The Most Savage Ways Games Have Punished Us For Cheating

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Link may be Nintendo's most moral, princess-saving, evil-smiting swordsman around—but that's not to say the Hyrulean is perfect. While he is, overall, a pretty moral tunic-sporting dude, he's been known to get a case of the sticky fingers every now and again.

In the fourth installment of Nintendo's Legend of Zelda series, Link's Awakening, players who fail to resist the call of their inner kleptomaniac in the Mabe Village Shop are punished by means of a permanent guilt trip. Instead of being tracked down by the authorities or receiving some sort of physical punishment, Link's Awakening asks you, upon exiting the shop with your stolen goods in tow, if you're "proud of yourself"—before renaming the hero "THIEF." At first, this new moniker is makes us feel guilty, sure. As we progress through the game, however, the constant reminder of our past crimes detaches us from who we really are. We stop feeling like Link, and feel more and more like THIEF. And that's not a good feeling.

There's no way to remove the Hyrulean scarlet letter once it's been branded. After all, you know what they say: once you go Thief, you never go back. And, for the record, you don't want to go back to the Mabe Village Shop—the shopkeeper will kill you.

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