Posted on May 31 2011 by Nathanial Rumphol-Janc
This is arguably one the greatest articles ever produced by the staff of this site, and is brought to you by former long time Bomber’s member and news editor Nick Geml. He has another article in the works, but for now enjoy one of the greatest articles every produced at this site. This is a ZI Classic Revival.
There’s no byproduct of the Legend of Zelda series more interesting than the world of theorizing. Hundreds of articles, thousands of threads, and millions of posts have been made to discuss the Imprisoning War, the identity of the sleeping Princess Zelda, which timeline the Oracles belong in, and dozens of other controversial points of interest spread through the series’ mythology. While these topics may prove to be wholly engaging, it’s the writers themselves that make theorizing so fascinating.
Like the domains of rock n’ roll music or child stardom, theorizing may seem glamorous on the surface; underneath, however, lies a vile, disgusting, heartbreaking realm of broken hopes and dreams.
My first encounter with theorizing was years back, when I dabbled in the world myself. Luckily, I was able to remove myself before becoming too absorbed. On the eve of the release of something that could bring further damage to members of the community, I’ve decided to remove myself from the shadows and finally expose the world of theorizing for all to see. And so I present to you a study of 3 subjects, each representing one of the 3 levels of severity one reaches upon becoming a theorist—subject A, an entry-level theorist; subject B, a normal theorist; and subject C, a hardcore theorist.
The Entry-Level Theorist
The entry-level theorist, while nowhere near as afflicted as the other subjects, is undoubtedly the most troubling. Both subject A and subject B are all but without hope; subject A still possesses the ability to bring themselves towards sanctity. His life is what one might call normal—he has a solid group of friends, is able to interact with members of the opposite sex without stuttering, inadvertently altering his complexion, or creating the involvement of authorities. The subject enjoys the music of Lil Wayne, the writings of Chuck Palahniuk, and the television programs of Comedy Central. He has over 200 friends on Facebook. 12 of these, however, he has never actually met in real life; they’re people he knows from an online Zelda community.
His fondness of the The Legend of Zelda series comes from Ocarina of Time, a title seen by the other subjects as “highly inferior to Majora’s Mask.” Subject A has progresses only to acquiring the dungeon map in the water temple, but appreciated everything about the game up until that point. He was especially found of the fishing mini-game. He played Wind Waker in later years, and wondered why the world was suddenly covered in water. He googled “zelda”. He joined Zelda Universe. He created a thread. He made the worst mistake of his life.
After catching ten minutes of a popular reality television show, “A Real Chance of Love,” the subject returned to a thread filled with magic—beautiful maps and pictures, rich language, and intelligent discussion. He replied “wow guys thanks for all the info, i’m glad i joined this forum; but i do have a question what’s an oot?” In time, he would know more about “oot” than anyone could have ever guessed.
Diet: Fast food, with a particular fondness of Taco Bell; home cooking.
Habitat: College dorm room, parents’ house.
Mannerisms: Made eye-contact and smiled during conversation.
Appearance: Average looking; lots of graphic tees & shirts with witty one-liners.
Disorders: None apparent.
The Normal Theorist
While not normal in the normal sense of the word, subject B is your everyday, regular member of the theorizing community. He takes theorizing to another level. His Firefox bookmarks folder reveals several threads, fansites, guides, text dumps, and videos all relating to Zelda theorizing; they are mixed in with comparatively normal links, though—College Humor, The Onion, Pitchfork. The subject’s knowledge of the timeline is impressive. He’s fully aware of theorizing jargon. His timeline is well-developed and kept organized in a Word document—dozens of edits are made to it each week. Multiple pages describe his thoughts on various controversial topics—the ending of Ocarina of Time, the state of the Triforce in A Link to the Past, the Master Sword’s authenticity in the Oracle games. His control of grammar is more developed than that of subject A’s, but still suffers from time to time with proper use of the semi-colon.
A phone interview was recorded with the subject’s former best friend.
