Ah, nostalgia. It makes me sigh over the memories of My Little Ponies (pre-Bronies) and my heart flutter at the memory of how crazy adorbs JTT was. But with those things, my passion faded over time. Not so for one crucial element of my childhood.
I have no fewer than three Nintendo devices in my home right now, and if you follow me on Twitter you may have heard my recent struggles with Skyward Sword. Something about the games that Nintendo produces has hooked me for life. And in thinking about that recently, I realized it’s because Nintendo, at its core, relies on games with a strong storytelling element. You don’t love Nintendo—you love Mario. Princess Peach. ZELDA. The stories, and the characters, are somewhat universal, and I’ve come up with a list of how I think some classic video game characters are reflected in YA.
Princess Peach from Mario
Role: The Leading Lady
Characteristics: Runs with the boys and kicks a fair amount of butt without changing out of a ball gown. Sometimes wanting to be a part of the action can backfire, though, putting her and everyone else in more danger.
YA Equivalent: Clary Fray, The Mortal Instruments; Evie, Paranormalcy; Sophie Mercer, Hex Hall; Karou, Daughter of Smoke & Bone
Princess Ruto from Zelda
Role: The Damsel in Distress
Characteristics: Damned near intolerable. Routinely gets herself in trouble, then spends most of her time batting eyelashes at the guy swooping in to save her, whom she is too stubborn (or oblivious) to actively help. In fact, she sometimes does the opposite! (Link had to carry Princess Ruto through an entire level!)
YA Equivalent: Bella Swan, Twilight
Samus Aran from Metroid
Role: The Badass
Characteristics: Has a weapon. Knows how to use it. The Badass knows how to take care of her own, and when she faces evil shit on the daily, she takes it out with nary a whimper.
YA Equivalent: Katniss Everdeen, The Hunger Games; Mary, The Forest of Hands and Teeth; Katsa, Graceling; Mandarin, Like Mandarin
Rosalina from Mario Galaxy
Role: Quirky sidekick
Characteristics: Fun, cute, and a bit … out there. Evokes the lighter side of the generally angsty main character with a relentlessly positive, plot-driving attitude. Until, that is, we see her vulnerable/sensitive side when it highlights a major theme.
YA Equivalent: Luna Lovegood, Harry Potter; Alice, Twilight; Zuzana, The Daughter of Smoke and Bone; Jenna Talbot, Hex Hall
Princess Zelda from Zelda
Characteristics: She’s not just kicking butt as handily as any badass, she’s masterminding a revolution. Unlike the Badass, she isn’t in it for survival, she’s after a greater good—the survival of her kind, the eradication of evil … your typical teenage drama.
YA Equivalent: Tris, Divergent;