By Jeremy M. Zoss in Features
Tuesday, July 13, 2010 at 10:00 am
|A Link to the Past: The source of today's life lesson|
By Aaron Matteson
Even after all this time, some people still think that video games rot your brains. They view the poor souls who play them as unwitting accomplices in their own destruction, frittering hours away on make-believe when they could be out playing stickball or something.
Little do they know that video games can teach you things.
Playing a good videogame can be, in some respects, like reading a good book: you can take themes, ideas and feelings from fiction and carry them with you into real life. Somewhere, in some senate subcommittee meeting, this claim made Joe Lieberman take a dump in his pants. But it's true. And we've got the proof.
Presenting Five Things We Learned from Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past.
What better place to start than this. Before we had any idea who the hell Odysseus was, we knew what epic meant thanks entirely to A Link to the Past. And every time we would slash 'n' dash our way through Hyrule, battling electric cucumbers and burly grenadiers, we would subconsciously be learning lessons about life. Like these:
1.) Don't harm the innocent.
So you're a dude with a badass sword that you discovered in a mystical wood, and you're wandering around town. And maybe you're kind of an asshole, so you figure you'll give a nearby chicken a stab just for the hell of it. And get this: the chicken makes a hilarious clucking noise and freaks out a little. So you do it again. And again. And again.
But God is watching. And after you've proven your wickedness with enough swipes at the bird, He looses His wrath upon you. Chickens spawn from nothingness and viciously dive-bomb you. They are everywhere; the ocean of feathers obscures the sun. Beaks and talons tear at your body as you stagger toward shelter. How does it feel? Who's the fucking big man now?
2.) You can always make a little extra cash if you know where to look.
We'll always remember the feeling of being low on rupees in Zelda 3.
"Oh man," We'd say. "Looks like it's time for a visit to the cave."
Then we'd venture down into that one particular cave where a pissed-looking guy in a beanie had surrounded himself with ceramic pots. Wasting no time, we'd proceed to wreck the guy's entire collection of pots as he looked on. I would take the money under the pots - and there's ALWAYS money under the pots - and be on my way. The guy in the cave would be left, presumably in shock, with no choice but to fire up the kiln and make all those pots again from scratch, weeping in rage as he thought of the terrible little man with the merry green tunic.
Don't worry too much about money. If you know what you're good at, like, say, fucking with a guy who lives in a cave, you'll always be able to get your hands on a little.
3.) Chivalry is not dead.
Yes, that's right, we just fought a huge scorpion with a GOD DAMN BATTLE MASK to free you from your diamond prison, ma'am. We had to hammer the mask until it broke and then stabbed him in the face with a sword, all the while dodging swings from his terrifying, lethal, neon orange stinger.
And I'll hold the door for you on the way out.
4.) You can adapt, even when the change is big.
When we first stumbled out into the real world with little more than a sheepish grin and an undergraduate degree of dubious worth, we felt very much like Link in the Dark World, transformed into a stupid pink bunny with no idea how to get back to myself again. We didn't know what to do, how to operate in this strange new place. But given a little time and some hard work, we knew that eventually my Moon Pearl would turn up in an oversized chest somewhere, and we'd be ourselves again. Thanks, Nintendo.
5.) Seriously, don't fuck with chickens.
You will pay for your sadism in blood.