have someone else make up their own game starring a female. /rant

Join the discussion!