I Spent Way Too Long Thinking About the 'Save Link As...' Drop-Down Option

By Rich Stanton on at

The other night I was rustling around the internet looking for a nice official image of Link, specifically the Breath of the Wild iteration of Nintendo's much-loved character. Soon enough I found one, swept in like a bird of prey to claim the prize... and as my mouse pointer (talons) closed in on the 'Save image as' option (a juicy varmint), I noticed that I could alternatively choose to 'Save link as...'

And not just that! I could 'Open link in new tab', 'Open link in new window', or even 'Open link in incognito window' (presumably if I was feeling 'thirsty', as our American brethren put it). But the romance and mystery of 'Save link as...' was irresistible, that ellipsis begging to be followed by the imagination. The first answer that came to mind was Zelda, and of course you can 'Save link as....' Zelda already, in the universally derided Zelda's Adventure or the not-quite-so-derided Zelda: The Wand of Gamelon (two of three Zelda games made for the CDi system).

I found myself mousing over other eras, temporarily lost in little reveries of that particular Link. Why not 'Save link as...' his uncle, that unforgettable bit-player of A Link to the Past's opening? So rarely does Link have anything resembling family in these games, yet here is a father-figure, a fellow Hylian, and a warrior who wields sword and shield. That game begins with Link dreaming of Zelda but, when he wakes, his uncle is already geared up and heading out of the door. He tries to save Link, telling the boy to remain behind, and of course we are wise not to heed his words.

'Save link as...' also made me think about that desire many fans have for things to stay familiar, and how ruinous that can sometimes be. It's easy to forget, in these post-Breath of the Wild times, that Zelda was a series that had been slowly stagnating for a good decade. I don't mind Twilight Princess but Skyward Sword left me cold and, before Link's latest outing, I'd argue you'd have to go back to Wind Waker for the last original 3D entry.

Why such a gap? In the early Gamecube days Nintendo had shown a Zelda tech demo in a more realistic style, before revealing Wind Waker's utterly stunning new aesthetic direction. At the time, however, people just wanted to 'Save link as...' he was. Many were vociferous in their dull-witted criticisms of this bold new look, and so the next game Twilight Princess was basically Ocarina but bigger. It always seemed to me a retrograde step, and one that took the series a long time to wrest free of. The temptation to 'Save link as...' he is, or was when you were a child, is an understandable desire, but one that has at times suffocated the character.

I started to wonder further about why 'saving' anything is so inextricably bound-up with video games, and our sense of adventure. And then I thought, you know, maybe I've been thinking about 'Save link as...' a little too much. But 'Copy link address' just didn't have the same charm, that expectancy of an ending. And the idea of saving Link at all only amuses and matters if, on some level, you think the character's worth it.

Or are, brrr. playing Majora's Mask and reading about the Zelda story that defined creepypasta.