the artistry and psychology of gaming


Mars (Shin Zelda Densetsu)

Mars (Shin Zelda Densetsu)

Hyrule is an interesting place; though it is absolutely massive, most adventurers have only explored one quarter of it. This quarter is the southern half of Western Hyrule, which stops with Death Mountain to the north. It is also said that Hyrule exists in three separate timelines, which split during the Imprisoning War. In this reality, the Hero of Time was slain by Ganon, and the kingdom has fallen into chaos. However, the particular tale that I am going to recount to you today is from a dream of mine.

This dream was of a strange version of the fallen Hyrule that was darker in color than in reality. These darker colors, particularly greens, crafted a beautiful landscape. The wastelands west of the Lost Woods had also expanded in unusual ways, now stretching out far enough to create shores of their own. Most interesting, however, were the labyrinths in which the pieces of the Triforce of Wisdom were concealed. Instead of being numbered, as in the physical world, each one represented one of the planets of our own solar system, as well as Pluto; perhaps they were even temples dedicated to the old gods for which the planets were named. The labyrinth that I found to be the most beautiful is the one dedicated to Mars.

Situated up in the mountains, the entrance to Mars was a green, hollowed out tree stump, much like the entrance to Level 1 in the physical world. As I stepped inside, the gray rock around me gave way to a beautiful stretch of lilac tile. The sands at the entrance were flecked with red and white, which complemented the red statues in the foyer quite well. The statues were the same shape as in the physical world, as was their placement. There was only one door before me, making my choice easy, and so, I entered the labyrinth proper.

I came to a room with a number of blocks piled against the wall and two closer to the center of the room. I’d seen this formation many times before, but here, the colors made it come to life. I also felt the presence of the spirit of a Gleeock, which is dragon-like creature, though this one was black and dark blue, rather than the customary green. The next room had four blocks, six lilac statues, and no obvious exits. I tapped on the walls a bit, and discovered that the northern one was weak, so I smashed through.

I came into almost total blackness, but I could see faint purple outlines of the walls and door; it was quite stunning. Taking some time to enjoy the darkness, I danced around the room, using my other senses to get an idea of its construction. I’d noticed something strange about the western wall, and when I went to investigate it, I slipped right through! I came to a room with four walls and a black floor; it almost looked like an old television, except without any knobs or buttons. Taking a cue from the previous room, I slipped through the northern wall.

I came into another dark room, but there was something off about this one. I couldn’t seem to get very far; I was relegated to what I’d imagined to be a squat T-shaped area. I was able to find a key, at the very least, so I slipped back through the south wall into the television area. This time, I’d noticed a panel, which I activated. Though I had no idea what it did at the time, I quickly realized it to be a light switch upon slipping through the eastern wall into a previously dark area. The room, as I’d imagined, had only one door – at the northern end – but also had rows of blocks going from north to south all along the floor, creating aisles of sorts. These blocks had a peculiar red shadow to them, which I’d attributed to the new light source. I unlocked the door, and headed through.

I wound up in fairly nondescript room with rectangles comprised of six blocks on either side of the room. There were no tricks here, but I was able to head west through the locked door into a familiar area. This was the other dark room, and now, I understood what was wrong earlier. Evidently, there was a T-shaped area, but it was also surrounded by a mysterious red void, which was a common feature in the labyrinths of the physical world. I was never able to determine exactly what that void was, but I certainly did not want to touch it! I headed through the only exit: an open door to the north.

When I did, a shutter slammed behind me, trapping me inside. There was only a border to traverse, since there was a rectangle of blocks preventing access to the center. There were no false or weak walls, so I began pushing on these blocks in a desperate attempt to escape. While the shutter never opened, I was able to reveal a staircase in the northeastern corner of the room. I descended into the tunnel, which brought me to the southwest; it was adjacent to the previous room, to its west.

It was a fairly empty room, with only two blocks near the center and a locked door to the north. The western block could be pushed to reveal the tunnel from whence I’d come, so I decided to unlock the northern door and head through. Another shutter slammed behind me, trapping me in a room with scattered blocks in three rows from west to east. With some quick thinking, I was able to open the shutters, and decided to head to the north. The next chamber was exactly like the one in which I’d encountered the Gleeock’s spirit, so I headed north again.

This was it: the very heart of the labyrinth. The room was cast in a beautiful orange, and trimmed with red. There were a number of red statues in here, and the center was mostly surrounded by blocks. There was a piece of the Triforce of Wisdom in here, but something seemed strange to me. I pushed the blocks, and one of them actually moved, revealing a staircase in the northeastern corner. The stairs led to a chamber in which a treasure was held, so I acquired that, secured the piece of the Triforce, and was on my way to the next labyrinth.

For ages, space has mystified humanity. Some believed it to be part of the big stone slab known as the sky, while others believed it to be the home of the gods. As such, many celestial objects, such as planets, were worshiped as deities, and Mars is certainly no exception. So, while there exist temples to these gods, is it not strange to think that they are really temples to space? With a little change in perspective, a site of worship and reverence becomes a monument to science and exploration. It truly is incredible what time and technology have revealed to us thus far, and just think: some day, our own understanding of the universe may be regarded as equally ridiculous.

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