Salon.com recently posted an article in which some guy with way too much time on his hands took the time to tear apart the "social message" in Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. This is going to piss some people off.
Salon.com recently posted an article in which some guy with way too much time on his hands took the time to tear apart the "social message" in Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. In the article, author John Hochschartner says he's a fan and that appears to be so or at least has done a lot of research if he didn't play the actual game, but quickly goes on to say that "the ways it deals with class, race, gender and animal rights are all deeply problematic."
As far as the game's classism goes, Hochschartner says the clearest example is its portrayal of the carpenters in the employ of the House of Skulltulla. In the game, the workers are portrayed as "lazy and shiftless" and the author says that even though the game pretty much flat out says that greed is bad in a couple of places, "By focusing on the greed of individuals, the game ignores how private property incentivizes and even mandates such behavior. And with this moralizing focus comes a belief that society’s economic ills are intractable because of humanity’s flawed nature."
Yes, someone actually wrote that about Ocarina of Time.
As far as racism goes, Hochschartner paints with a wide brush and says that all the good characters in the game are white and all the bad characters are black or brown. And the Gerudo are reminiscent of Arabs and/or Muslims.
When it comes to sexism, the author quotes Feminist Frequency blogger Anita Sarkeesian, saying the game uses fantasy cliches that “normalize extremely toxic, patronizing, and paternalistic attitudes.” He says this because the hero in the game, Link, is male and he spends a lot of time rescuing female characters, most obviously Zelda. And when Zelda gets a chance to act she only has success when dressed as a man and gets quickly captured.
And finally, the author takes a swipe at the game's portrayal of livestock, saying that the animals at Lon Lon Ranch should not be so happy to be there, considering that pre-industrial farms were "still a place of exploitation and violence, where their lives, in general, would be significantly shorter and more circumscribed than those of their nearest, wild cousins." Seriously?
All right, if Mr. Hochschartner wanted the attention of gamers he got it. What do you think about his "analysis?"