Dear Link: Don’t Mind The Trolls February 23, 2011 0

Well hello there Link, it looks like you've just celebrated your 25th birthday and I totally missed it (it wasn't on Facebook, I apologize).  I'm sure you're aware of all of your achievements over the past quarter-century and you don't feel like having them rehashed for you yet again, so I'll spare you more stories of all the times you slayed  Ganondorf. 

Instead, I'd like to take this opportunity to point something out about you and the medium you represent: in spite of the massive strides you and your video game compatriots have made since your creation, you're still not that old.  Thus, when the trolls start trying to play the same old tricks with you, don’t pay them any mind, they’re just like my grandmother– a little bit scared and confused of all this newfangled technology.


Now, I know you're 25 and five years my senior (I don't know if that should make me or you feel old), but you're still a baby in many ways, especially when it comes to storytelling.  Yeah yeah I know, your first couple of adventures had a story, but if we're being honest they weren't particularly engaging and never got past "oh no lets save the princess".  That's okay though because that's what home video games were at the time; they were simple time-sinks meant to amuse and possibly capture your imagination. 

Over time you grew up– your stories became more sophisticated, your graphics more high-definition, and by the time you had grown up into 3D people had take notice of your medium in both positive and negative ways.  Joe Lieberman put himself firmly in the negative camp and started calling congressional hearings attempting to villify Mortal Kombat, claiming it turned our children into homicidal monsters, showing the seeds for a recent FOX News report that claimed Bulletstorm causes gamers to have fantasies of sexual assault.  It was sensationalist "journalism" but it did its job and got tons of gamers riled up, likely driving tons of interest in the right wing news organization.

Relax, relax, put away your Master Sword and stop rolling after Rufred Murdoch, the Fox report is the last of a dying breed.  Much like you're turning 25, so are many of your fans.  In 10-15 years the people running these news organizations will have experienced video games first hand and come out just fine.  They'll have killed more covenant than they care to count, they'll have seduced Miranda into a relationship, and they'll even have performed more than a couple fatalities, and you know what?  They'll be perfectly well adjusted members of societies.  These lifelong gamers won't be writing stories about how the most recent murder was precipitated by Bulletstorm — they'll instead be writing about how Jane Mcgonigal is using video games to help change the world, and doing a bang up job in the process.

Just because we're growing up doesn't mean we're out of the hyrule woods sadly.  As a recent article out of the Wall Street Journal shows, some people still think that you and your fans are stuck back in your infancy.  But there’s light!  We're no longer socially inept nerds; now we are socially capable men, just lazy ones.  It sounds strange but it's progress of a sort.

Now that the public at large accepts that playing video games doesn't mean you live in your mother’s basement we just need to show that they don't make you a cultural drag. Again, don’t worry about rushing it, acceptance will come with time. By the time gamers are writing the news we'll also be married, raising the next generation and leading to society into the future — one dead alien at a time.

In closing Link, I'd like to leave you with this: sometimes going out and killing isn't the way you need to go about things. Sometimes you just need to relax, take a deep breath, and go out and prove everyone else wrong.  We'll keep doing our part in proving everyone else wrong so long as you keep providing us some fantastic worlds to inhabit. Sound like a deal?



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