Make Like A Tree: Trees in Games

Oh gaming trees, oh gaming trees – how lovely are thy branches! We put up our Christmas tree shortly before Thanksgiving (mostly because we knew we wouldn’t even be in town to enjoy it over the holidays), and now that the big day is here, I imagine many of you who celebrate have been gathered around your own classy conifers. When it comes to games, though, some trees deserve an extra loop of tinsel to recognize their greatness. Below are the Top Ten trees in video games!

10. Villager’s Timber – Super Smash Bros 4
(3DS/Wii U 2014)

It’s going down, I’m yelling timber.

Villager should go into farming with his ability to create a fully-grown plant in just a few moves! Though, his tree disappears rather quickly, that’s still plenty of time for him to chop it directly into your face. When I first saw Villager use this attack in Super Smash Bros 4, I kept thinking to myself, “There’s no way I’ll ever get close enough to this tree for that to do anything to me!” Well, some of my finer Villager opponents proved me dead wrong. Villager is a lumberjack and he’s okay. He sleeps all night and he works all day.

The origin of Villager’s move. Money does grow on trees!

9. Death Peak – Chrono Trigger (SNES 1995)

Slickest trade in history.

This scene is one of the most iconic moments in maybe any game ever. In a major flex for the time, the events of Chrono Trigger kills off the main character of its own game and forces your other party members to take the lead. However, this is a game about time travel – so there must be a way to remedy this!! I won’t go into too much detail here, but I love that it becomes YOUR choice to try to End Game your way out of this situation. You could play the rest of the game without rescuing your main character. Truly, that’s the heart of Chrono Trigger – it is a game about choices and how they can change the future. So, what did you choose when you played this game??

8. End Screen – Dr. Mario (NES 1990) 

The true prequel to “Alien.”

Did you know that the viruses in Dr. Mario are actually aliens?? That’s right. When you clear certain levels in the game, you get this cut scene with the viruses sitting atop a lush tree. On normal difficulties, random objects might fly by while the ambient music plays in the background. If you beat it on the hardest difficulty, though, the screen turns to night time and a giant UFO appears above. Then, the viruses are pulled up into the ship before it returns to the stars. So, why were the viruses on the tree? Were they waiting to be rescued all this time? Does this make Dr. Mario the bad guy??? I have questions. 

7. Tree Zone & Tall Trunk Galaxy –
Super Mario Land 2 & Super Mario Galaxy
(Game Boy 1992; Wii 2007)

Remember that one time when Mario killed Big Bird from Sesame Street?

Mario games have TWO iconic trees in the series, and I couldn’t choose! I’d like to believe that elements from the Tree Zone in Super Mario Land 2 inspired elements in the Super Mario Galaxy series. Not only does Galaxy 1 & 2 have the tall trees but they also have the giant beehive. I’ve recently started playing Super Mario Odyssey, and I could have very easily thrown the Wooded Kingdom on here, too! 

6. The Giant Tree – Final Fantasy Mystic Quest
(SNES 1992) 

Treebeard’s Cousin.

Need a lift? All you have to do is defeat the monsters inside this giant tree and it will take you across the forest to Windia. I didn’t know it at the time, but this scene has pretty obvious connections to The Lord of the Rings. Next thing you know, your main characters will be asking you for second breakfast. 

5. The Mana Tree – Secret of Mana (SNES 1993) 

Luka, I’ll restore you! Want to save your game?

There are 15 games total in the Mana series, and to explain the entire history behind the Mana Tree itself would take me several Christmases. Most gamers are familiar with 1993’s Secret of Mana for the Super Nintendo, and that is where I first encountered the massive Mana Tree. Since I can’t tell you everything, I’ll at least give you a couple weird facts. Apparently, the mana tree can give birth to humans. Also, if anyone tries to mess with it, you’ll be attacked by a dragon. If you destroy the dragon, mana will be lost forever. Let’s just hope James Cameron never finds out about this. 

4. Kong’s Treehouse – Donkey Kong Country series
(SNES 1994)

Hoooooo hoooo! (Merry Christmas!)

It’s not just a tree. It’s a treehouse! We first see the inside of DK’s treehouse in Donkey Kong Country for the Super Nintendo. What does he keep in his treehouse? There’s a picture of his girlfriend Candy Kong, some art of a sailboat, a few spares tires and loads of bananas. I guess King K. Rool didn’t steal everything after all. 

For this one, I thought I’d also point out the Ripsaw Rage level from Donkey Kong Country 3 which has Dixie and Kiddy Kong racing up the trunks of tall trees in order to avoid extinction a la Fern Gully.

Ripsaw Rage from Donkey Kong Country 3.

3. Freezeezy Peak- Banjo Kazooie (N64 1998)

Every year since playing this game, I’ve tried to fly through our tree topper.

Finally, we have a real Christmas tree! Quite fitting for the theme, we also have a giant snowman, a Charles Dicken’s-like holiday village, and presents! Banjo Kazooie really knew how to get us into the holiday spirit. Oh, except for racing Boggy the Bear in a sled. Screw that part. 

2. Whispy Woods – Kirby’s Dreamland (Game Boy 1992) 

Well, how would you like to have someone come along and pick something off of you?

Holy cow this guy has been around. Whispy Woods has appeared in 25+ Kirby games! Notably, he was the first boss in the original Kirby’s Dreamland for Game Boy, and he has since been the go-to first boss in most subsequent games. Other appearances includes him as an obstacle in Kirby’s Dream Course or a general background character in Kirby’s Air Ride. Whispy Woods also gives advice about the environment in many episodes of Kirby: Right Back at Yai! Move over, Captain Planet. 

Honorable Mentions:

The World Tree – Faxanadu (NES 1987)

The Old Tree – The Addams Family (SNES 1992)

Grandpa’s Training Tree – Adventures of Lolo 3
(NES 1990)

The Christmas Tree – We Were Here Together
(Steam 2019)

Wood Man – Mega Man 2 (NES 1988)

1. The Great Deku Tree – The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (N64 1998) 

Thou hast verily demonstrated thy courage…

Perhaps the most iconic tree of all, the Great Deku Tree kicks off Link’s adventure in Ocarina of Time by asking our hero to rid the curse that has been growing inside of him. Afterward, the GDT tacks on that Link should also go ahead and save all of Hyrule while he’s at it, too. Truly, I love that the Deku Tree is no doubt a throwback to the very first dungeon in the original Legend of Zelda for the NES. Since then, the Deku Tree has continued to be a part of the series also appearing in The Wind Waker and Breath of the Wild. Now all it needs is a string of lights and some ornaments to get with the season! 

Deku tree inspiration?

Thanks for stopping by to read my list and happy holidays! Do you agree with my choices? What are some notable trees in games that you think should be included here? Leave me a comment to let me know. Also, be sure to subscribe to my blog via e-mail to get content delivered directly to your inbox!

Published by erichagmann

Arranger / Pianist / Vocalist / Educator / Gamer

3 thoughts on “Make Like A Tree: Trees in Games

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