You probably don't think very much about Link's headgear when playing through or hoping for a Legend of Zelda title. But, no matter how things change from game to game, that pointy, green cap is a beacon that says 'all are welcome here.'

A new illustrated essay at The A.V. Club covers the evolution of The Legend of Zelda series, homing in on the idea that the iconic hat remains a symbol of familiarity, as video game lovers get older and more cynical. No matter how dark the story or cartoony the art style, Link's cap—with its medieval roots—reminds players that they're entering into a fantasy that's not bound to any one time period. Even when it talks. Especially when it talks.