Zelda fans have every right to their passion. Being a Zelda fan myself, I understand the love, the joy, and even the fanaticism inspired by a franchise devoted to exploration, fantasy, and heroism. The resulting fandom that has blossomed since 1986 has been an ever-growing collection of gamers, artists, writers, musicians, and more, as those with Zelda games as part of their childhood go out into the world to discover their own adventures and misadventures alike. However, there are drawbacks to such fanaticism when coupled with the internet; one of which is the abundant access to, and thus the subsequent desire for, increasing amounts of information. We live in an era where oodles of information is at our fingertips, and news sources, Zelda news sources included, are bound to take advantage.

It is the simultaneous coupling of excitement that news exists and excitement to share it that can lead reporters to waver in regards to the responsibility of checking sources and publishing facts accurately. Journalistic integrity across the board is arguably getting rarer, especially with surges in enthusiastic rumors taken too seriously, morally questionable leaks, and lazy reporters focusing only on getting a story out. There is no news outlet exempt from these critiques, though as a Zelda Dungeon reporter, I try my best to report on facts accurately and informedly, not only because it feels right but also because the team here is encouraged to do our best to relay properly sourced information and to provide its proper context. I’m sure every reporter for every news outlet is encouraged similarly. We try not to contribute to the spread of misinformation, misrepresentation, and distortion of facts — journalistic “snowballing,” if you will.

And the latest video essay from YouTube channel The Hyrule Journals, entitled “The Snowball Effect Of Zelda Journalism,” provides a sobering reminder for why we operate in this manner.

The video highlights the issues and pitfalls in credulously trusting news sources by highlighting a situation that occurred in 2018, with roots back to the 1963 animated film The Little Prince And The Eight Headed Dragon. In short, an animator on the movie, whom was also a Nintendo employee for a time, was falsely credited as an art director for The Wind Waker, with a confusingly worded tweet resulting in numerous articles from a variety of outlets that compounded upon each other, until a particular article from a Zelda fan site was used as a source on Zelda Wiki.

Yoichi Katabe, who is rightfully credited as an artist on A Link to the Past, Link’s Awakening, and the Broadcast Satellite version of The Legend of Zelda, is now confusingly mistaken for also having a large role in The Wind Waker‘s art design/animation. Although the films Katabe contributed to in the 60’s and 70’s may have had a visual influence on the 2002 Zelda game, the art director for The Wind Waker was Satoru Takizawa, and Katabe was never mentioned in the game’s credits at all. When Katabe was asked if he was “at the origin of the very particular graphic style” of The Wind Waker, he said the following:

“Everyone tells me that I influenced them, but I have no direct connection with this game! In fact, I had worked on “The Mischievous Prince and the Extermination of the Giant Snake”, [made in 1963, unpublished in France] when I was at the Toei, and to give a very Japanese touch to the drawings we were inspired by haniwa [very clean, almost naive old sculptures]. I suspect that the Wind Waker team had seen the film.” [lemonde.fr]

“The Snowball Effect Of Zelda Journalism” — alternatively titled “Hearsay” — was written and produced by Javed Sterritt. Translations were done by Katrina Scialdone, the thumbnail was by HotCyder, and the music was provided in partnership with Musicbed. “Hearsay” is the second in a series of cinematic essays by Javed Sterritt, a series collectively known as The Hyrule Journals. You can check out the website for the series here, as well as the first segment “Line By Line” here, which talks about the development of Majora’s Mask.

The incident described in the video isn’t the only time the Zelda fandom has been misinformed in such a manner. A few instances that might sound familiar — all teeming with poor sourcing, speculation, rumor, and hearsay — include outlets crediting the wrong developer for an A Link to the Past PC port, reporting speculation about Nintendo patent filings or trademark renewals with little consideration to pertinent facts or historical relevance, claiming absolutely that a Zelda 35th anniversary poster from GameStop predicted what Zelda games were arriving on the Switch, and two separate instances where voice actors’ statements during interviews were taken out of context and overdramatized by journalists. Zelda Dungeon itself admittedly contributed to a snowball relating to Breath of the Wild‘s Spanish voice actors getting misrepresented by the press and have since amended our own reporting.

The two biggest problems to me in regards to journalistic snowballing are journalists taking an already-written article as fact, without questioning where the information is coming from, and journalists making assumptions or rewording rumors as facts for the purpose of clicks, views, and attention. As a reporter working on this site, I can think back to more than one occasion where an article had a fishy source I pointed out, or when there were things that came up that I and others felt uneasy about reporting as fact and thus didn’t. I’m not saying that Zelda Dungeon is innocent or perfect; I’m just saying that our team has seen firsthand how a story circulating around the internet can get out of control. We try our best, like everyone does, to bring you Zelda news that is factual, relevant, and well-researched.

What do you think? Is there a website out there that has lost your trust? Who do you depend on for Zelda news? Do you feel like you can look to anyone but Nintendo? Let us know in the comments below!

Source: The Hyrule Journals

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