the artistry and psychology of gaming


Aglis (Legend of Dragoon)

Aglis (Legend of Dragoon)

Civilizations rise and fall, but history moves on.  There are times, however, when something catastrophic happens and all civilizations in a world fall, leaving behind high technology to those who do not understand it.  In Endiness, a similar thing happened: a species known as the Winglies battled the technologically inferior humans, who inexplicably won.  While the humans reclaimed their world for the most part, there were a few Wingly cities that were left behind, though in areas mostly inaccessible to humanity.  Kadessa, the Law City: Zenabatos, and the Death City: Mayfil were all among the ancient cities that still stood in perfect working order, but the one that was most interesting was the submarine research facility known as Aglis.

Each Wingly city is heavily saturated in a single color.  Kadessa is orange, Zenebatos is a yellowish-green color, Mayfil is a dark green, and Aglis is purple.  Since each of the cities serves a completely different purpose, it stands to reason that this is because the technology is different and simply gives off a different color of light.  It could also very well be that the Winglies did this to help differentiate the cities from each other; they were a very practical people.  They were so practical, in fact, that they even sought to find utility in their own emotions.  The main project at Aglis was to turn one’s courage into a powerful weapon.

I arrived via a teleporter, and the room in which I landed was filled with incredible technology.  It was mostly purple, with energy flowing through the floor.  There was a large green disc in the center with intricate patterns, which served as the teleportation pad.  There were large red hemispheres embedded within the walls, as well.  I’ve been in some very hi-tech areas before, and can usually figure out the basic function of most everything I see – even if I could never replicate it – but I was able to identify exactly two components of this room: a telepad and a door; I used the latter.  I came out onto a bridge with a round joint where it changed direction.  The pattern upon the joint had several radii running through it with some quadratic patterns within it; the design looked very familiar, but I could not place it.  There was a shimmering body of water far beneath me and a bridge leading into the distance.  The only non-purple thing in sight was a green telepad with three claw-like appendages sticking out from its circumference.  The edges of this bridge were of a grayish metal painted by the purple light glowing all around it, and had a few formations that looked like they’d served a purpose at one time.  I headed down the bridge.

I came out into the city proper, staring in awe at the vastness of Aglis.  Large structures – many of them resembling sea creatures – sprung up all around me.  As I stared up at what must have been the main city, I noticed that there was a ceiling of water above me.  It was then that I realized that I was in an artificial air pocket, no doubt maintained by the technology here.  Dams are easy to make – just build a wall – but to create something that can interminably hold the water above something as large as an entire city was one of the most unbelievable uses of technology I have ever seen.  Even more incredible was another one of those clawed telepads on a road high above me with an eternal purple waterfall without a source; water was above me, below me, and falling right in front of me, and yet I was completely dry.

Getting myself back on track, I stepped onto the telepad in front of me, which took me to another.  This one was on a very short road that terminated in another telepad, which I took to the next road.  This continued for quite some time, and I was rather impressed that, having had my molecules deconstructed and reconstructed so many times, I didn’t rematerialize with a misplaced eyeball or something of the like.  I headed down the road a little bit and groaned; there was a massive labyrinth of small roads covered in telepads, rather than one long road.  While the brilliance of the Winglies was evident in all of their architecture, their arrogance was even clearer, at least in Aglis.  Surely, this shift from practicality to frivolity was the cause of their downfall.  I was quite relieved to reach a room that was different from this.

The room was a bit more bluish than the rest of Aglis, but the floor sported similar patterns.  There were a couple of large machines sporting domes at their zeniths to be seen in here.  They must have been used in the manufacture of some kind of unnatural material, though everything here was so far beyond my level of understanding that I could be way off.  I headed through only to enter yet another mess of roads and telepads.  Sure, they were pretty, but they weren’t marked in any way that I could understand, so I had to go through what should’ve been a simple path by using trial and error.  There weren’t all that many, so it might not have been so bad, but my spatial reasoning skills are terrible, so I had a lot of trouble figuring out just where it was that I had landed each time I warped.  At long last, I’d reached a door, and so I entered it.

I was in a round chamber with a round hole in its center.  Light was pouring down into this hole, and I pondered its purpose.  I imagine that it must have had something to do with the nautulis-like machines along the edges, which had openings that glowed red.  I headed through the other doorway to find – much to my chagrin – yet another path of teleporters.  This area looked a bit like a sewer, because it had many grates  and machines that looked like they might be for processing liquid.  Struggling through yet again, I reached another chamber, feeling a bit dizzy.  This one was small in walking area, but many machines hung in the distance, and I wondered if this might’ve been where the Psychadelic Bomb was created.  The Psychadelic Bomb was the aforementioned weapon forged by people’s courage.  I know that it was manufactured in Aglis – and only one was ever made – but whether it was in this chamber or not remains uncertain.  I headed into the next area.

Another set of roads and teleporters!?  This was maddening!  They weren’t even trying anymore; it was just a bunch of aimless strips with telepads slapped thoughtlessly upon them!  In the distance, I saw only more of the same.  I begrudgingly started my long, tedious journey, trying to get near the enchanting blue dome I saw up ahead.  I got lost trying to find one that led somewhere relevant, and so I kept trying telepads in the hopes that I’d get lucky.  I hadn’t been feeling well for the last few minutes, and the headache that I’d been ignoring was only getting worse.  At this point, I was merely trying to get out of this accursed place.  On my way to a telepad, I dropped to my knees, unable to go any further.  I tried to get up, but all that I could do was tremble, sweat, and vomit over the side.  After a few minutes of this, I collapsed and slowly began to lose consciousness.  I have flashes of memories of small robots carrying me out of the city, and when I awoke, I was on a beach somewhere.  Perhaps the Winglies hadn’t calibrated the teleporters to the anatomical structure of other species, or I might’ve overused them, but I’ve no doubts that those accursedly prolific devices were to blame.

Technology is a curious thing.  We fantasize about what it might be a century from now, but when we get there, it’s never as we’d imagined.  We’ve long fantasized about flying cars existing in a time that passed by us over a decade ago, and yet we’ve seen no such things.  Instead, we have a device that can make video phone calls, give directions to any location, play games, create documents, and even serve as a makeshift flashlight or alarm clock, and it fits in the palm of your hand!  Our wildest aspirations never seem to be fulfilled, and yet we see new devices that are beyond anything that we could possible have imagined even thirty years ago, both practical and impractical.  Where will it take us next?

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *