Stanford Admissions Essays

Intellectual Vitality Essay - "Legend of Zelda"


Stanford students possess an intellectual vitality. Reflect on an idea or experience that has been important to your intellectual development. (250 word limit.)

Rather than a single idea or experience, an entire series has been key to my intellectual development. Manifesting itself as a pointy-eared, green tunic-clad, tunic-wearing, Master Sword wielding hero on a quest to overthrow a treacherous warlord, sorcerer, or other malcontent and rescue the princess, Shigeru Miyamoto’s Legend of Zelda is a provocative, action-adventure video game series that has captivated my interest (and parent’s money) since before I was even in pre-K. 

The game series has been crucial in testing the limits of my mind, pitting my pixelated, suspiciously elf-like hero against merciless dungeons, filled with a plethora of puzzles and enemies, and mystifying challenges, spawning from the deep recesses of the creator’s wickedly brilliant minds. Instead of being a mere hack-n-slash game, the Legend of Zelda series is a thought-provoking one, challenging the player’s observation skills, resourcefulness, shrewdness, tactic, ability to relate the part to the whole, and curiosity to unlock all the games’ secrets. Only in this game would such questions as whether pushing a block in a certain manner would block your path later on, or what the fastest route up a spiral structure would be in order to get to a treasure chest on time, or what convoluted series of trades would you execute in order to get an upgraded weapon be asked by the player. The series is an inquisitive and complex one; after all, what do you make of the fact that even the game creator’s timeline of the series was picked apart and proven flawed?

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How to cite this essay (MLA)

Anonymous Student. "Intellectual Vitality Essay - "Legend of Zelda"" Study Notes, LLC., 11 Dec. 2015. Web. 30 May. 2024. <>.