the artistry and psychology of gaming


Lon Lon Ranch (Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time)

Lon Lon Ranch (Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time)

I’ve visited the domain of Hyrule during a great many tumultuous times, the most famous of which was the imprisoning war against a rising dictator.  This power-hungry monster rose from the deserts in the northwest, and in a mere 7 years, managed to overthrow the king and turn the land into a horrifying place.  The volcano known as Death Mountain became violently active, parts of Lake Hylia permanently froze, and the castle town was overrun by undead abominations as the castle itself floated over a swirling vortex of magma.  Certain parts of Hyrule remained relatively untouched, namely the central area: Hyrule Field.

Hyrule field is a vast, rolling plain with untold wonders abound.  The first time I stepped upon it, I was overtaken by the magnificent sense of adventure with which it filled me.  It is a large neutral zone in the very center of the outlying areas where different species dwell.  The unifying name of Hyrule was given to it to bring the idea that all species – Kokiro, Goron, Zora, Gerudo, and Hylian – were all united under the same kingdom, despite their relative autonomy.  In the very center of this field is an unassuming little farm, known as Lon Lon Ranch.

Lon Lon Ranch is named after the owner, Talon, and his daughter, Malon.  They live there with a single farmhand, Ingo.  The ranch is well-known for the horses it raises, but far more famous for a nutritious beverage known as Lon Lon Milk.  While I didn’t find it to be all that special, it is evidently very popular among the Hylians.  During this particular trip to Hyrule, I visited this ranch a few times, but the visit that stands out most in my mind is the time I stumbled in at the end of the day.  It was a fluke thing, but an occurrence I’ll never forget.

The sky was ablaze with dark pastels of a purple gradient to a burning orange near the horizon.  A few clouds loomed overhead, rendering the colors a bit different from what they otherwise would’ve been.  The white house was now a deep golden color, which complemented its red roof in such a glorious fashion.  A sign written in a language I could not read hung near its door, which was a crude portal fashioned of small logs.  A nearby archway had the same writing at its top, likely welcoming visitors to the pasture in which the horses ran.  Passing the cow barn to my right, I stepped under this archway to a special delight.

The sky seemed to burst open in front of me, as very little obscured it in this open area.  The outdoor arena stood in front of me, as the horses ran all about within it.  I’d decided to take a walk around its perimeter.  Much of the ranch was surrounded by what appeared to be plateaus, but the remainder was blocked in by a solid wall of wood with metal pickets atop it; it was unlike any fence I had ever seen, but quite effective, as only the strongest of horses would be able to leap over such a thing.  I’d continued walking around, staring up at the sky, when all of a sudden, something began to move.  There were a sparse number of crow-like birds, known as Guays, flying through the evening sky.  Something about them made this such an unusual scene, likely the fact that they are nocturnal, and are not often seen until the black of the night.

At the back of the ranch, I encountered a tall silo of stone.  I didn’t bother to enter it, but something about it struck me as being very picturesque.  Continuing around back to the entrance of the arena, I bumped into a young woman; it was Malon, herself.  Not the stereotypical farm girl, hers was a gentle countenance of extraordinary beauty.  Her soft features were beautifully accented by hair that matched the skies above, all of which seemed to clash a bit with her simple farm clothing.  Living out in the middle of nowhere, she’d never know or care; such a simple life affords not the luxury of such things.

Farms are typically thought of as ugly, filthy places by most, but to work a full day of honest labor out in the country is truly a splendid thing.  I have many fond memories from my youth of working sun-up to sun-down, and the warm colors of a sunset are the perfect end to a hard summer day’s work; it makes them all the more beautiful.  I find it worthy of musing that some of the things I found so beautiful on this ranch were things that the residents use every day of their lives, thinking nothing of that which I found to be so special.  It just goes to show how vital the foreign element is in appreciating something spectacular, even if it happens to merely be spectacularly mundane to others.

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