I’m unlikely to travel to the first any time soon as I’d have to take a five-hour drive back down the M1 – there are no fast travel points nearby. However, I can reach the second without leaving the house. All I’d need to do would be plug my old N64 back in because, rather than being a ‘real’ space, this other field is Hyrule Field in the video game world of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (1998)
It might seem strange to feel nostalgia for a place that only exists in an old video game. After all, I’ve never been there in any meaningful way. To put it simply, there’s no there to be in. And yet, despite this, I am nostalgic for this virtual game world. I find myself thinking back fondly to all those times I tumbled over the rolling green slopes, visited the ranch, and fought off terrible monsters all before running back to town before night fell and the bridge was raised.
The structure of my nostalgia for these two places – one real, one unreal – is the same. It's been so long now since I visited the field behind our street that my memories of the adventures I had there are now no more real to me than my virtual adventures in Hyrule. But what would I find if I did actually return to these fields?