Genius Loci

By Rob Dwiar

A grand tour of video game landscapes and gardens

Saturday, 5 March 2022

Spring has arrived

Spring is basically here. Or, at least, it is in the landscape, even if the weather maintains a wintry chill. A surefire, tell-tale sign is that even on the most ‘regular’ of dog walks my wife and I have done in recent weeks and days, the pops of colour from spring flowers have started to rise up and present themselves. Even when it has been stormy, incredibly rainy, and just downright sodden through the past month or so.

As I said in a recent update, I’m quite a fan of winter but I realise that perhaps spring has a few more fans, particularly with its signs of revitalisation, rejuvenation, and life that accompanies that colours on show.

When thinking of spring lands, I’m always taken back to the landscape of the game Horizon Zero Dawn. This is a game set in the post-post-apocalypse and showed humans had regressed to clan living, working with the land, and to quite a primal way of life generally. As humans had regressed after a major apocalyptic event, the game showed them in the early stages of rebirth as a species, as a society, and this was represented beautifully in a spring-filled landscape. Birch trees, spring flower-like plants, and great swathes of yellows, whites, and reds are present in the landscape. It captured it beautifully.

This is timely in another way as I’ve been playing the sequel, Horizon Forbidden West since it came out in mid-February. There is less spring on show here, and more summer - though the game does manage to encapsulate different ‘biomes’ across its open-world from deserts to snowy mountain ranges, too. It’s a great place to be in games, and a great game itself, so check it out if you are so inclined.

The other game released recently that has really caught my eye from a landscape point of view is Elden Ring. While a brutal and unforgiving game to play, it has a vast, beautiful Romanticist-inspired landscape that I can’t wait to dive into. But that’ll have to wait for another update…

As always, keep sharing Genius Loci around to everyone you know or who might be interested - I am hoping that spring will also give us a bit of rejuvenation and revitalisation on the road to the funding target!


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