Aaron Bukovick

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Zelda’s Historians: Canonizing Fictional Chronologies

Game Summary

The Legend of Zelda is series of fantasy action-adventure games which began development back in 1986 by Nintendo. Spanning over 26 years and 14 consoles, the series follows the same story. The series centers around Link, the protagonist, which is given the task of rescuing Princess Zelda and Hyrule from Ganondorf, the main antagonist of the series. However, the settings and antagonists have changed throughout the series, such as games that feature Vaati or Demise as the main antagonist. The protagonist in each game is usually not the same incarnation of Link.

Article Summary

The author of “Zelda Historians: Canonizing Fictional Chronologies”, David R. Hussey, looks into the issue of the fan of the series obsession with the timeline and how the timelines should be created.[6] The release of Hyrule Historia, it added fuel to the fire to the importance of the timeline to the fan base. The author points out that while in development, Nintendo tends to work on gameplay first and work on the story later, which creates an interesting connection between the games in the series. In an interview by Electronic Gaming Monthly, Eiji Aonuma, one of the directors of the Zelda series pointed out that they don’t work on the story until the gameplay elements are created and functional. With this strategy of development, it can easily change the look and story as new gameplay is introduced, which in ways can harm theories that the fan base may come up with during development.

The author has also mentioned scholarly work by R.G Collingwood on the principles of creating these timelines through means of evidence and authority and applies it to the Zelda timeline debate. Evidence is important in creating these timelines because opinions can’t shape time, only fact can. Authority is to critically read the secondary source materials and not accept them as fact, but as an interpretation of the evidence.(Collingwood) Fan theories and presentation of overlooked evidence in the Zelda series forces fans to recreate their timelines, which could create backlash or conflicting timelines with more authoritarian timelines, such as the Hyrule Historia that was released by the creators of Zelda.

Social Importance

The Legend of Zelda is proven to be one of the most popular franchises in video game history and as the author points out, it's fans are the most obsessive. One of the reasons why The Legend of Zelda is so popular is that it was many people's first gaming experience. Many gamers have stuck with this franchise since the beginning and it's easy to see why fans have heated debates on the timeline of the series. With references to previous games in the series, it's logical to think that the games are connected in some way. The author mentions a few fan theories such as the image and video that were posted in the article. This is, of course, due to the obsessive nature of the Zelda fan base along with the lack of a canon timeline before the release of Hyrule Historia. But since the release of Hyrule Histora, there are still fans out there that are not satisfied with the official timeline and seek to prove Nintendo wrong.

Discussion

The article did not have any additional comments since the publishing. But this article wasn't proving a point about fan timelines, but merely presenting the nature of fans creating timelines for fictional worlds and using academia to explain the history of The Legend of Zelda franchise.

I've personally played every single Zelda game that has been released, even the terrible CD-i releases, so I would say that I am a self-proclaimed fan of the series. Throughout my playtime, I did catch some of the references that point to previous games of the series and would make me wonder if they were actually connected in any way. I did enjoy looking up some fan based theories long ago on how the series is connected and it's fun to see how fans were able to put the pieces together, minding the conflicting evidence that more popular theories. I've bought the Hyrule Historia when it was finally released in the United States and I'm personally satisfied on how Nintendo canonized the series.

Works Citied

Hussey, David. "Zelda's Historians: Canonizing Fictional Chronologies." Play The Past RSS. N.p., 16 July 2013. Web. 1 June 2014. <http://www.playthepast.org/?p=3780>

Collingwood, R. G.. "A Mead Project source page ." R. G. Collingwood: The Idea of History: Epilegomena: 2: The Historical Imagination. N.p., 1 Jan. 1946. Web. 1 June 2014. <http://www.brocku.ca/MeadProject/Collingwood/1946_2.html>

Final Wiki: Net Neutrality and Personal Privacy

For the past several years, freedom on the internet in the United States has been a hot button issue. Though the situation itself is highly complex, it would affect everyone in the U.S, knowingly and unknowingly. The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and PROTECT IP Act (PIPA) venture into the murky waters of how internet freedom, or net neutrality, is defined and what it means to ordinary people and corporations.<ref> H.R.3261 – Stop Online Piracy Act; House Judiciary Committee; October 26, 2011 </ref>

Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA)

The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) was a United States House of Representatives bill introduced by Representative Lamar S. Smith, a republican from Texas. The bill was drafted “To promote prosperity, creativity, entrepreneurship, and innovation by combating the theft of U.S. property, and for other purposes.”[1]

There are hidden details in the bill that expands its authority larger than what is proposed. The authority proposed is ripe for abuse as it contains extremely vague and technology-ignorant language that is open to multiple interpretation, which is begging the movie and music industry to take advantage of.

