The Legend of Zelda
Video Game Series
The Legend of Zelda is a series of fantasy-based, action-adventure video games developed by Nintendo that follows the many adventures of the character Link. The series got its start in 1986 when "The Legend of Zelda" was released for the Famicom system in Japan. The game would eventually make its way to the Nintendo Entertainment System in 1987 and become available to the rest of the world ("Zelda"). The series has released more than 20 titles across 15 different consoles and handheld platforms. It is the games' large worlds that can be explored and their balance between puzzles, action, exploring, and completing quests that define the series and have made it so very popular among video gamers ("Zelda"). The several year gap between releases of games also keeps the gamers wanting more and keeps the hype up around the games, for every title released is major news in the video game industry (Cocker).
In his article “Zelda’s Historians: Canonizing Fictional Chronologies”, David Hussey explores The Legend of Zelda video game series and how fans of the series have become historians of the fictional stories. The series features a few games that are strung together with sequels, but there is no overarching linear plot progression throughout all of the games. Each game features the same character, Link, but in new versions of Hyrule Kingdom and sometimes facing different enemies. Ganon and his human form, Ganondorf, are the most prevalent antagonists, but do not appear in every game. These subtle differences in the games and some very sly references to other games within the series led fans to question the over-arching storyline of the series (Hussey).
As more games were released and the storylines became even more different, the fans wanted to know more about the fictional world they kept saving and how the games related to each other. According to R.G. Collingwood in his book The Idea of History, when conducting historical research, there are two important principles that must be used: evidence and authority. When stringing together the games in the Zelda series, fans had to use hard evidence to prove their points or else their post would be quickly disputed and brushed aside. Fans also had to look past each other’s theories about the chronology of the games in order to develop their own conclusions (Hussey). David Hussey has shown us that the fans of the Legend of Zelda series have instinctively used the principles of historical thought to develop the history of a fictional world.
The article does little to argue a point or generate discussion. The article seems to be aimed at shedding a new light on the fan base of The Legend of Zelda and showing that they have done what many seek a formal education to accomplish. Hussey wants to show that historical thought can be used to piece together and create a history of not only the real world, but fictional worlds as well.
David Hussey stated that The Legend of Zelda is one of the most popular video game franchises and is one of his personal favorites as well. Hussey discusses how Zelda fans began theorizing the chronology of the games within the series and how it became an obsession for many. Just how many fans were overcome by this obsession will never be known, but it was enough to catch the attention of Nintendo. In 2011, Nintendo released The Hyrule Historia, a 239 page book outlining the history of The Legend of Zelda franchise and the official timeline of the video games (Hussey).
Many fans have posted their own versions of the games’ timeline across the internet. Hussey embedded a video of one fan explaining his own timeline theory which has gotten over 500,000 views on Youtube. Some videos that explain other fans’ theories, or even the official timeline, have reached over three million views. Though the debate has had little impact outside of the fan base of the series and other gamers, it has fueled a debate that has gradually expanded The Legend of Zelda fictional world, creating a culture for gamers to immerse themselves in.
The article has no comments to generate discussion, but this is probably due to the fact that the article is not trying to prove a point. Rather, the article is simply bringing the fan based timeline theories to light and praising them for their instinctive use of academic-based historical thought.
Having played several of The Legend of Zelda games, I have always wondered why the maps were different and why you always seemed to come from a different village, but were always the same character. Though I never went as far as to read the manuals and play all of the games in the series to concoct my own version of the Zelda timeline, I was curious as to how the games fit in with one another. I would occasionally do some research on the internet and would scour various wikis and gaming websites. The theories that stuck with me were the ones that had hard evidence, especially evidence that I could personally recall from my time playing the games. This plays into Hussey's argument that to do historical research and make it reputable, it must have hard evidence.
While I enjoyed all of the fan based theories and the intricate web they had spun throughout the fictional world, I was satisfied with the official timeline that was presented in The Hyrule Historia. The fact that there is proof to support this timeline and that it is coming straight from the games’ developers is what has me sold on the official timeline. If anyone would know how the games are linked, I assume it would be the ones who created them. Hussey mentioned that the second principle of historical thinking is authority and I just cannot look past the authority set by the creators of The Legend of Zelda series.
Cocker, Rory. "What Makes The Legend of Zelda So Special?" The Pixel Press. 23 Nov 2011. Web. 03 Jun 2014. 
Hussey, David. "Zelda's Historians: Canonizing Fictional Chronologies." Play the Past. 16 Jul 2013. Web. 03 Jun 2014. 
"The Legend of Zelda." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 03 Jun 2014. Web. 03 Jun 2014. 