“I’m glad someone else has taken notice of [name omitted]‘s problem. I wish there was something we could do about. I’ve known [name omitted] since a young age, long before any of us even knew how to even pronounce theorizing. As we grew older, we both grew a fondness for the series, but he took it way too far. It’s scary. We went from spending our Saturdays together, making lemonade ice-pops and watching old Charmed reruns to only sharing an occasional chat on Facebook. He’s not the boy I used to have a crush on. Theorizing has changed him. He doesn’t even play the games for fun anymore—playthroughs are for research, not for personal enjoyment. I’ve read his posts on this one Zelda site… he has over 1,000 posts in the theorizing section. I still see small moments of the [name omitted] I used to know. I brought up the time we slept outside on his trampoline and watched the stars in each others arms… I could tell he wanted to smile. But he didn’t. I’m not sure if there’s hope left”
Diet: College’s cafeteria food, ramen, delivered pizza & Chinese, caffeinated beverages to power late-night gaming sessions.
Habitat: College dorm room, apartment.
Mannerisms: Is able to converse somewhat normally; sarcasm and cynicism do slip into conversations at times. Fingernails appear to be compulsively chewed, especially during social interaction.
Appearance: Can range from average weight to slightly overweight. Mild acne covers his face, neck, and back. Hair is slightly greasy. By all means a ‘regular guy’ on the surface, but signs of slight social awkwardness do exist.
Disorders: Slight social anxiety.
The Hardcore Theorist
The hardcore theorist is the most rare of the general classifications of theorists. A typical theorizing community might consist of 45% entry-levels, 50% normals, and only 5% hardcores. The subject’s approach to theorizing is serious. His forum signature and avatar are very well-made. He has links to his works in his signature. His posting style consists of capital letters and proper punctuation. He displays a particular fondness for semi-colons, using one in an estimated 70% of his posts. He writes articles for a popular Zelda fansite, his word on topics highly-regarded by those with less experience.
The subject’s computer is an apparatus whose only function is aiding him in his passion. Bookmarks, search history, and recently visited pages show no signs of anything social—no Facebook, MySpace, Flickr. A Twitter account is possessed by the subject, however, but only to follow ZeldaInformer’s news updates. Every time an update is added, he laughs to himself at the thought of having to rely on a fansite to get Zelda news. The subject claims to already know about what the ZI team is posting 3 minutes before they actually post it. His only form of social interaction comes through the comments in his articles and his debates with other theorists. He has a debate record of 56 – 5.
Dozens of text documents occupy his hard drive, separated into multiple folders. Notes aren’t exclusive to his computer, however, with several notebooks scattered throughout his room. One such notebook was labeled “Notes, perspectives, theories, themes, thoughts, and questions on Ocarina of Time: A General Exploration”. It was 300 pages long.
The hardcore theorist treats his word like fact. He’s right. You’re wrong. If you call him out on his word, you’ll be subjugated to personal attacks. To the subject, theorizing is not a game. It’s not for fun. It’s not to better his knowledge of the Zelda universe. It’s not to get to know other theorists. It’s his religion.
Diet: Ramen, Kraft Easy Mac. Cupboards contained 2 boxes of the chicken flavored variety. When asked about beef flavor, the subject gave our interviewer the coldest stare imaginable.
Habitat: Parents’ basement. We estimated no less than 30 Zelda-related posters covered his wall. His room shows no signs off having been cleaned in months; a milk carton with an expiration date of two months ago took residence next to an empty box of Count Chocula cereal.
Mannerisms: Dark circles reside underneath the subject’s eyes. Hair is long and kept in a ponytail. Face is covered in severe acne. Displayed nervous habits during conversation—constant foot tapping, nail biting, head scratching. Rarely made eye-contact. Smiles were not present by anyone during the time spent studying the subject.
Disorders: Heavy social anxiety, including shyness, performance anxiety, public speaking anxiety, and stage fright. Displayed many symptoms of APSD.
The results of this study leads to multiple conclusions: 1) one should moderate oneself to avoid progressing towards the degrees of subjects B and C; 2) theorizing can avoid being harmful if used in moderation; and 3) a slippery slope awaits those who enter this addictive, dangerous world. It is my hope that this literature serves not only as an informative glance into a misunderstood world, but as both preventable guide to those not yet afflicted and a wake-up call to people already suffering. One might feel one isn’t harming oneself, but with the information and tell-tale signs presented here, hopefully the danger can become perfectly clear. If one chooses to theorize, one is risking his own life. Friends, family will be lost—relationships destroyed. Anxiety will increase. Disorders will develop.
I plead of you: familiarize yourself with my words, and if anyone you know shows any signs of increasing their interest in theorizing, stop them at all costs.