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Addison’s sign obsession in Tears of the Kingdom is a little too real

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What’s with Edison? you know, sign boy Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom – You’ve definitely met her before. He’s a lanky, pin-headed dude with a dorky bowl cut who’s sweating to hold up an advertising sign. You probably first saw her in Hyrule Castle Town Ruins, but wherever you go in Hyrule, Addison is the first one you arrive at. He’s on an epic quest of his own – only in Addison’s case, it’s not saving the princess, it’s sucking up to her boss.

Edison’s boss is Hudson, the president of Hudson Construction. like bolson breath of the wild, Hudson will help you build a house later in the game, but you’ll feel his presence as soon as you arrive in Hyrule. After the upheaval, Hudson is generously sponsoring the rebuilding of the kingdom except for caches of building materials everywhere (which you can use to turn into strange vehicles or Korok torture devices to your heart’s content). And Hudson wants everyone to know about his generosity, so he sends Edison out there to make a sign with his face next to almost every cache.

Addison is one of my favorite characters tears of the kingdom, for several reasons. He’s absurd and funny, and he’s an excuse for some simple, fun little physics puzzles. If he drops the signal, it will fall off, so it is up to Link to affix it to a glued ultrahand assembly before gluing it in place. Each symbol has a different shape, which presents a different challenge, but also serves as a clue as to how to solve it. The puzzles are cute little palate-cleansers that break up Link’s journey, without getting too elaborate or messy to help the lost Korok get back to his friend.

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Edison is refreshing in another way, too. He’s a reminder that the Zelda games, as fictional and mechanically embellished as they are, are also about real life.

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Addison, talking to Link, looks pleased next to the badly defaced sign.

Image: Nintendo EPD/Nintendo via Play Gamez

The Zelda series has long been Nintendo’s most prominent outlet for saying something about the world we live in. Majora’s Mask, at the center of which an entire soap-opera of clockwork is ticking, is the most famous example. But think of any Zelda city and you’ll find memorable examples of the city’s petty envy, harrowing dreams, and bizarre peccadilloes. Memorization Skyward SwordHunting Meathead, Grouse? or Ingo, but the put-on worker Ocarina of TimeThe Lone Lone Ranch, who sells his lazy boss Talon to Ganondorf? The series is scattered with dozens of short plays that poke fun at everyday human vanity.

Addison and her signs are a classic example of Zelda’s pocket-sized satire. He is a middle-aged, helpless employee who is exploited by his boss’s arrogance. The image of him straining to hold the huge, unbalanced sign couldn’t be more clear. Hudson can’t do a good deed without using it as a vehicle for self-promotion – you’d think he has political ambitions – but Addison, desperate to please, shares some of the blame for his humiliation. Definitely a specific dig at cringeworthy Japanese workplace culture intended here, but anyone can relate.

It’s a sharp little vignette perfectly reinforced by the puzzle gameplay. The means you invent for erecting a sign are invariably vast, wasteful and elaborate; Addison’s final correction, meanwhile, is sloppy and looks like it won’t last more than two minutes. You both stand back and admire your handiwork—all this engineered effort in the name of nothing but corporate vanity. Then, it’s on to the next. In Hyrule, the world has ended, an abyss has opened, and the sky is literally falling – but life and work go on.

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