Nintendo fans got lots of exciting news this month: a new system that has a lot of good third party support, new Fire Emblem games, a new Mario game, and, perhaps most anticipated, more news on the newest Legend of Zelda game, Breath of the Wild. While I still have many reservations about the game, especially concerning Zelda’s role and the stupidity of her not being a playable main character, watching the new trailer actually made me want to play a Zelda game for the first time in a long while. Thinking back, the last time I was actively interested in a Zelda game was back when The Phantom Hourglass came out in 2007. Though unrelated in narrative, the 3DS game borrowed heavily from the 2002 Gamecube game, Wind Waker, which remains one of my favorite iterations of the Zelda story and is by far my favorite art style of the whole series.
My Zelda flames stoked once more, I set out in search of fic of my favorite Wind Waker-verse character, Tetra. While the headstrong pirate girl got seriously shafted in the second half of Wind Waker due to her “true calling” as a reincarnation of Princess Zelda, I found her character intriguing. How did this pre-teen-looking girl become the captain of a pirate crew? How did she end up forming this found family with a bunch of strange dudes? Furthermore, how would she adapt to her duties as princess while still holding onto to her pirate life? While the fic I found doesn’t answer anything about her past, it does make a pretty good guess about her future—while throwing in a ship that I didn’t know I wanted, but am glad that I know of now.
If there’s anything we’ve learned from Disney over the years, it’s that princesses sell. In fact, even if a girl isn’t a princess, she ends up being turned into a princess all for the sake of marketing—is it any wonder why toys of Lilo and Stitch are no longer being made despite the strength of the film itself? There’s something timeless about a princess, or at least the concept of them, and the movie industry hasn’t been the only one to notice this. Many modern games still employ princesses as a trope or a stand-in collectible, both of which aren’t really ideal for the representation of ladies in games. But let’s bring this back to marketability and the line-up of one very specific puzzle in the 3DS Mii Plaza.
Ever since I saw it, I knew that I’d have to complete the ‘Nintendo Starlets’ puzzle no matter how many people I’d need to street pass to get the pieces. Obviously I knew Princess Peach would be on there, but the other characters were a mystery to me: which female characters would Nintendo deign to put on the same rank as the pinnacle of princessliness herself?
As I continued getting pieces, though, I became more and more disappointed. Rosalina was the next princess I unlocked: not unexpected, and my feelings on her are rather neutral. Then Zelda. Then… Zelda again. And finally Pauline. I don’t know about you, but there’s something incredibly boring about this group. The disappointment came twofold: from a girl who didn’t sign up for a puzzle called “Nintendo Princesses” and from a Nintendo fan who knows that Nintendo has a wealth of female characters to choose from, or at least enough that they didn’t have to use Zelda twice.