the artistry and psychology of gaming


African Mines (Duck Tales)

African Mines (Duck Tales)

There is a city called Duckberg in an alternate reality.  It is a strange place in which humans are replaced by sentient ducks, who wear no pants.  I suppose it goes to show that utility is sometimes a factor in the evolution of culture.  Ducks would have no use for pants, as they would be a hindrance where swimming is involved.  I’ve spent entirely too much time discussing this, though; the only other relevant piece of information is that this world is like ours in nearly every other way, right down to its geography.

This brings us to an old diamond mine in Africa, which was rumored to be abandoned.  As it turns out, there are great treasures hidden there, locked away in chests.  As to be expected, there are also diamonds scattered about, but the walls were hardly encrusted with them.  No, it looks like a rather typical old abandoned mine, but what makes the place so special is the very nature of its construction.  While the pieces themselves are nothing special on their own, the way they fit together is quite stunning.

Not far from the entrance is a rock wall with a barely noticeable keyhole.  Unlocking this causes a cleverly disguised door to open, allowing access to the mine.  It wasn’t too far in that I laid eyes upon a dusty old bin of rubble cleared away while mining for gems, which struck me as oddly beautiful, perhaps it would have been even moreso had the walls been a matching gray; just the idea of that triggered an old memory, though it may have been one of my many false memories.  After reaching the dead end beyond it, I backtracked to a deep shaft with a thick chain descending into it.  It seems that the many chains here were used as makeshift ladders, which seems a bit inefficient for hauling gems out of the mine.  The miners must have had some sort of belt-mounted gem container.

Halfway down the chain was a large chamber with passages to either side.  I took the well-hidden one, and wound up in a treasure chamber.  At the other end of the treasure chamber, I descended the chain, which ended prematurely, leaving me stuck below.  I was in a pit with some strange plants; they had brown stems and leaves, and a red bulb of sorts on the top.  These plants were notorious for eating unprepared wayfarers, so I had decided to keep my distance, wondering all the while how they managed to survive all the way down here with so little to eat.  Over the wall before me was another hidden treasure chamber, this one more like a pit, and after exploring it, I went the other way, dodging a rolling boulder, and climbed back up to the chamber before; evidently, the bottom of the first chain led down to that pit.  I took the other path this time, crossing a large chasm, and finding a magnificent ruby ring in a chest nearby.  For me, it was a treasure just to behold, so I left it behind, and went back across the chasm, down the chain, and down the other chain I’d found near the large wall.

Down here was a surprising sight: an underground reservior with some of the deepest blue waters I’d ever seen.  I made my way across these azure pools, and climbed down the chain at the end.  Here, I rode a mine cart to yet another chain, which I descended as well.  I made my way forward, eventually reaching a strange device.  I stood upon it, and it launched me quite a distance over the enormous chasm before me.  At the end of my flight, I climbed a long chain straight up, headed down the passage, and entered a large chamber, which was a dead end.  At this point, I had concluded that I’d seen everything in this mine, and was on my way to another adventure.

So, here you can see that sometimes beauty is greater than just the sum of its parts.  An old abandoned mine with brown rock walls and gray dustbins littering the place shouldn’t be something beautiful, but the way everything fit together made it a very special experience.  To see the deep blue waters contrasting with the dingy brown dirt walls, the strange device used to launch one over the large chasm, or even a pile of dirt in an old crate placed in just a certain way can sometimes bring out a beauty not otherwise present.  I am an ardent lover of color, but there is a structure to beauty as well, whether it be placement of objects, layout of an area, or even the right shape of a certain object.  It makes beauty so much harder to analyze in any meaningful way, but it makes it that much more special because of the wonderful mystery behind it.

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