Proponents of the legislation said it would protect the intellectual-property market and corresponding industry, jobs and revenue, and was necessary to bolster enforcement of copyright laws, especially against foreign-owned and operated websites.Opponents claimed that the proposed legislation threatened free speech and innovation, and enabled law enforcement to block access to entire internet domains due to infringing content posted on a single blog or webpage. They expressed concerns that SOPA would bypass the "safe harbor" protections from liability presently afforded to websites by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

PROTECT IP Act

The Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act, or PIPA, is a senate bill introduced by Senator Patrick Leahy, Democrat from Vermont. The goal of the bill was to “give the U.S. government and copyright holder’s additional tools to curb access to “rouge websites dedicated to the sale of infringing or counterfeit goods"[3]

The PROTECT IP Act says that an "information location tool shall take technically feasible and reasonable measures, as expeditiously as possible, to remove or disable access to the Internet site associated with the domain name set forth in the order". In addition, it must delete all hyperlinks to the offending "Internet site".[4] It basically conducts the same punishment as SOPA would, but would spread its authority to financial transaction providers, such as PayPal, to stop processing transactions related to the offending site.

This bill held the same goals as what SOPA was going to achieve, but it was mainly written by lobbyists from major industries such as music and movies. Companies and trade organizations such as Sony, Ford, and the National Association of Manufacturers gave their support to the bill, as it would protect their copyrighted content and help grow entrepreneurship.

Opponents of the bill voiced that it was just a new name for SOPA, which was defeated years earlier. Companies such as Facebook and Google have voiced that the bill would “hurt economic growth and slow innovation that would help people create, communicate and make a living online.”

Anonymous

Anonymous is an international network of activists and hacktivist. The concept of Anonymous is that it was a decentralized online community acting anonymously in a coordinated manner, usually to a goal which the whole community agrees to. Anonymous members, or Anons, are identifiable by wearing a guy Fawkes mask, which conceals their identity and protect the face of its members to demonstrate their commitment to a shared cause. Supporters have called the group digital Robin Hoods while critics have described the group as cyber terrorists.

In their history they have stood up against organizations, governments and companies such as the Church of Scientology, Sony and the U.S government. Anons have also supported movements and organizations such as Wikileaks and the Arab Spring. Most of all, Anons support the free exchange of information and goods on the internet. In relations with attacks conducted against the RIAA and MPAA, anonymous issued a press release saying “Anonymous is tired of corporate interests controlling the internet and silencing the people’s rights to spread information, but more importantly, the right to SHARE with one another. The RIAA and the MPAA feign to aid the artists and their cause; yet they do no such thing. In their eyes is not hope, only dollar signs. Anonymous will not stand this any longer.”[5]

Relations to movements to protect online privacy

SOPA, PROTECT IP, and Anonymous all have correlations to the latest movements on online privacy. For SOPA and PROTECT IP, these bills would introduce technology that will what made the internet great, the creation and sharing of content. That’s the reason why the internet even exists in the first place. If J. C. R. Licklider was still alive today, he would be appalled at how hard major corporations are fighting to restrict information. He sought the internet to be a tool that would serve as new media of expression, inspirations to creativity and gateways to a vast world of online information. Anonymous, in a way, is trying to keep Licklider’s dream alive of a truly open channel of information and creativity in hopes in creating a better and more efficient future.[6]

But the introduction of The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA), online privacy is at a greater risk. With its first introduction, CISPA was originally meant to guard against cyber threats that could harm networks by improving cybersecurity information sharing. Since then, the bill has expanded to cover "national security" and other purposes, and it gives broad powers and immunity to government and military intelligence agencies to collect and share the private data of individuals from companies without the use of warrants; which was essentially turned into a clone of SOPA.[7] Though this bill is on the backburner, it’s threating to make a comeback and groups like Anonymous must be ready to fight for net neutrality once again.

Edward Snowden

In June 2013, Edward Snowden came from the shadows to shed light of major privacy issues being created from a number of surveillance programs, but most importantly, the National Security Agency (NSA). With the release of a staggering number of classified documents that detailed on how certain surveillance systems, such as PRISIM, collected information. The leaks started a firestorm of a debate on how to balance national security and personal privacy.

In relations with the reading, the fallout of SOPA, PROTECT IP, CISPA and Edward Snowden proves that privacy matters. People want to be able to do what they want without being watched by “Big Brother”, though the way Edward went about the issue could have been handled better, it shows that there are entities that can bypass federal and international law and give information to governments in the name of national security. I believe, under certain circumstances, it’s a necessary evil that we would need to use, but the procedure on how to conduct information gathering can be improved. How can this be improved will lay in the debates that are still going strong today.

Conclusion

Net Neutrality is still a hot button issue, it's become even more of a fiery issue after the proposing a rule of internet "fast lanes". Not only will it restrict the free exchange of information and ideals, but will severely limit creativity and innovation. There's no reason at all why we need limits to an ever expanding frontier. We can only hope that Congress will listen to the average citizen rather than the lobbyists representing big corporations.

Works Cited

1. H.R.3261 – Stop Online Piracy Act; House Judiciary Committee; October 26, 2011

2,3. Havey, Jason A technical examination of SOPA and PROTECT IP. http://www.redditblog.com/2012/01/technical-examination-of-sopa-and.html

4. Text of the Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act of 2011 https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/112/s968/text

5. RIAA Goes Offline, Joins MPAA As Latest Victim Of Successful DDoS Attacks | TechCrunch http://techcrunch.com/2010/09/19/riaa-attack/

6. Waldrop, M. Mitchell. The dream machine: J.C.R. Licklider and the revolution that made computing personal.

7. The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act: CISPA explained http://www.theverge.com/2012/4/27/2976718/cyber-intelligence-sharing-and-protection-act-cispa-hr-3523