the artistry and psychology of gaming

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Misery Mire (Legend of Zelda: A Link To the Past)

Misery Mire (Legend of Zelda: A Link To the Past)

Hyrule is a land with which a great many adventurers are familiar, but it once hid a dark secret.  This secret was another land, known as the Golden Land, but it had been corrupted by a malevolent force, turning it into the Dark World.  Any ordinary person stepping into this land would be cursed, turning him or her into a twisted new shape, often ironically reflecting the person’s vices.  I’d greatly enjoyed exploring the glorious Light World of Hyrule, but upon entering the Dark World and seeing it from overhead, I was filled with a sense of wonder, deeply yearning to explore the perverted new landscape.

The area that held the greatest level of intrigue from me, even sight mostly unseen, was Misery Mire.  This gloomy locale is located in the area’s southwest corner, where the Desert of Mystery is found in the Light World.  From atop Death Mountain, I could see a bluish-greenish area, walled in by plateaus, containing unusual vegetation and three lavender objects that resembled gigantic flowers.  It was one of the last places I visited in the Dark World, which preserved that powerful sense of mystery for an unbearably lengthy duration.

I had to enter from a well-hidden warp tile in the Light World to get in, and the scene that greeted me when I entered provided clarity to Misery Mire’s name.  The area was dark and rainy, and, being surrounded by plateaus on all sides, was a murky pit.  The constant rains churned up the mud on the ground, making a murky sludge that permeated nearly all of the ground.  The closest thing the area had to dry land was a border of mud that rose above the mire.

Despite its appearance, I found it quite inviting, and dove right in.  The rains were so heavy that it was almost like swimming.  I found giant lily pads of spring green and shades a bit darker.  There were large, blossom-like shrubs with the same sickly green color in their roots, but a soft orange upon their blooms that went strangely well together.  There were some many-leaved sprouts that sported the same color combination, and tended to thrive around other plant life.  Also prevalent were long, thorny vines of the marshy green of the other plants.  The last of the prolific vegetation looked almost like green and orange cattails, except with buds all about their end, which were perhaps my favorite.

I found a beautiful maze of vegetation starting in the southwest, where I had entered, and culminating in the southeast, where it was thickest.  What started out as a thick growth of the budding plants became a nest of vines, lily pads, and the large blossom-like plants.  I spent what must have been at least an hour swimming around in it, caring very little about how much mud and detritus accumulated in my hair.  Even the red-eyed, green, wormlike creatures with large mandibles seemed to share in my mirth.

The largest of the vegetation, however, is a bit less common.  These plants are difficult to describe, but they appear to be a mass of vines.  Upon closer inspection, you will notice orange features, some of which are rather large and look like eyes.  These plants stood high above the murky waters, looking almost like heads coming out of the mire.  They were three strong, though there was a partially formed one on the eastern side of the area.  The center of the three stood behind a large dais, and seemed to beckon me to its center.

Later on, the skies cleared up a bit, making it much easier to see, and brightening the colors of the swamp a bit.  The brownish murky liquid cleared up into a bold, rich blue-green, though it lost its blue as the sun set.  While it was nice to get a clearer look at the swamp’s denizens, it detracted a bit from its beauty.  Perhaps the greatest part of Misery Mire’s aesthetics lies in its sense of mystery.  In any case, I had a wonderful time in a place that might drive an ordinary adventurer to the darkest depression, yet again.

What is it about wet and slimy that humans tend to despise so?  I’ve long pondered the reasoning behind attempting to dodge rain.  I think it to be an irrational reaction, much like a light phobia in origin.  Perhaps if humans would stop to think about the reasons behind this, or even if they would take the time to ask themselves why they feel this way, they’d find that there is no answer.  Of course, instinctive reactions take eons to remove from the collective subconscious of a sentient species, so how could I fault them for such a thing?  I suppose these sorts of things will work themselves out in time.

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