Retrospective: The Legend of Zelda

February 21, 2016 was 30 years since the release of the original legend of Zelda. In celebration of that, here is a retrospective on the games in the series I have played. (I have not played all of the games.)

The Legend of Zelda (NES) — This was an amazing game, and more so when you consider the time it was made. It was revolutionary in the various different kinds of weapons you could collect and use, and the sheer size of the game. Looking back thirty years later, the attention to detail in the graphics is truly stunning.

The Adventure of Link (NES) – This was a quality game that suffered by being radically different from its predecessor. Nintendo abandoned the top-down approach for a side-scroller, so it was a completely different game that to this day does not feel like it belongs in the Zelda family. Nonetheless, the graphics were amazing for the time and the combat system (while rudimentary by today’s standards) was groundbreaking in having the player actively use both his sword and shield while learning the opponent’s weaknesses.

A Link to The Past (Super NES) – A bigger game, with more weapons, more items, better graphics and the first real attempt at establishing a story in-game. This was a true sequel to the first game, and remains playable over two and a half decades after it was released. It perfectly builds on the foundation of the first game. There really is not much more I can say without gushing about how great this game was.

Ocarina of Time (Nintendo 64) – I was very worried about this game. I saw where the move to 3D worked, and I saw where it failed. Much to my surprise, a game in a 3D world managed to capture the spirit of the earlier game. With significantly different game play mechanics, this game still felt like a Zelda game. There is an incredible amount of stuff to see and do beyond completing the main game, and spending time chasing side-quests makes the game easier by providing extra weapons, durability, bottles, health and magic.

Majora’s Mask (Nintendo 64) – In many ways, this was an improvement on Ocarina of Time with the ability to play as other characters by donning different masks, and as always there is a ton to see and do. But ths game had one major flaw: A timer. Zelda games have always been built on exploring every nook and cranny of the over-world and dungeons. Bomb everything, use every item, and explore as much as possible. Having an artificial time limit (which could be reset) to finish everything was an annoying artificial limitation on what could be done.

Phantom Hourglass (Nintendo DS) – While I understand what Nintendo was trying to do here, and I appreciate the attempt at innovation, using the stylus to play the game was not user-friendly. Zelda should be played with the buttons, not with a stylus. Plus, some of the other things that had to be done – such as yelling loudly into the microphone to activate a switch – were just too gimmicky. I made it to the final boss and never got around to finishing the game. I never played Spirit Tracks because I had enough of the gimmicky game play after the first one. Nonetheless, the graphics and sound were great and there was a lot to do and a lot of things to discover.

A Link Between Worlds (Nintendo 3DS) – A true sequel to A Link to the Past, this game takes the parallel worlds concept and expands on it. It is a more expanded “mirror universe” than in LTTP and there are plenty of nods to other games. For example, you see Majora’s mask right away. My only complaint us that the game is a little too easy. I never really felt like the bosses were much of a challenge until I fought Ganon.

This has been a great series and it is astounding that it has been thirty years since the original was released in Japan. Realizing this series began thirty years ago makes me feel very, very old.

A friendly reminder…

Never post anything on Facebook, even in a private group, that you would be horrified to see as the lead story on the nightly news, on the front page of the New York Times, or as the lead story on your favorite news website. That also goes for Instagram and Twitter and Tumblr and Google Plus and MySpace and Friendster and Yahoo 360 and… etc. etc. etc.

Protecting women from rape is not "rape culture"

Every now and then, I get a spam email at work, usually followed by a warning from IT to not open the email and just delete it. The email is a “phishing” attack meant to trick me into divulging critical personal data. I do not recall ever hearing a Leftist complain that such warnings are “identity theft culture” and we should instead teach identity thieves to not steal people’s identity. Yet we hear this all the time when any authority figure advises women on how to protect themselves from sexual predators.

Look. I get it. We do legitimately have a problem with idiots who think rape victims are “asking for it” when they are attacked, even when there is nothing they could have done to protect themselves. We have a legitimate problem with not taking victims seriously. Those attitudes are wrong and need to be eliminated. But the reality is that we will never live in Utopia. There will always be evil men (and women) who prey on others. Simply telling rapists not to rape will not work because some people are evil. So given that evil is real and will never be destroyed until Jesus Christ returns, we need to recognize that we live in a world where evil exists and help protect people from that evil.

Therefore, we need to have a balance. We need to teach our boys and young men to respect and honor women, and to never take advantage of them sexually. We need to make it very clear that forcing anyone into a sexual act is wrong in absolute terms and will never be tolerated. But sending that message does not and should not preclude educating women about how to protect themselves, especially when there is a specific threat – such as increased use of drugs like Rohypnol. The other side of the coin that educating women about how to protect themselves in no way prevents anyone from “telling rapists not to rape.”

There is no question that rape is a thorny subject. We need to be careful that advising women about self-preservation does not devolve into victim-blaming. (I am absolutely sure that Claremont University had no intention of victim-blaming.) But we should not be so Politically Correct that we are paralyzed from taking wise and prudent steps to warn about sexual predators and help women protect themselves from those predators. We all have the same goal here, so forming a circular firing squad is counterproductive and foolish.

Property rights are essential to our liberty and prosperity

We enjoy an incredible amount of freedom in these United States, but have you ever considered how essential private property rights are to all of our liberty? If you look at the Bill of Rights, those rights are built on the foundation that private property rights are essential and cannot be violated by government except in the most extreme of circumstances.

