the artistry and psychology of gaming


Eastern Hyrule (Zelda 2)

Eastern Hyrule (Zelda 2)

Although, like many adventurers, I’ve visited the kingdom of Hyrule a great number of times, I had the pleasure of visiting it during a very atypical era.  Most are familiar with a very small area within Western Hyrule, thinking of this region as the entire kingdom.  However, there is a big, beautiful world to the north of Death Mountain that is rarely explored, and even more seldom discussed.  Even the portion of Western Hyrule beyond the mountains is absolutely immense, but the true spectacle lies across the sea in Eastern Hyrule.

Eastern Hyrule is an alien place; the flora and fauna are so radically different from those of Western Hyrule.  Sailing east from the port town of Mido, one reaches its shores.  I visited this area in Spring, so its greenery was very fresh, still spotted with dew as the dawn spread over it.  The whole area has a very diverse set of biomes, but they all had the pale warmth of Spring wrapped about them, from plains to desert.  The season’s presence penetrates so deeply that to this day, despite its dearth of pink, flowering trees, this is still the area I first envision when I think of Spring.

I remember first sailing across the aqua seas and landing at that golden-looking dock near the town of Nabooru.  The yellow-green grasses rolled out for what seemed like an eternity.  Though there had been grassy plains in Western Hyrule, these had tall, swirling plants that sprung up; many were taller than I.  The ground beneath me was so thick and lush, like a wondrous carpet with thick layers of padding beneath it.  A few hollow, broken gray trees stuck up at spots, but the skies were clear and blue.  Along the pale pink roads, there were similar, spindly plants of the same pinkish color poking out of the ground, though these were only a bit higher than my hips.  It was here, more than anywhere that I took the time to stop and admire the strange plant life, and how different it was from what I’d seen across the sea.

Just east of the town was a desert, which hugged the coastline until it disappeared.  The deserts were of the same pale pink sands as the roads, though they were littered with cacti.  These cacti were rust colored, and some grew far taller than I.  The creatures living out here were very dangerous; some burrowed beneath the sand and attacked unsuspecting travelers, while others had thick hides that were vulnerable only to the hottest of flames.  There were even giant one-eyed scorpions, aqua in color like the rest of the desert’s denizens, which could emit fire from their pupils.  Perhaps this is one of the reasons that few travelers make it out this far.  Where this desert meets the sea, one can see a tiny island with a structure known as the Ocean Palace sitting upon it.

Heading through a cave to the north, I emerged in a new area, this one with thicker forests.  The forests were dark, but had lush spring foliage hanging overhead; it was quite a unique visual experience.  To the east was a long bridge that led to a labyrinthine island.  Much of this maze’s barriers were of mountains, but the rest were of water; a river runs through the island.  In a small alcove in the middle east of the island, there is a hidden palace.

To the west of this northern area was another stretch of desert, this one leading through a winding mountain path.  Along this path were some stairs of rock, some broken by rivers below.  This path leads to the mountain town of Darunia, a spectacular place with unusual skies and dirt.  There is another area in Eastern Hyrule far to the south, but there was a giant, spider-like creature denying my way, so I decided to head home.

Spring is a time of many clichés: rebirth, love, and others.  For this reason, I used to reject it as my least favorite season, even though it contains that glorious rainy season that oft causes me to swoon.  However, there is an unusual aura that only occurs during Spring.  Trite as it might seem, it is best seen when the rising sun shines down upon the newborn grass, causing it to glisten with dew.  A cool breeze blows as you stroll along, and it becomes clear: there is much more to Spring than hackneyed poetry would lead you to believe.

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