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Video Games

Everyone Should Be Nicer To Koroks

10:06 AM EDT on May 16, 2023

Nintendo

The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom has been out for all of four days, and it is already taking over lives. I myself have played an unconscionable number of hours of it, despite having a job. (I took off work Friday, not because TOTK was coming out, but not not because of that.) It is an absolute pleasure to play—to explore, to fight, to construct things—and it has fully subdued that part of my adult brain that stops me from thinking about video games when I'm not playing them. But there is one thing I do not love about it.

It is very mean, very unfair to the Koroks.

If you're not a Zelda knower, Koroks are little plant gremlins. They are your friends. There are hundreds of them strewn across the massive open world, sometimes hidden and waiting for you to solve mini-puzzles to find them, and they say "ya-ha-ha!" when you do. It's adorable. New to this game, though, are Koroks standing out in the open and carrying large rucksacks, presumably out for a hike. If you go up and talk to one, it'll tell you that it's been separated from its friend or possibly lover, and could you please reunite them? That other Korok is usually within sight, but across a chasm or up a slope, and your job is to build some sort of contraption to transport it over to its buddy.

Building is a big deal in this game. They put a Minecraft sandbox in Hyrule. You can build weapons and vehicles, and—again, this game has been out for four days—Zelda sickos have already made some amazing things. They've made flamethrower-penis giants. They've made basically the F-35, and about as reliable. You do not have to be this creative or handy to help the Koroks. Usually it's as simple as building a little glider or a little cart or a little rocket to get them up or down or over to their buddy. But that is not what some people are doing. Some people are building increasingly complex Korok torture devices.

This mindset is foreign to me. I wish to protect the Koroks! They have never hurt anyone, and in fact have helped me by giving me seeds to be exchanged for more slots to carry weapons, which I use to kill things (not Koroks). I can't conceive of the urge to purposefully obliterate them. Perhaps this is because I am not a serial killer in training.

Koroks were programmed to have cute little voices and to be capable of crying out in pain. This leads me believe that Nintendo knew players would ill-use them so, and in fact wished to encourage it. Antikorokism is rampant.

I am unsure which is sadder: when you can see a Korok's mangled corpse, or when it just falls into the abyss.

I also have not decided if it is better or worse when the Korok-killing appears to be accidental.

If you must murder the Korok, make it as quick and humane as possible.

Whatever you do, do not make the Korok suffer.

No! No!!

I do not play the game this way. Because I'm not a sadist, but also I do not care for making contraptions—my brain does not work along those lines. I just want to run around and swing my sword and eat my mighty bananas. But even then, even if you have the best of intentions, Korok abuse is inevitable. Below is my own clip; I had barely started pondering how to get this little dude up to his friend on the cliff, when the local wildlife got involved.

It's hard out there for a Korok.

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