Hacking, Surveillance, and the Web
PROTECT IP Bill
The Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act of 2011, more commonly known as PROTECT IP, was introduced in the Senate on May 12, 2011. This bill gives the Attorney General of the United States the power to pursue what are called Internet sites dedicated to infringing activities (ISDIA) that host a nondomestic domain name (NDN). The bill defines ISDIA as a website that promotes, encourages, or enables the distribution or use of copyrighted material illegally. An NDN is defined as a domain that is located and operated outside of the United States. The bill gives the Attorney General the ability to authorize the courts to issue a cease and desist injunction for the NDN to stop ISDIA activities. The Attorney General is also able to remove all traces of the NDN and ISDIA from search engines, online directories, ad services, and other online databases, virtually eliminating access to the website from within the United States without a direct link (“PROTECT IP”).
The Stop Online Piracy Act, more commonly known as SOPA, was introduced in the Senate on October 26, 2011. The bill gives the Attorney General the ability to pursue a court order against foreign-based internet sites involved in piracy to cease and desist all illegal activities, including copyright infringement and the distribution of recordings of live musical performances and movies. The bill allows copyright holders to file claims of copyright infringement, which are then processed by the Attorney General’s office. This then results in the termination of services provided to the website being pursued by search engines, payment service providers, and internet ad services. The website being accused of infringement can then file a counter notification, stating that the site is not dedicated to such violations. The bill also removes all liability from service providers that may be servicing a website being pursued by copyright holders (“SOPA”).
Anonymous is a group of hackers and activists that intervene in affairs that they see as worthy issues. Anonymous has no figure of authority or hierarchal system within its ranks. Members simply operate together to perform tasks, doing so without orders from anybody. Anonymous has no central headquarters and members do not meet in the physical realm. Rather, members stay hidden behind usernames on the web, where most of the contact is made between other members. The group has no ties to any larger group, company, or government. They act on their own agenda, disregarding laws and public scrutiny. Most of the group’s efforts are made in attempt to protect the rights of people who often have no say in matters. Anonymous has helped in major revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt, while also protecting the rights of United States citizens in incidents with Sony and BART, to name a few (Norton).
Online Privacy Protection
With the web growing as fast as it is, nearly everybody is connected and accessing the internet on a daily basis. People used to use the web to communicate and gather information, but with everybody jumping to the digital world, more and more services have become available online. Now, people put the most sensitive of their personal information on the web. Though they don’t expect that it is vulnerable to theft, nothing is safe on the web. Hacker groups like Anonymous expose the threats that most people don’t see or can’t fight because of the sheer power that they are faced off against. Anonymous acts like the Robin Hood of the digital world, taking from the high and powerful and giving back to the common people. Anonymous may be looking out for the general public, protecting their rights that are being squeezed by the government and major corporations, but they themselves are invading the privacy of many companies and government organizations. When Anonymous hacked HBGary, many private files and communications were exposed and released (Norton). In a way, Anonymous has shown the people that they need to stand up and defend their right to their privacy, because many organizations will breach that privacy, legally or not.
Edward Snowden is a former CIA systems administrator and Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) counterintelligence trainer. In 2013, Snowden worked for a small firm that worked within the NSA in Hawaii called Booz Allen Hamilton. In May of 2013, Snowden traveled to Hong Kong where he met with two journalists who he then disclosed stolen intelligence files that he obtained while working in Hawaii. This is the biggest intelligence leak the United States has ever seen. Snowden is now stuck in Russia, as his passport was revoked while he was in transit to Latin America (“Edward Snowden”).
Snowden, through interviews with news agencies, has claimed that he only stole the information and files because he was doing the country a favor. During his work in Hawaii, he had a change in heart thought that it had to be stopped. The invasion of privacy that the government was committing was too much for Snowden to handle. He exposed some of the NSA and United States governments programs that invade the online privacy that many Americans thought they had (“Inside Snowden”).
Snowden’s change in heart has put him on the same side of the internet privacy struggle as groups like Anonymous and those who are against the SOPA, PROTECT IP, and CISPA bills. Many Americans feel as though their privacy is being violated, but Snowden has the proof. He has the programs and documents that show the government has been invading the common people’s online privacy. Though it may be for different reasons, Snowden, Anonymous, and those against the aforementioned legislation have a lot in common. They all just want to see the internet thrive and see people have their online rights and privacy protected.
"Bill Summary & Status 112th Congress (2011 - 2012) H.R.3261(SOPA)." The Library of Congress, n.d. Web. 24 June 2014. 
"Bill Summary & Status 112th Congress (2011 - 2012) S.968 (PROTECT IP)." The Library of Congress, n.d. Web. 24 June 2014. 
"Edward Snowden." Wikipedia, Web. 24 June 2014. 
"Inside the Mind of Edward Snowden." NBC News. 28 May 2014. Television. 
Norton, Quinn. "2011: The Year Anonymous Took On Cops, Dictators and Existential Dread." Wired 11 Jan. 2012: Web. 24 Jun 2014.