Thursday, May 5, 2016

Actually the arc of history is basically just The Legend of Zelda

Bernie Sanders reminds me very much of myself the first time I ever played Final Fantasy XII...liberals in this country didn’t back off single payer because they wanted to do it, or because a bunch of shadowy corporate masters pulled their strings. They did it because THEY DIDN’T HAVE THE LEVELS! ......Everything Bernie Sanders does...smacks of a guy who thinks he is definitely going to slay that dragon despite the fact he is alone and armed mostly with dreams of victory......We can’t afford to waste a presidency on a fit of anger by poking the dragon in the ass with a substandard sword just because we hate the dragon. - Jef Rouner
We've seen a lot of semierudite, half-baked election thinkpieces over the past year, but this one may be the most grossly uninformed and apocalyptically wrongheaded any media outlet will ever publish. Rouner appears to be entirely unacquainted with even the most elementary scholarship and basic theoretical principles of gaming historiography, gaming critical theory, the political economy of gaming, and gaming game theory. The reason his article doesn't mention seminal names like Miyamoto, Chu, and Wario is because he is clearly unfamiliar with their work. Instead of publishing in one of the endless journals on Interdisciplinary Political Gaming Studies (IPGS), he bypassed the peer-review process completely and took his argument to an opinion page - the sure sign of a crank.

I am not going to spend the next few hours systematically deconstructing this, but the basic problem is simple. The overwhelming consensus of IPGS scholars have long understood the base and superstructure of capital and state as an anthropomorphic pig-sorcerer, not a dragon. [Gamepro (2004) I6V2, pp. 553.] From that, it follows quite directly from the Law of Nintendo Analogy that the American right should necessarily be understood as Ganondorf aka Ganon, the recurring antagonist of the Legend of Zelda RPGs.

Obviously one can't defeat the Wild Saurian (note, not a dragon either) at the beginning of Final Fantasy XII without considerable grinding. If that were at all relevant to the 2016 election, it might follow from IPGS that history is basically just FF12 and that the progressive movement needs to spend the next several centuries leveling up. But history is not FF12. History is clearly the Legend of Zelda, and that means that no amount of leveling up will allow you to beat Ganon (read: Republicans) unless you have the silver arrows (read: democratic socialism).

This is scientific fact. We could get into the weeds on how Game Genie Theorem could come into play here, but that would be an exercise in futility if we can't even get the remedial basics right. Over the past several decades, IPGS has given us a whole body of important insight into tactical debates over electoral politics, and our media would be much edified with a sophisticated and rigorous analysis of current events that makes use of its analytical framework. Suffice to say that Rouner is unlikely to receive an invitation to this year's conference.