Tag Archives: writing inspiration

Inspirational Video Games for Writers: The Legend of Zelda

I am a firm believer that inspiration can be found just about anywhere – movies, books, comics, dreams, stories from co-workers, an overheard conversation at Panera, etc. But one place that gets overlooked just as badly as comics is the world of video games. In this series, I’d like to cover a handful of video games that have inspired writing ideas of my own throughout the years. The first and probably most well-known game series that comes to mind is The Legend of Zelda.

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

I came into the world of Zelda late. My first time being exposed to the wonder and creativity of the franchise was in the 7th grade when I received The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time for Christmas. It was released on the Nintendo 64 system, a system which my parents purchased for me at the tender age of eleven and told me that in order to repay them for it, I had to empty the dishwasher for LIFE. It was worth every plate and piece of silverware I had to stash away in a cupboard.

Games such as Zelda, StarFox, Goldeneye, Perfect Dark, Forsaken 64, Hexen, Jet Force Gemini, War Gods, and DOOM infiltrated my childhood and carried me through my teenage years (at least until Harry Potter took my attention away). Nowadays its difficult to find the game system for less that $100 and even harder to find some of these classic games for less that $300 online.

Title screen/loading screen for the original Ocarina of Time released for n64.
The Best Video Game of All Time?

At the time, the Ocarina of Time was hailed as one of the best video games if not the best for the Nintendo systems. Decades later they would vastly out-do themselves with The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (more on that later). Looking back at Ocarina of Time, the graphics were terrible compared to today’s standards but at the time, they were awesome!

So what made the game so great and inspiring?

One of the greatest appeals to video games is that they have the power to insert us into new worlds with new sets of rules. Instead of reading a book where we are at the mercy of the author, video games can follow a linear story line while still letting the player make the experience their own. Video games allow the audience to make decisions.

In some instances, those decisions affect game-play but this is not the case with Zelda. However, I discovered elements in the game that I had not yet seen in fiction (at least not as an 11-year-old.) Along with monsters and creatures that I’d never heard of and boss fights that were each unique and rewarding, there was a new set of rules.

Photo credit to cubed3.com
A New set of Rules
  • Players could trap fairies in bottles for life restoration.
  • Dungeons and temples aren’t just buildings in the world. One is inside the belly of a volcano, another is inside the belly of a fish and a third inside of an ancient tree!
  • Monsters came out when the sun went down.
  • A house filled with cursed spider-people awarded treasures to you when you cured them of their spider-ness (seriously the stuff of nightmares).
  • Blue flame and the ability to trap it in a bottle to melt ice later.
  • Music changed the weather, changed the flow of time (Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask) or teleported you across the world.
  • Arrows wielded elemental magic (light, ice, fire, etc.)
  • Special clothing allowed players to endure underwater questing or intense heat.
  • Bombs grew out of the ground as plants.
  • Money and magic were found my destroying things, looking under rocks or cutting the grass.
  • Ghosts could be trapped in a bottle. (Seriously, obtaining bottles was a personal goal in this game.)
  • Masks gave you new abilities, changing your body into something else (specifically in The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask).
  • Secret grottos contained treasure, riddles and puzzles to solve.
  • There is another world at the bottom of a well.
  • There is an artifact that allows you to see through false walls.
  • You can fly while holding onto a chicken…cough… I mean, cucco.
Hidden at “The Bottom of the Well” …Is this not one of the creepiest things? Photo credit belongs to duly-nerded.com.

And those are only to name a few. Though many of these elements are commonplace by today’s video-gaming standards, they weren’t always. Keep in mind that this game was originally released in 1998.

A Magical Universe to Explore

There were all sorts of unspoken treasures and secrets hidden in the land of Hyrule. It was a colorful world and I was also very into the plotline. Having never played a Zelda game before, when I sat down to play Ocarina of Time, I was fully engrossed.

I knew nothing of Zelda at that time and became fascinated by this “Hero of Time,” the Triforce, and characters like the Great Deku Tree and Impa. Speaking of the Great Deku Tree, I would often walk in just to hear the hauntingly beautiful music. Needless to say, this was the first video game that prompted me to buy its soundtrack and still remains to be one of the few. I’m listening to it as I write this post.

