Hyrule's Breathing Space

Hyrule's Breathing Space

Legend of Zelda's empty spaces self-pace the game
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I recently came across a video on YouTube about “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild” and its use of empty spaces. This got me thinking about the idea of empty space in a video game, because by all popular wisdom of the industry, empty space is wasted space. A player isn’t going to go somewhere if there isn’t an objective specifically pointed out for them, a myriad of collectibles strewn around the area, or some sort of hidden easter egg. At least, that's what many video game developers and publishers seem to think. Within the industry, there appears to be this need to densely pack everything in the game world. No corner of an open world can be underpopulated by content, whether it be enemies, items or side activities. While there is nothing inherently wrong with this approach, after all gamers pay $60 or more for a reason, it can lead to some unintended consequences. Namely, a lack of breathing room.

Very few games allow and encourage you to catch your breath naturally through the design of the game world itself. Most of them accomplish this through scripted sequences tailored to that purpose. Often, games will use cut scenes meant to present the story -- moments where the player is no longer involved in the gameplay to any major degree -- to artificially provide this downtime. It is rare that a game manages to establish natural pacing in an open-ended design through the geography of the world itself.

“The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild” accomplishes this idea of breathing space through its use of empty space. Between villages and shrines, dungeons and enemy encampments, there is open landscape. While there is a fast travel system in place, the real beauty of the game’s world is found in long horseback treks and on-foot meanderings across its vast swaths of nature. Among the plant and animal life, between showdowns with monsters and after each leg of the game’s epic quest, there are moments of reflection. Piano keys gently tingle in the background as the player gallops on horseback through the fields and forests to reach their latest destination, providing moments of welcome solitude and peace.


This is where the idea of self-pacing comes into play. “Breath of the Wild” has a certain rhythmic quality to it, where the world and your experiences within it seem to expand and contract naturally as you play. The pace quickens as monsters ambush the player or a major story beat appears, contracting into a tight, densely focused experience of combat and objectives. However, once these encounters are completed and the player moves on, the atmosphere of the world relaxes, the taut pace loosens and expands, unveiling the world in all its beauty once more.


It is this idea of expansion and contraction that makes “Breath of the Wild” special among open-world games, a design philosophy that balances tense action and thoughtful meandering. These extended treks across Hyrule give the world life, making it feel like it wasn’t just tailor-made to be some sort of monster-fighting arena. You feel like the animals and people of this world carry on with their lives even when you aren’t present. You can take the time to appreciate the world around you and detox your mind from both the in-game combat and the world outside the game.


Cover Image Credit: vinereport.com

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21 BuzzFeed Quizzes To Take When You're Trying To Procrastinate

Why study when you could be on BuzzFeed?
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According to my previous article, 12 Things That Are Only Acceptable In College, spending 2.5 hours taking BuzzFeed quizzes is completely acceptable if you're in college. With it being that time of the semester when the list of things to do is never ending, sometimes it's easier to just ignore your problems and spend your studying time procrastinating. If this sounds like something you need to do, here's the ultimate list of quizzes to waste your time on.

1. Reply To Your Crush's Texts And We'll Reveal Your Future

Wondering what you're going to do with your life since you're probably going to fail that exam that you have tomorrow? After all, you are taking BuzzFeed quizzes right now instead of studying. This quiz will answer that question for you.

2. Which "Gossip Girl" Character Are You Based On These Random Questions?

This one's a classic that you just can't possibly skip.

3. Build A School Uniform And We'll Guess Who You Were In High School

If you're like me, you always secretly wished you had a uniform in high school so that you didn't have to pick out an outfit every morning. Now you can live out that dream and find out what it says about you.

4. We Can Guess Your Age After You Build Your Own Dream Home

If I got 70's, does that mean I have timeless taste or terrible taste?

5. Pretend To Go Shopping And We’ll Figure Out If You’re More Ann Taylor Or Ann Taylor: Loft

Ladies, this is an important one.

6. Plan Your Day And Find Out Which "Grey's Anatomy" Girl You Are

Maybe if whatever you're doing right now isn't working out, you could become a doctor...

7. Create A Makeup Look And We'll Tell You Which Hogwarts House You Truly Belong In

Or you could become a wizard.

8. Pick An Outfit And We Will Tell You What You Do For A Living

And if neither of those work out, this quiz will tell you exactly what you should do.

9. Spend All Your Money At This Drug Store And We'll Tell You What You Should Be Doing With Your Life

And in case you didn't like either of the previous suggestions, you can see if this one is any better.

10. Build A Dream Castle And We'll Tell You What Type Of Unicorn You Are

Since unicorn everything seems to be the rage right now, you'd better keep up.

11. This Reverse Word Association Test Will Uncover Your Personality Type

This one's for those of you who don't have the patience to get through the Myers-Briggs test.

12. Design Your Future Backyard And We'll Reveal How Many Kids You'll Have

If you're going to have more than 2 you better get back to work so you can support them.

13. Pick An Outfit From Patagonia And We'll Tell You How Long You'd Survive In The Wild

Find out if running away to the wild is really a better option than struggling through that 10 page paper that's due at 8 am tomorrow.

14. Which Character From "The Office" Are You At YOUR Job?

Let's hope you don't get Kevin.

15. Which Meryl Streep Character Is Actually Most Like You?

Are you as mean as Miranda Priestly?

16. Take This Picture Test And We'll Tell You Your Best And Worst Qualities

No need to prepare for your next interview, just give them these answers.

17. What Kind of Bathroom Guest Are You

Are you actually a terrible guest?

18. What % Gross Are You Actually?

Or maybe you're just gross in general.

19. Your Food Preferences Will Reveal Which TV Character You Are

Are you more Blair Waldorf or Michelle Tanner?

20. What Grade Are You Getting In Life?

Are you literally failing at life right now?

21. What Type Of Emoji Are You?

Instead of a signature scent, you can have a signature emoji!

And if these didn't take you long enough, you can always check out BuzzFeed for more.

P.S. Good luck studying for that exam. Maybe you can find a quiz that tells you how to ace it.

Cover Image Credit: Julia Waterbury

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Trouble In The Gaming Industry

The way consumers interact with games has changed dramatically over the years.

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Video games have officially become a part of popular culture. Whether one points to the viral sensation of Fortnite, or the success of various consoles and mobile games, it is clear that gaming has become a part of our everyday culture. Video games have been around for quite some time now and always enjoyed some level of popularity among the youth. However, today's levels of gaming have reached unprecedented levels. Approximately 64% of American households hold someone that plays video games once a day. Furthermore, Fortnite boasts a registered playerbase of over 200 million players, and continues to climb everyday.

As the industry grows larger however, it is beginning to shift and change from what it once dealt in. I grew up with classics ranging from Mario Kart to the Jedi Knight Series. Many of the games I used to play were created with an unprecedented level of soul and creativity. The industry grew to treat games like an art for a while. That has begun to change in recent years as major companies like EA have turned into massive money-making machines. First of all, many of the games I grew up with were not lacking in content. I could have played Star Wars Battlefront I and II (the original early 2000s versions) for hours on end, and there was NO DLC. Today, it is rare that you see a AAA game release that does not include a season pass or DLC. Why relase a game and force the customer to pay extra when there is more to be added on? Second of all, loot crates and other forms of in-game gambling plague the market. Of course, EA, Activision, and other major companies have been a part of this disturbing trend. It has caught enough media attention now that some governments are even considering regulating video game loot crates.

However, the most disturbing trend of all is mobile gaming. Mobile gaming has sucked in the young rich children of America. These are cheap, simple, and uninspired games meant to rake in money. Essentially, these games will benefit from in-app purchases through what they call "whales." These "whales" are typically young, rich, gamers who have the money to make large purchases. These customers provide the bulk of the influx of money leaving other gamers with little to no content to enjoy, or the inability to play against pay-to-win gamers. This is causing greater harm to the industry as a whole because it is making companies lazy. Rather than spend millions on a AAA game, companies are making apps that bait the customers into buying in-game currencies or extra lives. The days where games had soul and inspiration are dying out. A clear example of this was the Battlefront I and II reboot by EA which was boring and copied major shooters which had already been made.

Unfortunately, it would appear as though the gaming industry has turned into something dreadful. My hope is that enough people will grow bored with these dull cookie-cutter games that keep on coming out, but the unfortunate truth is that they're made to rake in the big-bucks no matter how boring.

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