Wonderment and puzzle

I was only recently made aware that the Legend of Zelda theme, apparently, owes a good deal to the song “April” by Deep Purple. It’s especially apparent around the the 2:00 mark. The composer for Zelda, Koji Kondo, was at one time in a band that covered Deep Purple.

It doesn’t seem to me like cheating, or like anything deplorable. Rather, it serves as a chance to hear some good old prog rock and realize that Japan is not what we expect it to be. Those of us who play video games, watch anime, or otherwise consume Japanese pop culture often begin to think of Japan as a planetary generator of weirdness, as a closed cultural ecosystem of kawaii. This should remind us otherwise.

 Shigeru Miyamoto has said that part of his motivation for the original Legend of Zelda was to create somewhere that players could explore with the same wonder and sense of discovery as he had felt when he explored the woods and caves outside Kyoto as a child. As a child, I treated this game as a substitute backyard. I wandered there when it was too wet or dark to play outside, not bothering with game goals, just being, and being at peace among the strangeness and joy. This is something else LoZ shared with prog rock.

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One thought on “Wonderment and puzzle

  1. The main thing “April” reveals to me is that Jon Lord listened to a lot of Bach as a kid (which, of course, he acknowledged) and it comes out in his cadenzas.

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