the artistry and psychology of gaming


Ancient City (Mega Man 6)

Ancient City (Mega Man 6)

There is a world where robots have sentience and walk amongst humans every day.  To look at some of them, you’d even think that they were human.  Many were manufactured to perform everyday functions; to make life a little easier.  While, at worst, this may seem misguided, it became a huge problem when a rogue scientist began reprogramming many of them for his own nefarious deeds.  Now, the world is overrun with killer robots of all shapes and sizes, some of which seem to have no function other than mimicking existing life forms.

Within this world, there is an ancient city, forgotten by time.  It bears more than a passing similarity to the mythical city of Atlantis in that, like many of the ruins I’ve told you of thus far, it has many strange, high-tech machines and structures that once served currently unknown purposes.  The whole place has a lonely, ethereal feel to it that’s hard to describe.  Despite being practically abandoned, it’s not what I’d call peaceful, or even lonely.  The best way I can describe this place is mysterious and unnerving.  Perhaps, I should explain…

While I am unequivocally certain that the city would be absolutely gorgeous on a cloudy day, when I explored it, the sun was shining brightly in the midday sky.  Nearly everything is crafted of a strange bluish-purple material or another golden-colored material.  The vast majority of the city itself is submerged, so the dark aqua water pools in certain areas, especially at the foot of the numerous waterfalls.  Several large pillars rise in the distance, many without a roof to support, suggesting that they may be decorative or may serve some other function, such as absorbing solar energy.  After walking over structures packed with strange machines for some time, I encountered a narrow, flooded shaft that led down inside.

What I found inside was even more perplexing.  There was, amongst a multitude of machines and computers, what appeared to be a massive, complex support structure, which held the whole thing together.  I suppose that I had made my way into some sort of maintenance tunnel, where the buoyancy provided by the water would allow workers to make any sort of necessary repairs without ladders, scaffolding, or the like.  Oddly enough, there were also strange spiked objects that appeared quite dangerous.  Perhaps you’ll forgive me for not investigating them much more closely.  Further down were what appeared to be some sort of gauges, but they didn’t appear to be attached to anything, so maybe they regulated water quality or something of the like.  What I found at the very deepest point was the strangest occurrence of all.

I swam down so far that I dropped out of the bottom of the water.  I couldn’t tell if there was some sort of ancient gravity regulator that had gone haywire or if the air at the bottom was comprised of gasses more dense than water and rigid enough to support it, but the sea was rising and falling not below me, but above my head.  I had to wait for it to “rise” low enough for me to jump back in and swim across the treacherous terrain full of sharp spikes.  When I reached the end, the water seemed to evaporate, and I was spilled to the ground in another area where there was a utility ladder with which I could climb back to the surface.

Back on the surface, there were incredibly wide waterfalls, which may have been used as some sort of hydroelectric power source.  At the end of this very long stretch, there was a tower that stood apart from the rest, which had an entrance at the bottom and one higher up.  It is said that this ancient city’s guardian once resided in this tower, regulating all of the city’s basic functions from some sort of master control room.  This guardian was also purportedly a robot, meaning that this civilization’s fall was possibly little more than foreshadowing for when the same mistakes were repeated in the future.

Robots, automation, and technology in general might seem like great boons, but they bear a terrible curse as well.  For every function that is taken over by technology, there is one more function that its users no longer perform.  As time goes by and technology expands, people weaken.  I’m not saying that technology is inherently bad; it’s actually quite wonderful.  The problem is that we tend to rely on it too much, spelling big trouble for us when it malfunctions.  Just think of what happens when the power goes out during a storm.  If you ever get the chance, I’d recommend going somewhere that you can cut yourself off from it and live there for some time, just to get a feel for what visceral life is like.  Doing so not only clears the mind, but also allows you to figure out the best way to give your body exactly what it needs.  It’s certainly an unforgettable experience.

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