Hyrule's Breathing Space

Hyrule's Breathing Space

Legend of Zelda's empty spaces self-pace the game
6
views

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

Popular Right Now

Does Technology Make Us More Alone?

Technology -- we all love it and we all use it, but how is it affecting us?
79276
views

In this day and age, it is near impossible to do anything without the use of technology. You can pay your bills, manage your bank accounts and even chat with a customer service representative all with the use of your smartphone.

Is the use of technology starting to take away from our person-to-person interaction? Think about how often you grab your smartphone or tablet and text your friends instead of picking up the phone to call them or, better yet, making plans to hang out in person.

Technology is supposed to make us feel more connected by allowing us to stay in touch with our friends by using social media sites such as Facebook or Twitter and of course, texting. But are our smartphones getting in the way of socializing? Does technology make us feel more alone?

There is a term that is commonly used, "FOMO" –– short for "fear of missing out." Yes, this is a real thing. If for some crazy reason you don't check your Twitter or Facebook news feed every 10 minutes are you really missing out?

The fact that we have become so dependent on knowing exactly what is going on in other people's lives is sad. We should be focusing on our own lives and our own interactions and relationships with people.

Technology is making us more alone because instead of interacting with our friends in person, we are dependent on using our phones or tablets. We start to compare ourselves and our lives to others because of how many likes we get on our Instagram photos.

We are forgetting how to use our basic communication skills because we aren't interacting with each other, anymore. We are too busy with our noses in our phones. Young kids are dependent on a tablet to keep them entertained rather than playing with toys. That is not how I want my children to grow up.

As a society, we will start to become very lonely people if we don't start making changes. We are ruining personal relationships because of the addiction to our smartphones and checking our social media sites every five minutes.

It's time for us to own our mistakes and start to change. Next time you reach for your phone, stop yourself. When you are with your friends, ignore your phone and enjoy the company of your loved ones around you.

Technology is a great thing, but it is also going to be the thing that tears us apart as a society if we don't make changes on how dependent we are on it.

Cover Image Credit: NewsOK

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

4 Substitutes For Social Media

From an existential crisis at the eye doctor.

32
views

Perhaps the most perplexing question I have ever received has been from my eye doctor. I go for a checkup every summer, and I get asked this same question every time, but for some reason, it always ignites an existential crisis in my soul. "How many hours do you spend on your phone?" Yikes. The first couple times, I tended to underestimate my addiction to my screen, "Maybe two hours," I would reply. This answer was always met with a scornful stare that dug deep into the brain. After a few years of back and forth, we settled on six hours, but part of me believes, in fact, knows, that I am once again underestimating myself. So how many hours do I truly spend on my phone? I am not one hundred percent sure. I know that there is a feature in the settings of my iPhone that can tell me, but there is no way I am ever checking that.

Why am I so scared of finding out the real number? Well, because it will simply confirm what I already know about myself: I spend way too much time on my phone, and I know I am not the only one. Besides the fact that my generation's eyesight will probably be shot by forty, we are locked into a virtual life and missing the one that is flying right before our eyes. We are all constantly trying to live the best lives, but is it for our own benefit or for the benefit of our social image? Graciously, I say that fifty percent of my efforts are heard towards the latter. So in this season of my life or extreme self-evaluation and in an effort to rewire my brain before I'm set in my ways when my brain stops developing, I am offering up substitutes to social media for my own benefit and for the benefit of my generational counterparts.

1. Instagram? Go on a walk instead

https://goodstock.photos/people-walking-by-street/

We love posting pictures of pretty things, but do we actually enjoy the pretty things? I mean, I rarely look at my 107 pictures of the Eiffel Tower. So maybe if we could substitute taking and posting pictures for Instagram, we would see so much more than our limited screen has to offer. There is life in nature and in cities. Breathing life. Not digital life.

2. Twitter? Why not hang out with your friends?

https://pixabay.com/en/fashion-young-people-teens-1219507/

I love a good laugh just as much the next guy, so Twitter is my go to for giggles. But how often do I actually laugh out loud to tweets in my bed? Okay, sometimes, I will admit it. But I have found that sharing tweets with my friends gives me the most joy, so why not, I don't know, share thoughts with my friends? Conversation. If you think your friends are funny online, boy oh boy you'll be surprised to see just how funny they can be in real life.

3. Facebook? Dear God, anything else. How about a book?

https://stocksnap.io/photo/H0VXBZUZP3

Ah, Facebook. I love reading posts that share every part of someone's daily life. You did laundry today? Awesome, Mom! A book, though, a book shares all the essential parts of a story. It's exciting. Riveting. I think we can all agree that we lose brain cells spending time of Facebook, but has anyone ever got dumber from reading? I think not.

4. Snapchat? Stare at your friends. It's awesome, trust me.

https://pixabay.com/en/boy-children-guys-human-watch-1105891/

Okay, this one is a joke. But seriously. There are a million things you can do other than sending pictures of your face back and forth with your friends (or you feet if you're having a fight). Bake a cake. Do some work. Discover your passion. Build real relationships. Half of the people I Snapchat, I don't even to.

TNow I'm not damning social media to Hell. It can be a fun thing, and it is engrained in our generation; it is not going away any time soon. My suggestions seem simplistic and silly, but are we actually prioritizing these things over social media? Probably not. But maybe we can learn to take a step back. Maybe we can learn to live our lives rather than living through our favorite vlogger. Maybe we can be able to face our eye doctors with honesty. Maybe we can gain back some of that wondrous gaze in our eyes that we had before they became blinded by the light of our smartphones.

Related Content

Facebook Comments