David MacKool

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Wiki Article #1: Legend Of Zelda

The History of Link (Zelda is the Princess)

The Legend of Zelda is a series of video games made by Nintendo that began in Japan in 1986, consisting of 17 games all revolving around a fantasy storyline in which the main hero, Link, rescues the princess Zelda by confronting the forces of evil. Even though the Legend of Zelda is a series of games, they are all created to be a self contained story, one that anyone can pick up without having to slog through the hundreds of hours needed to beat the previous games. This does not mean however, that these stories are completely separated, as they reference each other in their content to explain how it is all still the same world. With fans ravenous for more information, and as a method for building hype for their newest game, in 2011 Nintendo released an artbook titled Hyrule Historia, that gave a canon timeline for the games involving multiple generations of links, a forking event that splits the universe into 3 separate timelines, even beginning with a creation event and the actions of gods and goddesses.

The content of Zelda's Historians: Canonizing Fictional Chronologies

In his article, David Hussey focuses on the creation of timelines, and the attempt made by players to place the events of each game into a chronological order based on the small connections made by dialogue and subtext in the games. Before Hyrule Historia, there was still a desire to see the connections between the games, and in online communities there were debates and attempts to set a standard timeline of events that could explain all the hints found between he games. Hussey references something he calls The Historical Imagination, a type of thought process that by using Evidence and Authority, can allow historians to properly write about history. He states that the evidence portion of historical imagination can be found in the compilation of data found by players in the game's manual, the games text, and the games dialogues, and that the Authority aspect can be found through the reinterpretation of other fan's timelines to re-evaluate any overlooked information, and further sure-up any holes found in any other given timeline.

The context of Zelda's Historians: Canonizing Fictional Chronologies

Hussey's article leads to some interesting social impact on history with regards to the Historical Imagination. If people on the internet are following this process, they are effectively becoming the first fictional historians, creating a historical documentation on the world of Legend of Zelda. The article suggests that the way this timeline was sought is almost identical to the way an actual historian tries to piece things together, but instead of archeological scraps and ancient texts, the Zelda fan base has bits of dialogue and game manuals. He concludes his article by looking to the future of the series, with a new Legend of Zelda title being released soon, the internet is already trying to place it in the timeline. For example, using the parts of the trailer, they already know that the game must exist after the forking timeline, and with early concept art have narrowed it down to either before, or after, one specific game in the series.

Final Thoughts

This article really hit home for me, as an avid fan of the Legend of Zelda, I have put countless hours into playing every single game in its theories, and years ago I too found a similar fascination in finding how each game related to each other. It is easy to see how a group of fans can dedicate so much time to mapping it all out after you notice your first connection between games, and if you realize like I did, halfway through a game noticing that the skeleton training my Link was a Link from a previous game, the excitement of discovery can lead you to the internet to find out if anyone else noticed something similar. I think that it is in this way that many games like this find an extremely passionate fan base, with the feeling of discovering something that no one else may have known driving you to seek further into the game and its wording. It seems to me that this is how all historians feel about the time period they write about. It takes a similar kind of passion to dig through countless others findings to sure up what it is we know about something from the past, as the stories we here are mostly just that, stories themselves.

Works Cited:

Hussey, David R. (2012). Zelda's Historians: Canonizing Fictional Chronologies. Playthepast.org.

Wiki Article #2: SOPA, PIPA, and Hacking

Piracy, Privacy, and the Internet Legislation

Anonymous at this point has become a well known "group" involved with much of the internet's controversy, ranging from political activism, to playful tampering, and even delving into cyber terrorism, but calling them a group is somewhat of a misnomer, as its members constantly shift and aren't known hence their title anonymous. Though they mostly do what the do for the entertainment value of it, their jokes frequently cause real harm to the groups they target, such as the Sony leak causing their stock value to drop by almost 1/5th the amount before the leak, and is still leaking more information to this day. The anonymous web forums that the group anonymous frequents is also home to a multitude of links to pirated data, from music, to movies, to games, anonymous web forums enable the circumvention of copyright laws, which has led to the creation of two major pieces of legislation, SOPA and PIPA. SOPA is the Stop Online Piracy Act, which was created in order to give more power to law enforcement to tackle issues with regards to piracy of copyrighted material, and though it sounds good in theory, has the potential to cause more problems than it fixes due to non-specific wording used to draft it. PIPA is the Protect IP Act, and it was drafted in order to Hinder access to the websites that help spread copyrighted information, but in a similar way can be abused due to its vague wording.

Online Privacy and a lack thereof

In an article written by Reed Hundt, he best highlights the current problem with online privacy today with this quote, "The challenge in online privacy and security is a basic one: Who rules? Through law, citizens make choices, but, more importantly, they confer responsibility and assign accountability." This theme of "Who rules?" is an ongoing one throughout his article as he describes the give and take that comes from a desire for online safety and a desire for online privacy. Everyone can see the value of online security, if the government can find potential terrorists before they attack or if they can identify criminals due to their online activities, its great to have that knowledge, but the ability to get that knowledge comes at the cost of our online privacy. People want to know that what they have as "personal" online information, shouldn't be accessible to the government but in order to get that security described, they need to take steps to search through those documents to find these terrorists. Groups like Anonymous are able to hide within the current private information by using foreign hosted anonymous forums to communicate, and though SOPA and PIPA aims at stopping them from using this current workaround to protect their identity, by allowing them to ass the government would have the right to censor countless different websites and infringe on the average citizen's free speech.

Edward Snowden and Government Surveillance

Edward Snowden is known for his leak of confidential NSA documents that shows the capability of the government to pull our personal information into massive databases. Without Snowden's leak of documents, there would likely have never been any reform or investigation of these agencies activities, and they would still be able to go through all of the information we have stored in some way on the internet. On the show Last Week Tonight, host John Oliver interviewed Snowden in order to discuss the extent that the government can monitor citizen, and in the interview Snowden states the massive problem that allows this surveillance, "The internet is massively complex and so much of it is invisible." this invisibility is the root that the NSA uses to warrant searching for information by grabbing all of it.

Final Thoughts

Contrary to the views of many, I believe that Snowden did the right thing by leaking these documents, and I am glad that these issues are now being brought up in actual documentation and legislation in order to allow the public to have an actual input on the legality of these practices. With the interview done by John Oliver, though he shares this information with a slightly satirized form, he still puts it into terms that anyone can understand, and allows this complicated subject to be breached by people with less technical knowledge.

Works Cited:

Hundt, Reed (2014). Saving Privacy. Bostonreview.net.

Harvey, Jason (2012). A Technical Examination of SOPA and PIPA. Redditblog.com.

Robb, David (2014). Sony Hack: A Timeline. deadline.com.

Timm, Trevor (2012). How PIPA and SOPA Violate White House Principles Supporting Free Speech and Innovation. eff.org.

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver "Government Surveillance"