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The other day, the lovely Brittany Vincent posted an AMA so that the readers could get to know their favorite new editor a little better. I love it when the "big dawgs" open themselves up to the community like that. I love it when anyone opens up -- I remember years ago when "10 Things You Don't Know About X" swept the Cblogs and we got to be so intimate with one another.

But despite how much I love these moments of candid conversation, I don't think I've ever once engaged in such activities. And that's dumb. How come, Tony, you bastard? Don't you want to make friends? Don't keep those secrets bottled up!

I mean, what do you guys even know about me anyway? Aside from my unhealthy obsession with Mega Man merch, but c'mon, that's hardly a secret. Did I ever tell you about the time I ran with the bulls? No, of course not, because I'm a jerk who doesn't share his amazing life experiences.

(By the way, I totally almost got stomped on by some bulls!)

I want to give this whole AMA thing a shot. I want to answer some off-the-wall questions about nothing in particular. I want to be your friend, hero, lover, sugar daddy, etc. Let's make it happen!

So... ummm... begin, I guess?

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Hey, everyone! As you might have noticed, I've decided to start doing musings again in my spare time. It's been too long since I've written anything that wasn't weighed down by deadlines or the need to be run past a group of copy editors. I had forgotten just how much fun blogging for the sake blogging could be, so expect to see more of this in the near future.

As for the article I wrote yesterday, I chose a sensitive topic to get my motor running. I think it went really well, all things considered. It got a bit heated in the comments, but that's okay. It's all part of the festivities.

But I do want to return to that earlier article for a brief moment. A short while ago, I came across some critical information regarding Linkle, the gal in green from the Hyrule Warriors artbook, and I think it deserves an addendum. So... here we go.

In my article, I linked to a post by Steven Hansen about the page from the Hyrule Warriors artbook with the character design in question. His post originally stated that Linkle was female Link, but a number of commenters pointed out that the Japanese text indicated that this was actually a relative of Link -- a sister or daughter, perhaps -- and not Link himself. Thus, Steven updated the post with the corrected information.

This piece of news resurfaced in the comments section of my article as well. The argument was that Nintendo wouldn't dare make an actual female Link, so instead here's this new sister character as a concession. Link would still be the strapping young lad he's always been, and those who desire a playable green-clad female would get his twin. Everybody wins, right?

But now the plot thickens.

The fans who first spotted and shared the finer details of Linkle's identity had misinterpreted the text from the book. Kotaku's Brian Ashcraft, who's fluent in Japanese, was able to decipher the page completely and get to the bottom of the mystery once and for all.

It turns out that Steven's original story was true all along. Linkle is the female version of Link! The text explicitly states that this is a "girl version of hero Link." Why the different name, in that case? The simplest explanation is that "Link" is a masculine name, so the character designer came up with a feminized version -- just like how there's "Ramon" and "Ramona," "Gabriel" and "Gabrielle," and so on.

Okay, then where did the idea that Linkle was the male Link's sister come from? Someone apparently spotted the kanji for "sister" and jumped to conclusions without the proper context. The complete translation of that particular line states that the character was "devised as being little sister-like" -- like the girl next door you knew since childhood but for whom you hold no romantic attachments (or do you?).

Of course, you won't find Linkle in the final version of Hyrule Warriors since that page of the artbook was dedicated to rejected characters. But this clarification does clear some misconceptions that have been floating about since her discovery.

I think this all is fascinating for two big reasons. One, the idea for a female incarnation of Link was proposed very early in the game's development; she even received the full concept art treatment before she was quietly shelved. I don't recall if we've ever come this close to a proper female Link before.

Two, despite being the Link through and through, there was just enough thought given to her conception to assign Linkle a different persona than male Link. That she was to come off as a "little sister-type" to other characters in the game made her unique, even if just in a minor way.

Why do I think she was ultimately scrapped? My guess is that Eiji Aonuma had the final vote in this decision. Maybe he saw some merit in the idea but figured that a spin-off developed almost entirely by a third party was not the proper place to explore that avenue. Clearly its not just the fans at home who want to see a female Link become a real thing anymore.

We're at the cusp of something great here. I really do think that we will see a female Link in our lifetime.

(Also, I'm shocked that even though the Kotaku article was posted last Monday, nobody here caught wind of it. Your web fu is getting weak, denizens of Destructoid!)
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I just got around to watching the Book 3 finale of The Legend of Korra (heart-wrenching ending, I might add). I'm always amazed by how good that show is. Sure, it doesn't quite reach the same lofty heights as The Last Airbender, but that doesn't prevent it from being amazing in its own right.

What really endears me to the show is Korra herself. She's tough, brash, impulsive -- everything that the previous Avatar was not. It's entertaining to go from the wise, collected Aang to this vastly different incarnation, only to realize that they both share the same righteous conviction. Two sides of the same coin -- a fitting analogy for a show so firmly rooted in themes of duality and harmony.

Oh, and she happens to be a girl.

Just two weeks ago, some photos of the Hyrule Warriors artbook began circulating the net. One image in particular, of a female Link concept, captured a sizable amount of attention. Was this a proposed gender option that was left on the cutting room floor? And what of the name "Linkle" associated with the design? Was this really a female Link or rather someone related to him who shared a similar name?

Whatever the truth may be, it got people talking. Hell, any time the subject of Link as a female is brought up, Zelda fans are bound to congregate in droves -- a good chunk are all for the idea, while others think we ought to leave well enough alone. The latter think, Link has been portrayed as male in every series installment for nearly three decades. He's an established icon. Why change that just to satisfy a vocal minority?

But Link isn't a single character, is he?

In the beginning, we all assumed that the Link and Zelda in each new game were the same people. Things started getting a little murky, so we switched gears and proposed that each game was the same "legend" retold, with the same characters assuming similar but subtly different roles.

Ocarina of Time came along to illustrate a clear progression from one game to the next. Then The Wind Waker explicitly stated that the Link living out on the Great Sea was not the same Hero of Time who vanquished Ganon in Ocarina of Time.

And even though these Link share visual traits, namely the green tunic and pointed ears, they often come from different backgrounds. He could be an orphan living amongst the forest folk, a child living with his sister and grandmother, a young man attending a high school in the clouds -- different people stretched across time, all linked together by the red thread of fate.

Kind of sounds like the Avatar, doesn't it?

In the Avatar universe, there's an individual once every generation who's chosen by an unseen hand to be the world's protector. When one Avatar dies, the spirit is reborn within a different race than the one before -- Fire Nation, Air Nomads, Water Tribe, then finally Earth Kingdom. And the kicker? Some of these Avatars are *gasp* female!

That the issue of any Avatar's gender is never once brought up as either a boon or a hindrance to their preordained role is a testament to how progressive the show is. The Avatar is both one and many; the residents of the world acknowledge that. Even regular benders are respected for their talents -- I can only recall a single episode in the entire series when female benders were marginalized, and it ended with the man in power realizing just what a misogynist ass he was being.

The Legend of Korra is in no way worse off because the protagonist has two X chromosomes. In fact, if you were to replace Korra with a strapping young waterbender named Korraq, there would be no need to make any significant changes to the story whatsoever -- save from making Asami the target of Korraq's affection rather than Mako, since I doubt Nickelodeon is ready to rock the cradle with a little swordplay action just yet, if you catch my drift.

What I'm trying to say is, the gender of the main character doesn't make a difference. And that right there is why it makes a world of a difference. Does that make sense?

Did girls young and old thoroughly enjoy The Last Airbender? Of course they did! It was a phenomenal show that appealed to people of all ages, races, and genders. And The Legend of Korra taps that audience as well, female lead be damned. In an interview with NPR, creators Bryan Konietzko and Michael DiMartino shared how Nickelodeon execs were worried that boys wouldn't enjoy the show. Then the results of the test screening came back, and you know what? The boys didn't care that Korra was female!

You know who does care? That one nervous girl who sees Korra as this empowering, ass-kicking figure and is subsequently inspired to be a little more proactive in school and life outside the home.

Aside from that, it's refreshing to see a popular piece of pop culture use its standing to promote gender equality in such a major way, and to do it in a manner that doesn't feel cheap or pandering.

So coming back around to The Legend of Zelda, why should Nintendo give female Link a shot? The real question is, why not? Is it really that drastic of a suggestion?

