Seen a lot of moaning about how Link isn’t a female in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild? We have. Turns out, however, that those complaining were quick to judge the character on his biological appearance. Producer Eiji Aonuma is setting the record straight and reminding those in social justice circles that male anatomy might not be everything there is to a character:
…after Twilight Princess I went back to the drawing board and decided Link should be a more gender-neutral character.
In his longer interview with TIME Magazine he expressed that the design is meant to appeal to a wide range of players and not pigeonhole Link into one identity.
I wanted the player to think ‘Maybe Link is a boy or a girl.’ If you saw Link as a guy, he’d have more of a feminine touch. Or vice versa, if you related to Link as a girl, it was with more of a masculine aspect. I really wanted the designer to encompass more of a gender-neutral figure.
I saw an interesting article on the The Verge today about EA’s Electronic Entertainment Expo press conference and I couldn’t help but nod along in agreement. Authors Chris Plante & T.C. Sottek speculated about why gaming executives didn’t comment on the recent tragedy in Orlando, Florida which left 50 dead:
Perhaps EA executives thought it would be hypocritical to comment on a real-life shooting before promoting a first-person shooter.
The only reason it would by hypocritical to talk-up virtual guns and virtual violence would be if it had any effect on real-world behavior and that insinuation is completely on point.
The production of video games that require or reward people for taking digital lives are causing outbreaks of violence around the world. Late last year an attack in Paris was perpetrated by killers who were undoubtedly much more skilled at DOOM than even the most studious Polygon reporter. If research were carried out to compare the attackers in both cases the only link would probably be their love of gaming.
How can we let gaming companies completely ignore and neglect their responsibility in these tragedies? Completely failing to acknowledge real, actual shootings that were probably practiced in their games? Unforgivable.
Let us strive to make our voices heard: we want violence out of video games. To end mass shootings and end terrorism we, as gamers, need to look at how our hobby is fueling hatred worldwide.
Please… think about it. For world peace.
There is a common misconception in the minds of today’s moviegoers and that is the idea a great film is one which has impeccable acting, masterful direction, and brings a story to life. I’m here to disavow that myth: it’s not. What really makes a motion picture transcend its medium is a cast composed of ethnically diverse actors and actresses.
The first trailer for next year’s mythological blockbuster Gods of Egypt has certainly proven this. The movie won’t even be out for months, but the reviews are in; this film is just too damn white. It should be common knowledge that the real gods of Egypt were racially similar to the mortals that they ruled over. Well, the human parts of them were.
Hollywood has yet again tried to “whitewash” history with its large stable of actors and actresses of European descent. How would one even know that those hailing from the Nile river basin have dark skin?! If media moguls won’t provide historically accurate depictions of events, who will?
This could have been a real turning point for Western media. There is only one main black actor in the film, but think about the impact of having even more. In the United States alone it could have changed millions of lives for the better. Some activists waste time on tackling poverty and incarceration, but in reality those issues simply stem from employment practices in Hollywood. Thankfully, some brave souls have already made sure that the Gods of Egypt Wikipedia page already reflects what a travesty it is.
I hope studios listen to the loud voices demanding change. Together we can make a difference in the world and that starts with holding movies accountable for historically accurate and racially correct depictions of mythological deities.
Ever the beacon of journalistic excellence, VICE recently published a piece by Rich Stanton blaming GamerGate supporters for circulating a photoshopped image of a journalist and fingering him as the mastermind behind the recent terrorist attacks in France. The victim, Veerender Jubbal, had one of his selfies edited to look as if he was holding a Quran instead of an iPad while wearing an explosive vest, as well as a dildo sneakily added into the background. Twitter users @turd_wartsniff and @Bl4ptrep seem to have been behind the image manipulation and the two were quickly deemed supporters of GamerGate because of past tweets and participation in the movement’s subreddit KotakuInAction.
Of course, journalists are supposed to understand that you cannot paint an entire group by the actions of extremists. There is the general consensus that not all Muslims are terrorists, because of that exact reason. Even after so many attacks carried out by Islamic militants, people still understand that the majority of followers do not hold the beliefs that the perpetrators of these violent acts do.
If you’re the gaming press though, there is no room for such courtesies if a party does not hold the same fawning idolization for identity politics that you do. Which is why it is considered acceptable to publish such articles as Mr. Stanton has done. I’m glad that he was able to use this experience not to condemn this prank alongside GamerGate supporters, but instead blindly accuse a subset of gamers of being racist.
Although I don’t consider myself a part of GamerGate, I understand where they’re coming from. It’s articles like these which highlight the cognative dissonance shared by so many “progressive” writers which now litter the Internet with a lot to say about very little. I spend a large amount of time reading both sides of this topic and people involved in GamerGate don’t spend a lot of time discussing how to cause harm to people. It is simply not the majority and should not be treated as such.
I’ll wrap this up by pointing out that @Bl4ptrep even distanced himself from GamerGate months ago before these events unfolded. My adVICE? Try fact checking next time on a hit piece.
One of the most anticipated releases in the MMORPG world this year has been Guild Wars 2‘s first expansion Heart of Thorns. It came two years after the game’s initial launch and boasted the first raid, new class specializations and even a completely new class (in addition to plenty more). Last week players flooded into the new region to face the game’s recently awakened elder dragon Mordremoth and his hordes of minions.
So how is it? As someone who’s been playing for the last two years, the expansion feels very enjoyable so far. The class specializations take awhile to unlock (too long, according some of the most vocal critics of the new system), but the Hero Points needed offer a nice alternative to simply grinding enemies to gain experience for a new level as many MMOs opt for. Another new mechanic is gliding which feels smooth and offers a great way to traverse the new areas. Very reminiscent to Aion, another NCsoft-published MMORPG released in 2008.
Music and art direction are also strong. The background music is quite enjoyable and gamers may find themselves turning up their volume a bit to enjoy it. Plenty of new enemies have also been added and many feel unique and foreign. One of my favorite additions are the bipedal mushrooms which are happy to dive at players as they cross the jungle. Looking forward to discovering more as I venture further.
I can’t comment too much on the story, but playing the introductory sequence that brings you into the new region felt exciting and also set the tone for the story.
One special note I have to make is about the expansion’s launch: there was no downtime, no queues and little lag. Online games seem rarely prepared for hordes of players at launches or expansions, but ArenaNet did a great job of keeping the experience smooth and pain-free. I remember the launch of Warlords of Draenor and what a nightmare that was, so it was extremely refreshing to be able to play as usual even with such a surge of people.
Have you played yet? We’d love to hear your thoughts.