Obsessed With the Cultures and Lore of Hyrule

After I defeated The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, I couldn’t get enough of the land of Hyrule. Not only did I replay the game, but I also got a Gameboy Color and games like Link’s Awakening and Oracle of the Seasons. However, Zelda in 2D didn’t provide the same inspiration as Zelda in 3D, at least not for me.

However, I was still inspired by the diverse races and cultures of Hyrule. From the ancient and wise Sheikah to the child-like Kokiri, my mind was racing with all sorts of creative ideas for a fantasy realm of my own. Hyrule’s lore was rich in spirituality and history. To this day I still find myself reading up on it to learn more.

The seven sages.

It wasn’t long after the success of the new Zelda games for Nintendo to release The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask. Though I helped my nephew beat it years later, I was never a big fan of the game myself. I’m not a big fan of time limits and the game is one BIG time limit. Time limit quests are one of my least favorite things in video games (right next to in-game rain – cough, cough – Breath of the Wild brought that to a whole new level of hatred). As years passed, my love for Zelda was passed on to my nephew as he grew up playing older games like Ocarina of Time, Majora’s Mask, Twilight Princess and others.

Will There Ever Be Anything as Magical and Inspiring as the First Time I Played a Zelda Game?

At this point, that first Zelda game was unbeatable in my mind. Nothing could top it and I would never experience that sense of awe, wonder and inspiration again. My memory of the game never faded but my interest moved to others video games, seeking and sometimes finding inspiration in them. This was until another Zelda was released.

The Nintendo Switch and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

No longer the naïve, sheltered eleven-year-old that was playing her first real video game, I’m now a fully-fledged adult who has been exposed to so much fantasy and magic throughout the years (I’m still obsessed with the Harry Potter Series). By this time, I had played World of Warcraft on and off for years, dreamed of becoming a Grey Jedi, played Fable a dozen times, and volunteered myself into the Hunger Games (I’m from District 4). This game had its work cut out for it. And boy did it do an outstanding job!

First of all, let me say that purchasing the Nintendo Switch was no easy decision. After looking at the other games for the system at the time, nothing appealed to me except Zelda and we struggled with the idea of buying a whole new console for one game, especially as minimalists.

But our desire for this game was great. So we purchased a Switch, (along with a larger controller for his man hands) and we purchased the DLC along with the game. It was an investment to say the least. However, the enjoyment that we both got out of the game as well as the inspiration that it reignited in me (giving me at least one novel idea) was worth it.

Relishing in the Breath of the Wild

Not only did Breath of the Wild keep hold of certain classic Zelda elements such as the elemental arrows (adding bomb and ancient arrows), and special garb but the creators expounded upon it. Drawing from other popular RPGs, players were now able to brew elixirs and potions, cook unique recipes for attack and defense boosts, collect multiple armor sets and use items from the world to upgrade their stats – often granting stronger abilities once the complete set was obtained and upgraded. Things like swim speed, climbing speed, lightening resistance and stealth to name a few.

Climbing presented a whole new way to explore the game. Vast canyons and mountain regions were now 100% explorable and filled with unique monsters and puzzles to titillate our minds.

Drawing Writing Inspiration from Breath of the Wild

In a completely open world, anything is possible. Things in this game were unpredictable and largely based on the players decisions. Don’t believe me? Check out this fan made video on YouTube. Seriously, you don’t even have to play the game to find it hilarious.

This video alone provided so many ideas from the game that I could inject into writing. How?

  1. What can go wrong, will go wrong.
  2. Death finds a way.
  3. Anything is possible. Literally.

When writing a story, authors often talk about the slow, sagging middle of the story. What if, like in the video above, an arrow is shot at them from an unseen enemy in the middle of nowhere? The treasure they were seeking kills them? They are able to have one enemy attack another? Video games with such an open world filled with possibilities can open up ideas in your writing.

Magic is Only Science Which Hasn’t Been Explained

The Sheikah Slate, a smartphone or tablet-like device in BoTW,  presented players with the ability to use technology that was “ancient.” Players could not only use it to map the humongous map, but also to freeze time for specific objects, move metallic objects, create ice from water, track resources and create bombs. The so-called “ancient” technology provided a way for advanced science to enter a world of magic. Hey science fiction and fantasy authors, I’m looking at you!

