A Linkle in Time: Nintendo’s Recent Steps toward Inclusivity

The TriForce Heroes experience (via midnaslament @ tumblr)

The TriForce Heroes experience
(via midnaslament @ tumblr)

Recently my brother and I started playing TriForce Heroes, the newest installment of the Zelda series on the 3DS. While this game didn’t necessarily catch my attention from either the Nintendo Directs or E3, when I watched other people play it and saw how much fun they were having, I decided I had to pick it up despite its forced multi-player angle. However, I did also want to pick it up for one other reason: the fact that this game is the first where Link isn’t restricted to a certain type of clothes based on his gender. It’s sad to say how unique it is for a game to both allow characters to wear whatever the fuck they want with no consequence (via in-game perception) and to practically encourage it. While this is what it looked like from the outside, I couldn’t be sure until I played the game myself.  At around the same time as TriForce Heroes’s release, the Zelda fandom received another announcement that seemed to promote the message that, well, if some part of Nintendo was going to take the steps to being more inclusive in their games, it was going to be the Zelda franchise. But how effective will their efforts be? I can’t predict the future, but if anything, I think it’s a good start.

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Magical Mondays: If We Don’t Understand It, It’s Definitely Magic

This guy. (x)

This guy. (x)

Way back in the 60s and 70s, British author Arthur C. Clarke wrote some laws about predicting future developments. The third and by far the most well-known of these laws states: “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” In short, if you took a lighter back to the Stone Ages, you’d probably be thought of as a magician. While the law doesn’t take into account many more fantastical stories, like Harry Potter, where magic is the result of a bloodline, it does bring up the interesting question of what we consider magic—and how we react when confronted with something we don’t understand. Spoilers for most of The Dragonriders of Pern below.

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Hogwarts Founders & the Potential for Something a Little More Interesting

Recently I’ve been seeing a lot of clickbait articles discussing how fans want a Hogwarts Founders TV show, particularly because of Redditor Njdevils11’s amazing pitch for a HBO-style TV show for the Founders. And with the success of shows like Game of Thrones and the recent expansion of the Harry Potter universe with things like Pottermore and the upcoming Fantastic Beasts movie, everyone is kind of wondering—well, why not?

Hogwarts housesThere is a part of me that desperately wants this and a part of me that does not. The Harry Potter universe was such a part of my life growing up it was almost like Harry and I grew up together. The last of the books was published in 2007 when I was graduating high school, and the last of the movies came out when I was graduating college. It made for a very visceral feeling of almost going to Hogwarts and being in Harry’s class. As many people can attest, these books were a huge part of my life, and I both long for more content and fear it. Why am I worried? There are two reasons. The first is that I have grown up and become much more aware of the importance of diversity in media. I’m now much more critical of how few people of color played a main role in the books, and I absolutely adore the new headcanons people have created for a Black Hermione and person of color Harry. And seeing that new things like the Fantastic Beasts movie continue to have very little to no diversity is really upsetting to me. Secondly, I have such particular headcanons for how I think the founders, from their personalities to their appearances, should be portrayed (as I’m sure many Potter fans do) that I worry that no matter how good the show is, I’d be ultimately disappointed.

However, that doesn’t mean that a Founders TV show couldn’t be good or make the Harry Potter universe more inclusive and interesting. Don’t get me wrong I would be excited if something like this show were to happen, but I feel like certain things would have to happen to make the show worthwhile.

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Oh, My Pop Culture Nam-Shub: Snow Crash and Religion as a Virus

“What it comes down to is this: any information system of sufficient complexity will inevitably become infected with viruses—viruses generated from within itself.”

snow crash coverI’d never read a Neal Stephenson book before Snow Crash, so I had no idea what to expect upon opening it. I got a wild ride of a plot full of commentary on capitalism, computer programming, religious history, and language. Also, for anyone who thinks diversity is a new thing in the sci-fi genre, take several seats—it was written in 1992 and its main characters are a mixed-race Black/Japanese guy and a fifteen year old white girl, a Latina lady is a major supporting character, and the villain, an Aleutian native, is motivated in great part by his desire for revenge on America for what the government did to his people. This isn’t a straight-up review of the book, though, so let’s get into the nitty-gritty of the religious themes that ran through it. One of the most interesting parts of the book for me was the idea that religion is the neurological equivalent of a virus (computer or otherwise). While the way it was presented was interesting, in the end I found its implications somewhat insulting to people of faith.

Spoilers for the story below.

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Star Ocean: Integrity and Faithlessness, Hope for the Future, and Character Designs

Star Ocean 5Well, guys, it’s finally happening. The fifth Star Ocean game is almost upon us, and I don’t know whether to be happy or horrified. I really want this game to do well, if only because I love the Star Ocean series—well, I love the third game, at least—and considering SO4’s less than stellar reception, I can only hope that Star Ocean: Integrity and Faithlessness will be the improvement the franchise needs it to be. Unfortunately, there are some things about what I’ve seen of the game so far that have left a rancid taste in my mouth.

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Sexualized Saturdays: The Elusive, Mysterious Bisexual Male

Geek culture likes to consider itself pretty progressive. In general that’s a fair assessment: people who feel different or ostracized tend to sympathize with each other, and in this regard geeks and marginalized groups have something in common. In spite of this, however, problems and prejudices that exist in society on the whole do tend to endure in some form even amongst geeks, and biphobia is one such problem.

Biphobia is a constant struggle for bisexual people of any gender in ways that are superficially different, but which stem from one underlying idea: society’s obsession with wieners. Let me explain. In popular opinion, women who are bisexual are assumed to be straight and using their sexuality as a performance to gain male attention. Men who are bisexual are assumed to be gay but afraid to properly come out of the closet. Either way, the presumed be-all end-all is thirst for the mighty D, and geek culture is often guilty of this assumption as well.

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