As a rather eclectic bunch here at Two Beard Gaming, we all look to broaden our horizons in our own unique ways. Be it Wrestling, Anime, or Television, the team have worked tirelessly to bring new content to the site and provide informative, impartial reviews. I am no different and having tried my hand at Video Game reviews for a while now, I felt it was time for something new.
In keeping with tradition, my foray into new territory is very heavily linked to the gaming industry, albeit with a rather unique twist. In a first for the site, I have chosen to review one of my favourite art forms, the written word. What better way to start our new collection of book reviews than with ‘The Psychology of Zelda: Linking our World to the Legend of Zelda series.’
Published by Smart Pop and released on the 19th February 2019, ‘The Psychology of Zelda’ is an anthology which has been collated and edited by Jonathan Erickson (@EricksonAuthor), a Science-Fiction author with a PhD in depth psychology, and Dr. Anthony Bean, a specialist in children, adolescents, and adults. Amongst his many expertise, Dr. Anthony Brown focuses on how video games can affect relationships, views on the world, and their mental health. With an aptly named Twitter handle of @VideoGameDoc, it is clear that his passion for video gaming is far-reaching and in-tune with modern times.
Definition of anthology: a published collection of poems or other pieces of writing.
I place this definition here as a pertinent reminder to both myself and the reader. The reason for this is that the temptation with this title is to read the book from cover to cover. I warmed immediately to the eBook I was sent by Net Galley when I read the following message to the readers: to everyone who believes that playing a video game has no psychological benefits – read on. To find industry experts speaking the language of so many gamers across the world was a breath of fresh air, and I wanted to read all I could about its benefits to silence the naysayers.
Fortunately, ‘The Psychology of Zelda’ is far from lacking in this regard. It tackles all manner of subject matter, from depression, anxiety, grief, post-traumatic stress, and many more, emphasising just how important video games can be in both the coping and healing processes. With no fewer than ten essays written by experts in the field of psychology, there is a plethora of information to be garnered by esteemed psychologists. Each essay in the anthology provides information on particular topics in an easy to read and informative way; explicit links to a range of titles in the Legend of Zelda series; and examples of how this can or has been applied to those of us in the ‘real’ world.
At the end of each essay, there is a brief summary of the author behind the article and references to the information quoted within it. Focussed on educating and informing, it is excellent to see the time has been taken to provide this as it validates what has been written – something some books of this nature may neglect to include or lack evidence for.
I thoroughly enjoyed my time reading ‘The Psychology of Zelda’ and was keen to hear more. I may have read the book a little quicker than intended, which whilst representing a positive to the authors, it meant that my one gripe with the anthology was more prevalent than perhaps it should have been. Although the book discusses many theories and models, ‘The Kubler-Ross Five Stages of Grief’ being just one example, I found it referenced Carl Jung and his work a little too often. I would have been keen to read about other psychologists and their work, however it is evident that the work of Carl Jung is applicable to almost every Zelda title on the market.
For those seeking a deep, detailed and extensive look at psychological theory and the Zelda series, this may not be for you. Equally, for those after a casual, light-hearted read, this may not be for you either. However, for anyone who has a keen interest in the Zelda series and a basic understanding of psychological concepts, and wishes to see how these two can and have been intertwined, then this will be a delight for you. I fall into the latter category, and I am very happy to have been able to experience the work of these experts, who are bucking the trend and showcasing just how important the video game industry is in this modern world we live in.