Freedom of the speech is interwoven with private property rights, because our free speech rights allow us to distribute literature, place signs, and write letters. Freedom of the press is built entirely on private property rights because if the government can steal the means to produce a newspaper, pamphlet or book (or today, a website) then the right is meaningless. You cannot have freedom of the press without the right to own a press! Freedom of assembly requires the right to have a place to assemble while freedom of religion requires property rights to prevent the government from confiscating a church building or the Bibles inside.

The Second Amendment is all about private property rights, because firearms are private property. The Third Amendment, also, requires private property rights. The Fourth Amendment assumes private property rights in preventing unreasonable searches of our things, while the Fifth Amendment requires due process for someone to be deprived of property. The ban on excessive bail in the Eighth Amendment rests on private property rights. The Thirteenth Amendment protects the ultimate in private property rights – the right to one’s own body.

Our economy is completely dependent on private property rights. If not for private property rights, people could not own a farm, a factory, a store, or their inventory. Without private property rights, our homes could be taken, throwing our economic productivity into chaos. Without private property rights, we could not travel to and from work in today’s economy, because we could not own cars to drive. We could not be productive when we get to work unless our employer’s private property rights are protected, and just basic things like the clothes we wear would not even be ours.

All candidates for elective office – from the President of these United States down to city, county and township government – should be expected to defend and protect private property rights as an essential and non-negotiable part of our liberty and prosperity. No candidate for any office who disregards private property rights should ever be elected (or appointed!) to anything. If we do not have private property rights then we have nothing at all – we are just fully dependent slaves to the State. This is not acceptable.

Corrupt police, limited government and our sin nature

As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. — Romans 3:10-12

Conservatives should read Kevin Williamson’s editorial about police corruption and apply our suspicion of big government to law enforcement as we apply that suspicion to agencies such as the EPA and IRS. Christian conservatives then need to go back to Scripture and read Romans 3:10-12, which I have helpfully quoted above, because we need to recognize a very important (indeed undeniable) fact: There are corrupt cops.

There are corrupt cops because humanity is stained by sin, by nature and by choice. There are corrupt cops just like there are corrupt accounting representatives, corrupt payroll clerks, corrupt pastors, corrupt janitors, corrupt judges, corrupt waitresses, corrupt cooks, and corrupt everything else. There is not something magical about being a police officer that excludes people who are corrupt, or people who are brutal, or authoritarian jerks, or just plain old bullies. We all have a sin nature and we are all prone to wickedness.

I understand the conservative knee-jerk reaction to defend police, especially having grown up in the tough-on-crime 1980’s and come of age in the 1990’s. After all, cops protect us from the worst of society, so how can some of them actually be evil? And to be sure, there are plenty of good, honorable police officers trying to serve the public as well as they possible can. I believe these represent the majority. But there are police officers who commit horrific abuses of power, framing innocent people for crimes while knowingly letting the guilty go free to commit more crimes.

We can respect and support the police while recognizing that there are not only bad apples, but there are actually entire departments that are utterly corrupt all the way to the core. This is why conservatives should support oversight and transparency, as well as meaningful reforms that protect due process and civil liberties while allowing the police to do their jobs without being micromanaged.

We should view the police as an agency that is necessary to protect the innocent, preserve public order and punish the guilty while still recognizing that police officers are human beings every bit as prone to sin as we are and therefore in need of oversight and limits on their authority.

Women in combat is immoral and makes America weaker

I was shocked and dismayed to see Republican candidates for President endorse registering women for the draft, a truly stupid position that will make our military weaker and subject American women to being raped – possibly brutally gang raped – by Muslim terrorists. Republicans are siding with Barack Obama against our national security! I posted a quote on on Facebook about the realities of ground combat and I strongly suggest that everyone read it.

Look, I realize we live in a society that hates distinctions and generalizations, but the reality is what it is: Men are bigger, faster, stronger and more durable than women. As Rich Lowry points out in National Review: “The top 25 percent of females in anaerobic power overlapped with the bottom 25 percent of males; the top 10 percent of females in anaerobic capacity overlapped with the bottom 50 percent of males.” Women are also more injury-prone.

Obviously, there are exceptions to every rule. Even though I outweigh mixed martial arts fighter Ronda Rousey by twenty pounds and I am three inches taller, if I ever got into a fight with her I would be completely obliterated. Even if you matched her up with me from 20 years ago, I would be dominated. But as I have pointed out before, limited exceptions to a general truth do not invalidate that general truth. Rousey is tough as nails and I would never want to cross her physically, but against an actual male soldier in ground combat, she would lose and lose badly.

I said on Twitter last week that “if you support women in combat, you are pro-rape.” That is true. Horrific as it is, rape has been a weapon of war all throughout human history. We saw it in the Yugoslavian civil war, and we are seeing it today in the Islamic State’s rampage across Syria and Iraq. Do we really want to intentionally subject our women to that, given that capture is inevitable in any war?

There is absolutely no military need to send women to fight, kill and die in a war. The only reason to do this is to be Politically Correct and serve a deranged egalitarianism. It will make out military weaker, cause more women (and men) to be maimed and killed, and subject our female soldiers to sexual torture at the hands of our enemies. It is a grossly immoral decision that should be reversed by the next President.

For more on women in combat, see: