The Weekend in Review; June 19th, 2017

A philosophical question:

Say you're driving on a busy highway and an accident occurs a few cars in front of you. It doesn't matter whose fault it is. It doesn't matter how the accident occurred. All that matters is that two cars were involved. In this scenario, no one was gravely wounded, but the cars have crashed in such a way as to impede the flow of traffic, resulting in complete gridlock.

You were on your way home from work. Tonight was the night you and your significant other were to attempt to reconcile after months of fighting and dysfunction. You are of the belief that if you are to miss this meeting, or to handle it indelicately, or screw it up in any way, then the resulting diplomatic failure would lead to divorce. The future of your marriage or partnership may rest solely on you arriving on time and successfully negotiating a detente, outlining next steps, and engaging in a firm handshake deal (or perhaps in this case, awkward sexual intercourse followed by several hours of Planet Earth 2 whilst eating vegan ice cream in bed).

In an effort to prevent this collapse, would you sanction the use of a taxpayer funded program in which a city or state employee piloting a powerful robot suit arrives on scene and literally kicks the two cars off the road, presumably into the shoulder, to allow for the flow of traffic to resume? To clarify further, you do not know how many occupants are in the two cars that the robot has targeted. You do not know if they are old or young. Sick or healthy. Man, woman, or gender non-conforming. Jewish, Christian, Muslim, or Atheist. You do not know if they will survive this kicking process.

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Think on it for a moment and I'll tell you about me finally beating The Legend of Zelda: The Breath of the Wild (2017) this past weekend.

I'm a huge fan of open world video games, especially those of the sci-fi and fantasy varieties. I think that they are capable of providing fundamentally more immersive interactive experiences than their linear counterparts. Though they are perhaps sometimes less powerful narratively. This is probably due to the "choose your own path" style of gameplay that makes telling a straightforward and controlled story difficult for writers to wrangle.

I will say however, that open world games, especially those with complex systems of play, require an inordinate amount of handholding, tutorials, and acclimation, especially during the early hours of a game. This can be really frustrating, seeing as how the whole point of playing an open world game is to, you know, go out and explore the open world.

It is in this way that Breath of the Wild outshines nearly all of its competition. There are no tutorials to navigate, no training rooms for you run your avatar (the most androgynous version of Link in existence) through the jumps, flips, and rolls of combat--as a matter of fact, there are virtually no instructions of any kind.

Instead, the BotW developers simply let you loose in their beautifully crafted version of Hyrule, filled with monsters, quests, and tales big and small. These tales are perfectly suited for the eternal champion of Hyrule, the voiceless Link, He Who Is To Be Imprinted Upon. And they just trust that you'll find your own way. That's the beauty of this game. The player can truly chart their own path through it. I'm confident in saying I've never played anything like it. Not even another Zelda game.

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Okay, back to the hypothetical traffic robot scenario. Have you mulled it over sufficiently?

Allow me to add another wrinkle, something you may have not considered. Think about the other drivers stuck in the same situation as you. Think about the hundreds or thousands of other people going through their own versions of your divorce. Think of the missed dance recitals, soccer games, parent/teacher nights. What if there were an ambulance stuck in that gridlock? What if there were critically injured children inside?

Would the robot kicking legislation ever be justified?