‘Link’s Awakening’

Link’s Awakening, is yet another remake of a Zelda game, since Nintendo isn’t in the business of producing anything original. Originally released on the Game Boy, sometime in the 90’s, it was one of the first Zelda games ever, meaning that it is in turn, one of the most influential.

The remake of this game came out last year, and I got it for Christmas. The Legend of Zelda franchise is my favorite game franchise of all time, so I was excited to play this for the first time. But, I can firmly say that after playing it for just a few hours, this is a forgettable entry in the Zelda series.

Link’s Awakening should be a fun game, and for the most part it is, but it never really captivated me like other Zelda titles have. For starters, it’s a lot more linear, up to the point where once you leave every dungeon a talking owl just tells you where the next one is. It’s still up to you to find out where they are and how to get there, and that’s my main problem with this game.

There is absolutely no sense of direction. After every dungeon, it’s implied that you need to go back to areas you couldn’t before with whatever item you got, but the map is so big, it’s hard to figure out where you are supposed to go. Also, there’s a bunch of forced side quests in between that make you travel across the map several times over for no real reason. This gets confusing very quickly, and even though it takes the mystery out of it, I would just look up a guide.

One thing this game has going for it is its looks. It has a toy style of artwork that makes everyone in the game look like, well, a toy. The top down perspective of the game makes you feel like you are in a plastic diorama moving characters around.

However, while the art style is awesome, Link can only move in 8 directions, making movement very analog. The problem with this is that every single time Link turns, there is no animation for him changing directions, and it looks so forced. The fact that you have to deal with this throughout the entire game is such a bother.

The game plays well enough, like most top down Zelda games. The sword swinging animation is satisfying enough, and once you get Roc’s feather, which lets you jump and battle in 3D, the combat really shines. But like most things in the game, it has an underlying flaw. 

To use almost any item in the game that is not the sword or the dash boots, you have to select it to one of two item spots. This was understandable in the original game, because the Gameboy had a lot less buttons than the Switch does, but now that we have so many buttons, why should we be limited to using two items at a time? I wasted a lot of time switching items in the menu because of this.

So yeah, those are my thoughts on Link’s Awakening. Did I like it? Yeah, it was fun enough, but I have a hard time recommending it to anyone who is not a diehard Zelda fan or a 12-year-old. I mean that seriously, my little brother loved this game. It was one of the only Switch games he’s ever beaten before me.

My final rating for this game is 7/10.

Plastic bag bans: Are they really worth it?

Gavin Parsons, Marine Photobank: Image taken from: https://ocean.si.edu/conservation/pollution/plastic-bag-bans-work

There is no question that pollution and climate change are issues that are taking our world by storm. As new laws are put in place to add taxes to plastic bags or to ban them completely, it begs the question, are bans really going to work?

Everyday, people use disposable plastic products. Straws, cups, forks, bottles and, one of the most impactful, plastic bags. Plastic bags are easy to use, disposable, and many people use them for these reasons. However, are the benefits of them really worth the costs?

There is a shockingly large amount of plastic that is polluting our oceans. It endangers animals and leads to the emission of more greenhouse gases. According to ABC News, plastic bags clog storm drains and entangle and kill an estimated 100,000 marine animals annually.

The average plastic bag is used for about 12 minutes but they can take up to 1,000 years to decompose. People use about 500 billion single-use bags per year. This averages out to 150 bags per person.

The concept of reducing plastic usage seems easy, but it is harder than it seems. People have been building the habit to use these disposable bags for years and it’s a habit that is hard to break. 

According to ABC News, only three states in the U.S. have passed laws that ban single-use plastics like plastic bags. California, Hawaii, and New York are those three states. Other states like Delaware, Maine, and Rhode Island have mandatory recycling/reuse programs but plastic bags are not banned or taxed.

Ten states have placed bans on banning plastic bags. These states include Arizona, Florida, Iowa, Idaho, Michigan, Mississippi, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. These bans restrict the ability to control and ban plastic-bag usage. The bans in these ten states ban laws similar to the ones in California and Rhode Island from being enforced.

This encourages us to ask the question, are plastic bag bans really worth it?

According to “Plastic Bag Bans Work” from the Smithsonian, in 2002, Ireland made a simple change by adding a 15 cent tax on plastic bags in stores. They hoped that the tax would help people notice their habits and convince them to bring reusable bags. After the tax was put in place, plastic bag use went down 90 percent. Many shoppers ended up agreeing with the tax and were able to see the benefits.

Plastic bag bans work (at least in tax form)! They have made a noticeable difference in Ireland and have the chance to make an impact all over the world. Enforcing bans across the United States could show an amazing change; especially for marine life!