Like Avatar -- as well as most Nintendo franchises -- Zelda appeals just as much to girls as it does to boys. The hook here is that Nintendo has an opportunity to take Zelda in a unique direction that can't necessarily be done for its other properties. Mario is a defined character, as are Kirby and Donkey Kong and so on. But Link is special.

Shigeru Miyamoto once explained to French site Gamekult: "Link's name comes from the fact that originally, the fragments of the Triforce were supposed to be electronic chips. The game was to be set in both the past and the future and as the main character would travel between both and be the link between them, they called him Link."

But if you interpret the name differently, it could mean that he is the player's "link" to the game world. You are Link, and that's why you are free to rename him however you please. Zelda is a princess, because the legends state that there will always be a Princess Zelda. Ganondorf is the same character in every appearance, simply reborn like Dracula from Castlevania. But Link is whoever fate needs him to be at that moment. He could be a child or an adult or a brother or a student.

How about a girl? There's nothing in the in-game lore that says otherwise. The character of Link if but Zelda's right hand of justice, meant to come to her aid in her hour of need. That task doesn't have to always befall a male. I mean, wouldn't it have been something if Aryll had been The Wind Waker's Link and her brother was the bystander?

There is the issue that Nintendo has always presented Link as a boy in green. Avatar established from day one that no two Avatars are ever alike, so the jump from Aang to Korra wasn't met with much if any incredulity. Link's design and characterization have been far more consistent in comparison, but as I've discussed before, nothing's set in stone.

What exactly would change if Link were female? She'd still have a sword and shield. She'd still run around fields and dungeons, collecting rupees and items. Okay, she might attract a following of in-game fanboys, but is that any different than male Link and all the girls who fawn over him every other minute? Seriously, the only real difference would be the pronoun used to address her. Hardly a deal-breaking concession for the sake of letting a girl save Hyrule for once.

Such a simple change, but the effect would be profound. There's a reason why we have Korra instead of Korraq -- there's a nuance to her journey that simply wouldn't be there if she were just another dude. Many people don't notice it, but for those who do, it's made a significant impact, one that's difficult to quantify.

I watch The Legend of Korra and, despite its flaws, it makes me feel warm inside. Here is something special, something that is rarely seen on television (without resorting to magical girl transformations and sexualized fan service). I see the parallels between this show and the Zelda series, and it makes me want to see Zelda achieve something just as incredible.
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Yesterday, I tweeted this picture. What is this a picture of? The new Regular Show DVD, of course!

But wait a minute, you reply. There is no Regular Show DVD in stores! How did you get hold of this? Simple: Cartoon Network GAVE it to me. This DVD doesn't go on sale until April, but a copy was shot my way because I wrote this article last year.

Let's crack this bitch open.



You won't believe how lazy the box art for this thing is. It looks like the text was written in Paint. I would expect no less from this show.



Boom! "Over the Top" is in this collection! Instant gold!



Just like with LSP and the Adventure Time DVD, Pops adorns the disc art here.

Now, I didn't get this DVD just because I'm a big fan... no, no. Naturally, there was something more to the offer.

I'm not saying anything, but if I were to happen to, I dunno, talk to series creator JG Quintel in the near future, what kind of questions would you want me to ask him in regards to how he incorporates his love for videogames into the show? This is just a supposition. I'm not "saying" anything, wink wink.
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This is how I fuck up the ceiling in the office.

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Hey there, all you Chilly Willies! It's been a while since I've popped up on the community blogs. It's been way too long, I know!

Anyway, I've got a message for all my Florida peeps. From July 15 through 17 (two weeks from now), Nerdapalooza will be going down in Orlando. If you've never heard of it, it's an annual geek music festival featuring the hottest in nerdcore and arranged game tunes and what not. They've got great acts like brentalfloss, Mega Ran, Metroid Metal, The OneUps, The Protomen, and others, including a personal fave of mine, 8-bit Duane. It sounds like a blast and a half, doesn't it?

I am most definitely going, although I wouldn't mind having a bit of company. I really would like to go all three days, but I may end up just going on Saturday (that's when all the best performers play, anyway). If you are in Orlando or a few hours away, please stop on by! Just let me know by shooting an email to megastryke AT gmail DOT com or tony AT destructoid DOT com, or send me a message on Facebook.

Any takers? I'll be your best friend!
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