The Missing Link
The Timeline Mysteries – Part I
Now I know that people are going to see the word “Timeline” and run for the hills. Those that are daring enough to read a few more words to see the “Part I” will have hesitated too long, and it’ll be deer-in-the-headlights syndrome for them. (It’s too late now, suckahs!) However, don’t fret. I’m going to be spacing my three-part investigative study on the Zelda timeline out over the next many weeks. So bear with me; believe me when I say that I have plenty of other stuff planned that isn’t timeline-related. And I’ll promise not to at least make it comical…
Just about everyone I’ve ever talked to who has played the Four Sword series has always come away from it with… a different taste in their mouth… a taste that’s not quite Zelda. Minish Cap aside, the first two games of the diversion in the series are, analytically speaking, quite different from the “Zelda formula” (as sinful as it is to even say that such a formula exists!). But let’s face facts: To date, Four Swords and Adventures are the only multiplayer Zeldas, and, instead of one grand journey, they’re broken up into a series of sequential episodes not unlike the original Super Mario Bros. game. (Even worse, there’s no Warp Zone!) Minish Cap on the other hand to me has always been the capstone game of all of the Zeldas. Minish borrows a little bit of Zelda from nearly each of the other eleven and packages it and a few new tricks together into a cartridge. Many have acclaimed it to be the return of greatness to Zelda, yet others have passed on its premise, not quite as happy with the whole Link miniaturisation process as others.
Just goes to show you that you can’t please everyone.
Yet even beyond that is the fact that the FS series tends to do away with many of the standard Zelda mainstays. There’s no Master Sword, no Triforce, no Ganondorf (sort of), and no rupees at least in Adventures. All the while throughout the games, the storyline gets all sorts of mucked up. Four Swords brings the newest boss in town to the table (off on a wild princess-marrying spree), Adventures reveals the reappearance of Ganon (whom everyone has forgotten only to be rediscovered by the Deku of all people… er… things), and Minish completely changes the whole history of Vaati and the Four Sword which had held the first two together to begin with.
And people expect to make a paradox-free timeline out of that? (Timeline people, this is what you call foreshadowing. Non-timeline people, you have my permission to laugh evilly now.)
Oh my, I’ve probably just scared some of you to death with that. Okay, well, let’s give the timeliners a little bit of hope. For the sake of argument, why don’t we just throw the rest of the series away for a moment. Now we’re down to just the three games in the FS series. Certainly we can make sense out of that, right?
If you’re thinking the answer is yes, you’ve got something else coming to you.
Students of Hyrulian History have studied long and hard to try to come up with a timeline, and very few will place Four Swords, Adventures, and Minish in the same place in the grand schema. Yet despite this, when people compare the three games together, nearly without fail a single pattern always emerges. Nearly every time, it’s Minish, Four Swords, and Adventures. Oftentimes, Minish predates even Ocarina, and Aonuma has all but supported this line of thought. (Of course, the first rule of the official Nintendo Club is “we do not talk about
Yet not all is as happy as everything seems in Zeldaland. Despite the global acceptance of the theory, certain problems arise… flaws in the theory that people tend to ignore.
So much for easy.
So let’s take it the other way. (Timeliners out there, humour me for just a moment. And then humour me some more if I’m not finished by then.) What if Minish was last?
“Oh no, TML, we can’t have that. Because…”
So much for that.
Don’t even try putting it in the middle either. Trust me, it’s worse than either of these.
Eventually we get down to the eternal question of which came first, the chicken or the egg? Inevitably the answer is hopeless. Contradiction and paradox reign, and only those who believe utter nonsense timelines are immune. (Nyeh, nyeh, Masa. )
So do we give up?
Well, I’m sure those who are only reading this for their daily source of humour are saying, “Please, let him say yes!” However, this professor of Hyrulian History cannot send his students into rampant despair! (Shame on you for thinking that!)
The answer is no, but before you cheer, hear me out. The answer is no, but at the same time, certain accomodations have to be made in order to remedy the inconvenience of paradox. No matter which way you play the game, no matter how you order the games, canon is right there to contradict whatever theory you make. The only logical way around that is… that canon… cannot be as canon as everyone would wish it to be. The only way to resolve a paradox in the canon is to do one of two things: (1) make rationalisations and qualifying assumptions, or (2) bend the facts. To say it in much more sinful terms, you have to either add to or subtract from the canon.
But this is where the slippery slope begins. If we must add to or subtract from canon, then canon… really isn’t canon at all.
And I believe that would be a The Missing Linkwhopin’. Feel free to tell the folks here that.
To Be Continued…Follow This Entry | Read Other Posts by The Missing Link