Water is the combination of two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom. This combination of elements exists in many different forms on Earth, including a solid, a liquid, and a gas; all three can exist temporarily in that state at normal room temperature. Earth is covered in water, taking up 70% of the planet's surface. The human body is also full of water, comprising between 55% to 75%.
Water is also important in games. It is commonly used as a barrier to prevent player exploration into inaccessible areas, but in some genres, like platformers, the player may be allowed to interact with large bodies of water by swimming, surfing, or simply running across it.
Significant Uses of Water in Games
Though water is a common element in games, it at times has been used in uncommon or unconventional ways. Some of these ways are listed below.
As stated above, water is commonly used as a barrier to prevent players from exploring regions that the game designers declare inaccessible. In some games, this is taken a step further by instantly killing the player character in the event he or she enters the water, even though the average person can survive and remain conscious while submerged for several minutes.
Water meant instant death in the Grand Theft Auto series in every entry up to and including Grand Theft Auto: Vice City. In GTA: San Andreas, the player can not only swim, but has the ability to escape a submerged vehicle and swim to safety. Players can also drop from a plane or helicopter flying over bodies of water at high altitude and survive if they land in the water.
However, some video games ignore the dangers of drowning entirely and allow the player character to survive for an apparently unlimited amount of time while submerged. Rico Rodriguez of Just Cause and Tidus of Final Fantasy X are two such characters with seemingly superhuman lung capacity.
On the opposite end, the player may use water to restore an injured character's health. For example, the Prince of the Prince of Persia Sands of Time trilogy uses water to heal himself. In Super Mario 64, an injured Mario may also heal himself by floating at the surface of a body of water.
In the Lost in Blue series of survival titles, the player must stay healthy, fed, and hydrated. Part of this process includes finding a source of fresh water that the player character can drink from, as well as finding a method to bottle water for later use while exploring the island. Failure to stay hydrated will have a negative effect on the character's overall condition and eventually lead to death.
In some games, the majority of the world is covered in water. Vast oceans must be traversed in order to see such games through to the end. In The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, Hyrule has been submerged, and Link has no choice but to sail across the sea to visit and explore the various islands scattered about the map. The player may also fish for submerged items. In Suikoden IV, the player must similarly use a ship to traverse from island to island, with the ship also serving as a mobile home base containing shops and other services run by the characters the player recruits along the way.
Alternatively, there are games that are based on the concept of underwater exploration. The game Endless Ocean and its sequel, Endless Ocean: Blue World, cast the player as a SCUBA diver exploring the depths of the ocean to catalogue sea life and find sunken treasures.
As a Weapon or Tool
Though water is a necessity of human life, it is sometimes used as a weapon or a tool. In Super Mario Sunshine, for example, Mario is equipped with a device called a F.L.U.D.D. By using this device, Mario is able to use water to clean up messes, propel himself into the air, and spray water to attack enemies.
In other games, such as the Final Fantasy series, water is a common theme used for magic spells. In Final Fantasy XIII, for example, spells like Water and Watera can be learned and used by the party to inflict damage on enemies. The game also features separate attack spells such as Blizzard and Blizzara, which are used to attack enemies with ice.
A number of sports take place on or in water. Games based on these events attempt to treat water in a fashion appropriate for the game's theme, whether it veer more toward simulation or arcade-like. Wave Race 64, for example, features rolling waves that cause the player's jet ski to bump and rock, with more difficult courses featuring choppier waters. Water is treated in a similar manner in games such as Wii Sports Resort.
Some games allow the player to control the nature of the landscape and shape the world through direct control of the elements. In From Dust, the player can use water to create rivers and lakes. Water trees, literally trees filled with water, can be planted so that when fire or lava approach, the water will be released, dousing the flames and cooling the lava.
An Elemental Force
In some games, water is treated as an elemental force, or as the defining characteristic in a hierarchy of some notion. In Chrono Trigger, water is a category of elemental magic akin to fire, lightning, and darkness and is controlled by both Marle, who uses ice spells, and Frog, who uses it in its liquid form.
In the Pokemon series, water-type Pokemon are among the oldest and most basic types. They are traditionally strong against fire-type Pokemon, but weak against grass-types. Common water-type Pokemon include Squirtle, Piplup, and Oshawott.