I don’t know about you, but I like doing my little description practices. It’s fun to get out of the house and go someplace interesting. Sitting down and really taking in the sites is both fun and relaxing. Plus, as I’ve mentioned in the past, doing this helps me improve my writing bit by bit.
Unfortunately, winter is still here and it really limits my options when it comes to going off on an adventure. Thanks to the cold weather, I’m not really exploring new places at the moment. Even when I do, I’m a lot less likely to sit down and pull out my notebook when it’s cold and windy.
So, as I tried to figure out what I wanted to do for description practices when I’m largely trapped inside, an idea occurred to me. I’m a gamer. I play videogames in my spare time and there have been plenty of times where I’ve stopped playing just to look around and take in my virtual surroundings. I’ve done this in all sorts of games, whether they have pixelated, blocky graphics like Minecraft, or have more realistic graphics like Tomb Raider.
I’ve seen plenty of awesome places in the virtual world, so why not describe them? It wouldn’t be any different from just taking a picture from the internet and describing it. I’ve decided until it gets warm enough for me to venture outside again, I’ll pop into some of my favorite games, find a good spot, and write some descriptions. I’ll put the game where the description came from at the end of the article so there can be a mini-game of guessing which game I’m describing. Depending on the game, I might not share an image for copyright reasons. (Some companies are very protective of their games to a ridiculous level. Looking at you, Nintendo.)
Other than that, the format for these articles will stay the same.
A bright blue sky rests above. Light, wispy clouds race on by.
Vibrant green grass covers the rolling hills of the valley, brightening the world. White flowers pop up at random through the hills. In some areas, the grass has given way to the ground from people passing through the area. Despite the obvious wear, there is no one in sight.
The valley is surrounded by sheer cliff walls. The only way out is through the natural passages worn into the dark rocks, or through the passages carved by others.
A few trees dot the landscape. Their thin, dark trunks support massive, cloudlike canopies of wispy green leaves. All offer cooling shade from the sun, and a few offer secrets yet to be revealed beneath their roots.
A mountain looms in the northeast. A halo of pristine clouds encircles the peak, obscuring the dangers within its volcanic depths.
In the center of the field stands a small ranch perched atop a rocky outcropping. The wind carries the scents and sounds of horses, cows, chickens, and the song of a young girl.
A cool, rushing river flows out of the cliffs just south of the mountain. The waters flood out of the narrow opening and gradually slow until they meander across the northern end of the field. The local kingdom uses those waters as a moat to safeguard the town. The town itself is barely visible over the massive stone walls. Only the spires of the temple and the towers of the distant castle can be seen from outside.
As night falls over the field, the kingdom raises its drawbridge. No one dares wander the field at night. The bones of fallen soldiers rise and pursue any who dare trespass in their domain. Some even claim to have spotted ghosts wandering the hills.
For starters, once again it felt like I’d written a lot more than I did. My chicken-scratch handwriting really made these paragraphs feel longer in the notebook than they are here on the screen.
These descriptions are pretty basic, and I want to say this is partly due to the game world itself. A little hint, this is an older game and while it has been remastered, the world is rather empty due to the limitations at the time of the game’s initial release.
However, this emptiness allows me to fill in some more with my imagination and some of the game’s lore.
New Game: Master Mode
Stepping out of the canyon from the forest reveals a vast green valley filled with rolling hills surrounded by sheer rock cliffs on all sides. The only way in and out of this valley is through crevices either carved by nature, or by the local inhabitants.
Collections of trees dot the landscape. Their thin dark trunks support massive, cloud-like canopies of wispy green leaves. Most of the trees in the field just provided shade, but a few hold secrets beneath their roots that only the smartest of adventurers could ever hope to find.
Elsewhere, patches of paper-white flowers spring up from the grass, adding a faint splash of color to the world. These spots resemble clouds as if some of the wispy tendrils had fallen from the bright blue sky during their race overhead.
In the center of the valley, perched atop a rocky outcropping, stands a large ranch. The buildings are walled-off from the rest of the field and could easily be mistaken for a small fortress. However, the wind carries with it the scents and sounds of farm animals. There seem to be horses, cows, and chickens within those walls. The wind carries another sound, fainter than the others. It’s a song sung by a young girl and the melody sounds like home.
To the northwest, looms a dark mountain that towers over the valley. Pristine clouds encircle the peak. The white halo softens the mountain and hides its volcanic nature from those unaware. Despite the slope's barren appearance, creatures do call the place home and have built a village buried within its rocks.
Just south of the mountain, a roaring river floods out of a narrow canyon. Anyone who falls into these waters is immediately swept away. The waters race through the northern portion of the field, eventually slowing until they dive underground on their way to a lake in the southwest.
Despite the lack of any living presence, the existence of people is proven by the trails worn across the field. These paths crisscross through the grass and lead to points of interest around the field. The biggest being the town situated at the northern end, using the river as a moat.
The legendary kingdom and its town are obscured by the massive stone walls. The only bits visible from outside are the temple’s spires, the top of the castle in the distance, and the quick peek down the main street through the open gate. The voices of a bustling marketplace manage to reach over the wall and entice weary travelers to come shop and relax.
As the sun sets in the west, wolves howl in the distance, and the town raises its drawbridge over the moat. No one dares set foot in the field after dark. The bones of fallen warriors are buried just beneath the surface, and in the darkness, they rise from their graves. These lost warriors haunt the field and attack all who are unfortunate to find themselves stuck out there.
If that weren’t enough, ghosts have been spotted in select locations. These lost souls frighten travelers and chase them away.
Anyone caught in the field after dark will have to fight to survive, and wait anxiously for the rooster’s crow in the morning.
Time for a Song
Did you guess the game and the location?
It’s Hyrule Field from the Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time.
I did a decent job with my image, right? ->
Minus Cat, of course. I'm sure he's having fun in Hyrule.
Ocarina of Time is a classic game from my childhood and even if it doesn’t have the most stunning visuals, even in the remastered 3DS version, it is still memorable. It’s hard to forget that moment when you step out of Kokiri Forest and see Hyrule Field for the first time.
Back then, the concept of an open-world game like that was so new and exciting. Up until then, everything I’d played had been pretty linear and the games held your hand from point to point. Combine this with the amazing story of Ocarina of Time, and you’ve got one of the most memorable and beloved Zelda games of all time.
I wouldn’t be able to, in good conscience, write videogame descriptions without touching this game. Combine that fact, with the fact that next week’s article also has something to do with Ocarina of Time, and this was a no-brainer of a topic.
Have you ever played Ocarina of Time, or any of the other Zelda games? If so, which one is your favorite?