Photo credit: Zeldapedia
Other Inspiration from The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
  • Shield surfing
  • Paragliding
  • Having an enemy get electrocuted during battle because he was fighting with a metal weapon in the middle of a lightening storm.
  • Special abilities granted to you from dead friends.
  • Melee weapons augmented with elemental properties.
  • The possibility that your weapon can break mid-battle.
  • A blood moon which when rises, resurrects all the previously defeated monsters.

Players are also introduced to new groups of people like The Yiga Clan and the Rito. Now, the Rito race was featured in another Zelda game that I didn’t play so while this was the first I’d seen them, they weren’t entirely new. I fell in love with the Rito Champion, Revali, and adored the Gerudo Champion, Urbosa. Characters like this, along with the amount of cut-scenes, bring that much more depth and pleasure to an already vast and amazing world.

Photo credit: Zeldapedia

I hope if you’re struggling to find inspiration, you take a look into some video games. Keep in mind that they are another form of story-telling and can be a valuable resource for those who know where to look.

Happy gaming!

-RB

Cover Art from GQ.com

Regina Bethory is a fiction author. She graduated from Christopher Newport University with a Bachelor’s in Directing and Play Writing and from Newport News Shipbuilding’s Apprentice School as a Test Electrician. She also has a degree in Funeral Services. As an avid minimalist and traveler, she enjoys spending her time learning new things, seeking new experiences and de-cluttering. When she is not writing, she can often be found in comic book stores and early morning matinees.

On Poetry (2)

To read the introduction into this series On Poetry, please visit my first post here.

Poetry

So Like a Rose

Her beauty is so like a rose,

Like a rose, fair and pink,

So precious and delicate to the touch.

She flows like the soft hues of the dawn,

As her grace dances through the spring breeze.

Her skin is as snow while her eyes are as crystal.

So like a rose in the gentle rain,

Her laughter sings sweetly as glassy,

Pink tears stream down her rosy cheeks.

 

Her words are so like a rose,

Like a rose, thorny and dark,

So harsh and bitter is the taste.

Her voice stabs like the thunder’s crack,

She screams like the wind’s howl, stinging like a spider’s bite.

Her hair is as night while her teeth are as the sun.

So like a rose in the pounding hail,

Her mournful cry reaches the depths of space,

As she withers away throughout time.

Is it the Diner?

Is it the diner with dim lighting

And bad food?

The one with horrible service,

The waitresses that smoke, sleep around

And wear those ugly mustard yellow

Uniforms over their used bodies?

 

Or is it the diner with bright lights,

Where you take your poodle-skirted

Girlfriend after school for a chocolate malt?

The one where the waiters have a friendly

Smile under those goofy white hats

And the jukebox plays that

Aretha Franklin hit every 2 hours?

 

I always group these two poems of mine together because they both display two distinctly different versions of the same thing. Have any of you tried your hand at poetry? Let me know about your experience in the comments below!

Thank you for reading!

-RB

 

Regina Bethory is a fiction author. She graduated from Christopher Newport University with a Bachelor’s in Directing and Play Writing and from Newport News Shipbuilding’s Apprentice School as a Test Electrician. She also has a degree in Funeral Services. As an avid minimalist and traveler, she enjoys spending her time learning new things, seeking new experiences and de-cluttering. When she is not writing, she can often be found in comic book stores and early morning matinees.

Joining in on Writing Prompts: Organs

I’ve never been big on writing prompts but I suppose that is ignorant of me to say because I don’t think I’ve ever participated in one. During this month’s Camp NaNoWriMo, I’ve been privileged to have other bloggers in my cabin. One of my cabin mates, Amelia, runs a blog called You Can Always Start Now, in which she often participates weekly writing prompts. Many of the prompts come from another author and blogger, Linda, on her blog Life in Progress.

This week’s writing prompt for “Stream of Consciousness Saturday” (#SoCS) focused on the topic of “organs.” Since I am a day behind already, I have read both of their responses and while both unique and interesting, my subconscious has led me down a third path. Here is what I wrote for the prompt:

Organs. The first thing that comes to mind is a book I’m reading about being a mortuary technician. Think of all the nasty stuff they have to take out. The book is called “Down Among the Dead Men” by Michelle Williams and I just finished a chapter where she wrote about being careful when slicing a body down the sternum because you don’t want to rupture the stomach and have all of that disgusting-ness spill out.

