In a world where both male and female characters in video games are frequently over-sexualized, I find that the entire Legend of Zelda series is a refreshing break. Link, the main protagonist throughout the cross-console series, is not a “manly” man. He has many traditionally feminine features, and does not have the sheer muscle mass usually associated with male protagonists. He looks like a traditional elf, with pointed ears and defined cheekbones.
In addition, instead of using his strength, Link uses his intellect and agility in order to navigate the various temples in each game. Growing up, while I found it difficult to identify with most portrayals of males in video games because they were not in any way realistic. Link, however, was relatable, he was real. I guess the fact that I was never that big or that strong helped me relate, but I think the idea holds true for most.
Link gave me something to aspire to be: a true hero who doesn’t need to have unrealistic strength or supernatural abilities in order to be successful. While I’m sure there are many games that are similar to the Legend of Zelda, I found this series to be particularly opposite the norm. Even the “heroine” of the series, Zelda, periodically transforms into Sheik, a badass warrior who saves Link countless times. For this reason, and many others, I think that the Legend of Zelda is a terrific game series.