Zelda Facets (4): Weapons

The Zelda serial continues today on ihobo, this week examining the unexpectedly fragile weapons of Breath of the Wild. Here’s an extract:

One thing and only one thing remains consistent across the various armouries of the Zelda series: Link is armed with a sword, a shield, and a bow. There may be other weapons – a boomerang, for instance, or a slingshot – but the certainty that Link’s standard compliment of weapons is a sword and a bow remains unchanged until Breath of the Wild. Similarly, it is not until the latest Zelda that the game features a dynamic inventory capable of holding a variety of items: up until this point, every Zelda game has a static set of items and the only question is whether the player has acquired a specific item or not. This is an element of the Zelda practices that few other games have copied, and the change in the latest game is one of the few cases of Zelda apparently moving towards a more conventional videogame practice and giving up its own unique ways of doing things.

You can read the entirety of Zelda Facets (4): Weapons over at ihobo.com.

Zelda Facets (3): Hyrule

Over on ihobo today, the next part of the new Zelda serial, looking at the relationship between an avatar and its world in the context of The Legend of Zelda. Here’s an extract:

The elegance of the Zelda franchise’s solution to the problems entailed in facilitating avatars is such that it has many imitators, although it is worth noting that the 1986 Metroid – released by Nintendo in the same year as the original Legend of Zelda – has essentially the same relationship between character and world. It can be described as follows: the character starts with only the capacity to explore and to defend themselves (or, equivalently, to enact violence but without a huge degree of efficacy). Through exploration and survival, the player overcomes challenges that grant them an increase in their power, which can involve making the character tougher, increasing their capacity for violence, or granting them a way to access parts of the world that were previously inaccessible. Once the player has acquired sufficient powers in this way, they have a final showdown that tests their ability to deploy all the powers of their character, after which the game concludes. If this reads like a description of any videogame, this is a mirage caused by the extent to which this structure has permeated the player practices of digital entertainment.

You can read the entirety of Zelda Facets (3): Hyrule over at ihobo.com.

Cybervirtue Outreach Request

The Virtuous Cyborg - Cut-out

Working on who to send out review copies of The Virtuous Cyborg, and I could use your help! Do you know any journalists, firebrands, iconoclasts or other strange and wonderful people who are out there making their voices heard? I’m particularly looking for those who are raising concerns about contemporary technology, but anyone who might be interested in cybervirtue and who is out there making some noise would be great to hear about.

Please reply to this post or to the Tweet that goes with this. Many thanks for your assistance!

Zelda Facets (2): Link

Over on ihobo today, the new serial continues with a discussion of how Zelda games represent Link – and whether he qualifies as a ‘character’ in any narrative sense. Here’s an extract:

Link is a particularly interesting case because with the singular exception of Skyward Sword, Link is not developed significantly as a narrative character but functions primarily as a mask for the player to act out with. Yet Link does not fall into the schizophrenia of the GTA franchise and its imitators, nor the player-led genericism of Elder Scrolls that defines a role for the player but lets the character fulfilling that role exist solely in the player head (which, all considered, is a perfectly reasonable solution to this problem). Link is a mask who remains consistent with the character he is intended to be. In other words, Link the character – Link the denizen of Hyrule – is designed to be consistent with Link the mask – Link the avatar of the player. The alignment is never perfect, of course, but the fidelity between avatar and character in the case of Link is better than in the vast majority of games.

You can read the entirety of Zelda Facets (2): Link over at ihobo.com.