Unless you live in the middle of the outback and have no internet access and keep a pet Goanna named Joanna, you have heard about Nintendo rolling out a new female character for Hyrule Warriors Legends 3D: Linkle.
Here is what she looks like:
It’s important to note that they aren’t making Link a girl, they are just making a new character named Linkle. This is a bad name, I know this. I don’t have to remind you that it sounds like the word Tinkle.
The internet concern is that Nintendo isn’t brave enough to roll out a female Link, and instead are engaging in “faux progressivism” by falling into the trope of a Ms. Male Character. They are just giving Link prettier hair, but not allowing Link to actually be female or a lead in a Zelda game.
Hear me out: I agree that this is not a substitute for an actual lead female character in a traditional franchise title. But there is no reason to be angry for Linkle’s existence because it makes you wish for something else; it’s another playable female character that looks super cool, and I’m happy with that.
In this case, I feel like Nintendo is “darned if they do, darned if they don’t.” In a piece by Maddy Myers on The Mary Sue, she lists the reasons why Linkle makes her uncomfortable in spite of her excitement. One of her reasons? “Why do we care about The Legend of Zelda anymore? It’s a property with entrenched problems baked into its design.”
But I care! I know that the game is in essence a female-rescue trope, but that doesn’t diminish my enjoyment of so many parts of that franchise. It’s why I play all of the Zelda games over…and over…and over. If something bothers you within a piece of entertainment, yes, by all means, acknowledge it and make sure further iterations progress by whatever means necessary. But fun is still fun; ice cream is still delicious even though it’s not nutritionally healthy; and I’m going to play The Legend of Zelda games until I am 110 and on my death bed.
Even if they made an all-male Zelda starring The Village People as playable characters, by god I would play those puzzles until my eyes fell out.
Linkle is not a progressive choice, I understand this. But that’s not going to stop me from playing the hell out of that character when I get Hyrule Warriors. Nintendo is littered with white princesses in puffy sleeves that get kidnapped, but their game aren’t all princess capture cut scenes. If you want to see a game that has a female lead and is as addictive as Zelda, I encourage you to please do so. I will play it right after I finish the new Zelda and eat all of this ice cream in my freezer.