Video games have been around for a long time, and although it took a while to really take off, gaming become a mainstay of the entertainment industry in the 1980s, with Nintendo’s NES becoming a must-have product for every household. As graphics switched from simple lines to 8-bit, developers started to get more creative with their video games, creating environments that more closely resembled both real-world and otherworldly locations. But despite a game’s specific setting, there’s one environmental element that always made the cut: trees.
Whether a game was set in the wilderness or set in space, there was usually a tree to be found somewhere on-screen. Of course, trees have come a long way in the gaming landscape, starting off as simple 2D sprites consisting of just a few, harshly-drawn lines, and becoming impressively realistic models in the modern age. It’s probably not something most gamers have ever really noticed, but trees are everywhere in gaming, and some titles have some truly impressive foliage.
Great Deku Tree – The Legend of Zelda
It may not be the tallest tree in gaming, but The Legend of Zelda‘s Great Deku Tree is certainly one of the most iconic, appearing throughout the series and playing a pivotal role in Link’s many adventures. Tasked with protecting the spirits of the forest, the Great Deku Tree was created by the goddess Farore.
The Great Deku Tree made its debut appearance in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, where it’s been cursed by Ganondorf. The Great Deku Tree sends the fairy Navi to Link in an attempt to break the curse, and save Hyrule. In Ocarina of Time, the Great Deku Tree contains a dungeon that houses the boss Queen Gohma. After giving Link Kokiri’s Emerald, the Great Deku Tree withers away, but it’s reborn later in the game as a sproutling. The Great Deku Tree also appears in The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker and Breath of the Wildwhere it protects the iconic Master Sword.
Erdtree – Elden Ring
FromSoftware’s Elden Ring Has quite a dark and gloomy setting for the most part, but in the center of the map, towering above all else in the Lands Between is the Erdtree, a monumental, luminous yellow tree. Located in Leyndell, the Royal Capital, the Erdtree looms over the entire kingdom, showering the ground below with small specks of light. Elden Ring‘s Erdtree is certainly in the running for being one of the biggest, and tallest, trees in all of gaming.
Yggdrasil – God of War
Ripped straight out of Norse mythology, God of War 2018’s Yggdrasil may just be the biggest tree in gaming history. Though it has its roots in Midgard, Yggdrasil stretches across the entire Norse cosmos, its branches reaching each of the Nine Realms. Entering Yggdrasil brings Kratos and Atreus to the Realm Between Realms, a rift in time and space that can be used to visit the other Realms, such as Asgard, Helheim, and Jotunheim. According to a prophecy in God of WarYggdrasil will be the site of the final battle between Thor and Jormungandr, the World Serpent, which will apparently cause the splintering of the great tree, and perhaps even bring about Ragnarok itself.
MORE: God of War: Why Thor is Feared in All The Nine Realms