Daily Debate: Should Link Be Held Responsible For Negative Actions Despite Being A Proxy For The Player?
Posted on July 11 2019 by Charles Xavier
Video games offer unique opportunities to do things we could never do in reality. In The Legend of Zelda, Link breaks the boundaries of reality often; he accomplishes many great feats of strength, uses magical items, all while traversing lethal monster infested dungeons. In addition to breaking boundaries of reality, moral restrictions can also be disregarded in video games, and occasionally they require that the characters engage in unlawful activities by reality’s standard. While Link is a courageous hero trying to save Hyrule or another land, he still does some morally questionable things. So, should he be held responsible for those negative actions despite being a proxy for the players?
In various Zelda games Link desecrates graves, eavesdrops on private conversations, steals various items, trespasses onto private property, and let’s not forget he breaks people’s pots, which admittingly is not something NPC’s usually take notice of. But, some of them do, and resent it, like Sue-Belle from The Wind Waker. Even when Link gets caught doing some of these bad things, he usually gets off the hook with few consequences for his actions. If Link is really at fault, shouldn’t his punishment be more severe? Perhaps in future games if he does something bad enough and is caught, he could end up in jail. To avoid being taken to jail, he must pay a fine, similar to getting caught breaking the law in The Elder Scrolls games. But maybe that’s too harsh? Afterall, it’s not really Link doing bad things, it’s the players making him do them. There’s certainly an interesting debate to be had here. In retrospect, how many of those bad things are imposed by the game itself, and do those instances where the player has no choice besides doing something bad cause a shift of blame to Link?
Would you like to see Link being punished for committing crimes? What do you think is the ideal way for punishments to be handled in a Zelda game? Alternatively, should there be any major consequences at all? Tell us in the comments below!