The Evolution of the Master Sword

When I was a young boy, I wasn’t allowed to play video games. My mother had an ugly divorce with a temperamental gamer, and she associated “anger issues” with “video games.” As a result, I was unable to play the Nintendo games that I so desperately craved.

However, I found ways around it. Across the street, my neighbors had a well-stocked Nintendo system, where they played Mario games day and night. My step-sister had a computer with a few games, like the original Duke Nuk’em (the DOS game, with no strippers), and Battlechess. But I remember, most vividly, the games my cousins had.

Whenever I went to my cousin’s house, they had their Nintendo console at the ready. Whenever they came to my house, they had their Gameboys. One of the games which looked most fascinating to me was the original Legend of Zelda. This little elf-child roamed around, fighting evil monsters — shooting bolts out of his zoro katana sword sometimes!

They let me play, but with the limited time I had, I didn’t make much progress. But it stuck in my mind. The button-mashing sword flailing action was fantastic, back then. It couldn’t get any better.

I was later surprised to find how popular the game was with adults. Several of my friend’s parents had the games, many of them the “gold edition.” But I rarely got the opportunity to play it myself. Instead, I contented myself with my PC Games, which my mother had finally accepted was okay.

I discovered ROMs when I was in High School, and one of the first ROMs I downloaded were the old Zelda games. I was surprised at how different each of them were. The side-scrolling action of Zelda II was . . . different. But there were the solid links throughout the series. Link, of course. His Sword. The Triforce.

But everything evolved through the series. The original Master Sword shot bolts at enemies, which didn’t work so well in the side-scrolling versions. A link to the past gave the sword its title, and gave it a history. “The sword destined to destroy Gannon.”

In Link’s Awakening, the sword appears — though as those who know the game can tell you, that game was just a dream anyway. Such a cheap way out.

But then, in Ocarina of Time, the Master Sword had its true awakening (as did the series). This was the first time I got truly into the video games. The sword was beautiful. Its power was amazing.

Windwaker took it back a step, but it was still its epic force. And then, Twilight Princess had its go at the master sword.

But there was a difference here! Specifically, the Master Sword was now designed to be used in the right hand. That’s right! Up until Twilight Princess, the Master Sword was designed for a left-handed Link. Some have complained about the change, but the fact is, only the most devoted fans noticed that Link was left-handed.

In each of the repetitions, the sword became slightly more complex, but maintained its basic appearance. It’s a simple sword. Sleek. Deadly. But because of the slight differences, and the obvious color choices, the sword is instantly recognizable.

There are versions of this epic blade out on the web, but many are inaccurate. It’s surprising, since the blade is simple and so obvious in its style. In the various attempts to replicate the sword, some people have done a phenomenal job. One of particular note was a Scottish Blacksmith who was commissioned to build a master sword, for the equivalent of about $3000. This is undoubtedly the most accurate and highest quality master sword replica to date. For those without that kind of budget, though, there are still some good places you can buy an authentic replica. If you’re interested in seeing the sorts of things available, one place to go is my website, and that link is contained in the author signature box, below.

Swords like this are the stuff of Legend, and in a classic game, they are an equally classic item. May the Master Sword, Triforce, and all other icons of that game stay forever in gaming. Signs show that it will, too. Even if Zelda dies out, other franchises have recognized this great weapon. Soul Calibur, World of Warcraft, Animal Crossing, Wario Touch, and many others have given the sword a cameo. The sword is something like Mario’s hat. It is as immortal as the character, and deserves equal veneration.


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