After E3 this year there was a rumor that you could play as a male Link or female Link in the new Legend of Zelda game. (sorry, no option for Parrot-Gender or Pluto-Gender).
Nintendo has now said that they game does not have that option, and there is an uproar from those that you would expect to cause an uproar. I feel Nintendo made the right decision, there is no need for a Female Link. Of course I have reasons for this opinion, and here they are.
Female Link will just be met with criticism.
One of the complaints about female characters in games is that they are just “Ms Males” or the “Ms Male Trope”. Basically taking a male character, and putting boobs on the character, or a gender signifier. Ms. Pac-Man is a good example, it’s Pac-Man with a bow, lipstick, and eye lashes.
Link is not a complex character for the most part. He’s simply a hero, the hero that always does the right thing, he braves dangerous dungeons, fights terrifying monsters, and rises against all odds to defeat evil.
So what would Link being a female change? Link never really had much of a gender performance to begin with so that leaves gender signifiers as the go to. They could then chose to expand Link’s character beyond the silent hero type.
At this point the next idea (at least from what I would think) is to change Link’s character. Let’s add this complexity to her, let’s add this, let’s remove that. Now we’ll change a few more things and now it’s not a Ms. Male Trope! However, once again this will be met with criticism. We have seen examples of it in the past and it falls under one of two arguments.
Argument 1: It’s just a guy with boobs, that’s not a real empowering female character.
Argument 2: You changed the character too much, we just wanted female Link.
It becomes a catch 22: There is no winning with the Sarkeesian style critics. The “feminist lens” that people like her and Jonathan McIntosh use is only meant to see problems, and offer no solutions, unless that solution is another problem.
Fans of the Zelda franchise and gaming in general have offered solutions. An obvious one is to breathe new life into the Metroid series, Samus got her start on the NES as well, and fans of the Metroid series have been wanting a new Metroid game.
Another suggestion is of course a game where you play as Zelda. Zelda being more of a magical based character, or stealth based as Shiek from Ocarina of Time could provide an interesting game that could blend the gameplay of Legend of Zelda with a stealth series such as Metal Gear Solid.
Of course there is always the option to create a brand new IP, a brand new character, female, male, transgender, white, black, etc. A good, fun game will be met with open arms by fans in the industry.
Critics like Jonathan McIntosh and Anita Sarkeesian, and all those that follow their thought process are not looking to try and change things and make them better. They’re only looking to change things, so they can continue their own business of being “pop culture critics.”
Keep in mind, they’re not praising the idea of more female characters in video games. Anita’s twitter doesn’t mention the game Horizon Zero Dawn once. A new adventure game with a female main character who rips apart robot dinosaurs to steal parts and upgrade weapons.
You know who’s excited for that game? Me; a heterosexual white male.
Of course, I guess instead of being excited for games and playing them I could just spend my time on twitter complaining that a game doesn’t have what I want, so I can then complain that they added what I want.
Yeah, think I’m going to go with the first option. I’ll be looking forward to Horizon Zero Dawn, and of course The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. It’s been too long since I’ve played a LoZ game, it’s about time I returned to the series.
Basically what I’m trying to say is, it’s time to stop listening and catering to those that want to do nothing but tear down, and instead encourage those that want to create and build the next generation of video games.