The Curious Case of Jeremy Clarkson vs Greta Thunberg

I have been called a fence sitter by many people over the years, and I am in a sense that I always try and see both sides of a story. By the same token, I do tend to have an opinion on things, which is sometimes polarizing.

You have probably heard of Greta Thunberg, the teenage environmental activist from Sweden who has made waves with her School Strike for Climate and her work with Extinction Rebellion. She is someone who is so passionate about what she believes that she even convinced her parents to make changes, including going vegan and stopping flying.

Then there is the other person who is mentioned in the title of this piece and you have probably also heard of Jeremy Clarkson, co-host of the Grand Tour and writer for The Sun newspaper in the UK. Most recently he has had this article published in the newspaper, which brings me to the topic of the title of this piece.

I respect Greta Thunberg’s passion for what she believes. I also think its a very good thing to be passionate about. The environment of our little blue marble sees itself getting more out of control and more and more we see our most powerful individuals turn a blind eye. It is a bit sad that a lot of people still don’t care enough about keeping our world habitable and in modern society, it is very easy to take a lot of what we have for granted.

“I’m sorry Ms Thunberg, but if you’re going to lay into my generation, you must accept it when I lay into you and yours.” Started the retort from Mr. Clarkson. Whilst he rightly went on to list a lot of things we all take for granted, and I am quite sure even Greta Thunberg would even take a lot of the modern conveniences we have for granted too, he also takes something of a fight fire with fire approach. He makes a lot of decent points about education and learning genuine ways to help combat climate change, but he does so through calling her a spoilt brat. You can’t accuse someone of being spoilt because they’re having “a tantrum” by responding with a tantrum! I mean you can, but why should anybody take it seriously?

Now I can agree, that the way she addressed the UN this past week was, for want of a better word, unsavoury. Her (what I shall call) “How dare you?” speech lamenting on how her, and I’m paraphrasing here, dreams and childhood are ruined and that her audience only talk of eternal economic growth, whilst not entirely unfounded I would say, is also aimed at the wrong people. “Yet you all come to us young people for hope. How dare you!” she blasts. Yes, yes we do. We as people of the world have made a lot of mistakes, it is true, but politicians can’t make change without a plan. And yes, we rely on the young scientists doing real research to make those plans. Yes, many of us all wish things could be different, but addressing people in outright anger, regardless of applause, is not going to change anything.

Extinction Rebellion has said its piece and done what it needs to do, yet still we see days of blockades in major cities and worldwide protests. What are they achieving? Many of us are painfully aware of the situation at hand, and those who don’t want to listen aren’t going to change their minds because you inconvenience the common people. If anything, by attacking the wrong people you create more rifts in the debate. 

We live in an age where anger seems to topple all, from social media all the way to the mass protests we keep seeing and even from the media, all we see is anger. Everyone is angry at someone. We see it in many topics. We see it in discussion about Brexit. We see it in discussion about Donald Trump. Social media has very little constructive debate and an awful lot of throwing angry comments and we all know how much they get done. Surely, then, we can’t expect anger-induced speeches and angry retorts from the newspapers to have any effect either.

We all need to take a step back, find some civility and address each other with respect, no matter how wrong we might think the other side is. But truthfully it feels like prominent figures welcome the angry ranting, rather than the constructive discussion. It was welcomed in the UN with thunderous applause. It was welcomed in The Sun in an angry retort. We see it in our parliament buildings on a daily basis.

Free speech is great. We can all say what we want, how we want. And people are allowed to retort to anything you say in any way they see fit. That is how free speech works. You’re allowed to disagree with everything I say here, and I am allowed to stand by what I say. But we all need to take a moment to take some responsibility for our self respect, and respect for others and then, maybe, we might see some change.

