chapter  12
17 Pages

Regenerative Play and the Experience of the Sublime

Breath of the Wild
WithGerald Farca, Alexander Lehner, Victor Navarro-Remesal

Link and the player encounter Hyrule as a majestic place and natural world. Lush grasslands and towering mountains create an environment for animals to thrive and offer players a wilderness to explore and interact with. Vibrant colors and natural sounds merge with the vastness of the gamespace and recall an expressionist painting come to life. This ergodic and imaginative openness fuels players’ creative faculties and their desire for exploration, to seek out possibilities the tranquil scenery offers. Playing Zelda is thus essentially a regenerative experience on both an affective and aesthetic level and represents a form of cultural ecology. The dialectic between (eco)game, players, and culture (world) shows the potential of emancipated play and may exert influence on players’ self, changing their habitual dispositions and images of nature, culture, and their mutual dependence.