The second thought that comes to mind is Egyptian canopic jars. I love studying ancient cultures, especially ancient Egypt. They seemed so advanced and yet somehow, we lost all of that wisdom and technology. It baffles me as to how. It also baffles me as to why they thought that the lungs, intestines, stomach and liver were needed in the afterlife. At least those are the organs I think the jars were used to protect. Apparently digestion is important in the afterlife. Take note, mortals!

How about you, fellow mortal? Care to join in on a writing prompt?

Happy writing!

-RB

Regina Bethory is a fiction author. She graduated from Christopher Newport University with a Bachelor’s in Directing and Play Writing and from Newport News Shipbuilding’s Apprentice School as a Test Electrician. She also has a degree in Funeral Services. As an avid minimalist and traveler, she enjoys spending her time learning new things, seeking new experiences and de-cluttering. When she is not writing, she can often be found in comic book stores and early morning matinees.

Memes for Writing Encouragement

Readers, today’s post will be a gallery post. With the end of NaNo’s July Camp in sight, I recognize the need to encourage everyone to stay on track and push towards their goals. This being said, I own none of these pictures. They have been collected through the years by Google searches and various websites. Their authors are at the bottom of each meme or photo. I’ve compiled them here in the hopes that they will help motivate you in your writing endeavors or perhaps make you laugh. Enjoy!

-RB

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now get back to writing!

Regina Bethory is a fiction author. She graduated from Christopher Newport University with a Bachelor’s in Directing and Play Writing and from Newport News Shipbuilding’s Apprentice School as a Test Electrician. She also has a degree in Funeral Services. As an avid minimalist and traveler, she enjoys spending her time learning new things, seeking new experiences and de-cluttering. When she is not writing, she can often be found in comic book stores and early morning matinees.

On Poetry (1)

Once again, I have waited until the last minute to update my blog but in an effort to successfully complete my challenge, I am posting a short piece on poetry. After all, I’m over halfway through the challenge and giving up now just isn’t an option for me and my stubborn mind.

I have both loved and hated poetry. I’m not very good at it, in my own opinion. I also don’t read much of it and the pieces I’m about to share with you were written over ten years ago. Perhaps, in the future I will get back into the craft of poetry and acquire a deeper understanding of it. For now, I hope that they will provide some source of inspiration or entertainment. Please enjoy these tiny morsels.

Poetry

The Fell Tower

whithered and weathered, broke and barren
carved and cracked
the ruined tower stands tall
beneath the burning light of the rising moon

the ravens crow, the wolves howl
the cats shriek

the wind screams, the trees whisper
the leaves rustle
the dark tower stands quiet
beneath the cold light of the moon

the wind pounds, the rain beats
the lightening crashes

the owls sing, the dead serenade
the chains rattle
the old tower crumbles quickly
beneath the dull light of the falling moon

Into the Labyrinth

I have strayed into the Labyrinth,
I am lost inside my mind,
There’s no turning back, there’s no getting out,
I’m stuck here for all time.

The puzzle that will never be solved,
Running through broken corridors as the world revolves,

No matter where I wonder or roam,
The Labyrinth is my new home,
Back to the start or towards the end,
Through the bending halls without a friend.

Rainstorm

Long has the jungle been overgrown with beauty.

As a cool heat was felt through the bamboo,

thunder could be heard dimly in the distance

and the storm faded away. Soft rain still trickled

lightly enough so that the small stream under the hill

could faintly be heard. Little droplets slid off

of the dense emerald leaves into the rich, silky ground

then ran off into a small stream through the jungle.

The creatures soon came out of their hiding

while birds sang and frogs croaked. Soon enough

the sun tried its best once again to light the stage

under the thick canopy releasing the sweet aroma

of the jungle rain. The life after the storm has now returned.

Regina Bethory is a fiction author. She graduated from Christopher Newport University with a Bachelor’s in Directing and Play Writing and from Newport News Shipbuilding’s Apprentice School as a Test Electrician. She also has a degree in Funeral Services. As an avid minimalist and traveler, she enjoys spending her time learning new things, seeking new experiences and de-cluttering. When she is not writing, she can often be found in comic book stores and early morning matinees.