Link’s Awakening on Switch: A Beautiful Remake of a Pretty Bad Game

I must preface this post by saying that I did indeed play the original Link’s Awakening on Game Boy, and have beaten both the original and the DX version on the Game Boy Colour. I also did that many, many years ago and my memory of them was lacking during my playthrough of the new and improved Switch Version. As a result, a lot of my playthrough felt pretty fresh. I didn’t recall a lot of the solutions from the original game and I did have to do a lot of working out, but as a result, feeling very unspoilt by my previous runs of the original/DX version, I can say that Link’s Awakening is a pretty bad game from a design standpoint.

It’s not all bad when you look at it on the surface. The art style used for the remake is incredibly cute and lovely to look at, and the reworked OST is beautiful. One thing I do remember fondly of the originals was the soundtrack, so hearing the music reworked for the remake was a joy. The Tal Tal Heights theme is still one of my favourite songs in gaming ever and the remake does it so much justice. Something about the pitter-patter of Link’s feet when using the Pegasus Boots made me grin from ear to ear every time I heard it too. Aesthetically, aside from the frame drops when the game loads an upcoming area you are transitioning to, the game truly is a marvel.

When it comes to the game though, this game is a remake of an early to mid 90’s Zelda game (or late 90’s if you are more familiar with the DX remake). The overworld is easy enough to navigate, mostly, gating off areas behind the need for tools found in the various dungeons as you would expect. But the game’s early design flaws show in said dungeons. The dungeons are the main event of the game, and again, as aesthetically pleasing as they are, are less of a test of intelligence and more of a test of patience. The game has a horrible tendency to not throw puzzles at you, but rather put locked doors in your way and taunt you with keys several rooms away. It’s less of “How do I resolve this puzzle” and more “Where the hell is the key for this door”. It leads to a lot of wandering around using trial and error, rather than using your mind to solve a fiendish puzzle which I found unsatisfying. This is much more of a thing later in the game, although I will give the seventh dungeon, Eagle Tower, a soft pass for its overarching pillar destroying puzzle. It’s just a shame the other dungeons didn’t have a unique mechanic similar to that. But I give it a soft pass because they still make the puzzle a lot more about running around and a lot less about actually solving the puzzle. The dungeon maps, however, have been given a much needed facelift making them easier to read and in turn, much more useful for finding your way around. The addition of allowing the player to add markers to both the main map and the dungeon maps does ease navigation to an extent, but often I found myself still getting lost and feeling more detail could have been added. 

The trading quest, which is actually mandatory to finishing the game, also throws some curveballs. A man asking for “vittles” who wants a pineapple, which is great if you’re familiar with the term vittles, could have been reworded, but wasn’t for authenticity’s sake I would guess. And the necklace was for an NPC who I wasn’t even aware existed because, during my playthrough, I was never led to them and was stuck running around all of Koholint Island talking to everyone until I happened to stumble upon the correct one. Games like this need a breadcrumb trail. It doesn’t need to tell you the solution, but with no guidance at all, you get left feeling lost and frustrated, unable to progress because you have no clue where to actually go looking.

For a 90’s game a lot of this was forgivable and for its time it was a great game, but the remake is very faithful, warts and all. On the surface it is beautiful, but all in all, it is still an old Zelda with very 90’s game design tropes and problems. If you are very familiar with the original there is a lot to get out of the remake and I am sure a lot of people will have a lot of fun going through a beloved game, but new players may find things get very slow and frustrating in the second half of the game, with lots of backtracking (that may not even be necessary but where are the clues right?) putting off some people here and there. It’s well worth a playthrough if you want to experience a classic Zelda with a luscious coat of paint though.

I understand that the dungeons couldn’t be changed much otherwise it just wouldn’t be Link’s Awakening. I’ll concede that, although 90’s game design, etc etc. and I appreciate the map changes. But yeah… Faithful remake or not, the game design is frustrating when you don’t know what you’re doing. 

There is one thing that wasn’t quite so faithful in this remake though, and that is the crane game and I LOVE what they did with it. Restocking items and actual physics involved made it genuinely fun to play and keep going back to. It just baffles me that, if they could change that so much, why couldn’t some of the other frustrations of the game be tweaked?