the artistry and psychology of gaming


Beach South of Argonia (Dragon Quest 8)

Beach South of Argonia (Dragon Quest 8)

I’ve visited a great many Iron Age worlds that look like they’ve been taken right out of a fairy tale.  For some reason, worlds like these are the favorite destinations of many adventurers.  One world, yet another on the long list of those whose names I do not know, had mysterious ties to a world I’d explored in my very early youth: Alefgard.  It was difficult getting used to the idea that this world was so radically different from Alefgard, but while the residents acted like bizarre caricatures usually relegated to a children’s cartoon, the world itself was far more beautiful.

It was Summer when I visited Argonia, a kingdom with a very wise king, beloved by all of his subjects.  Not so beloved, however, was his son, a spoiled little whelp with a name that described him so very well: Charmles – add another S for his dominating personality trait.  As little as I enjoyed my time in the kingdom itself, there was a very unique and beautiful area to the south of the castle walls.  It was an unnamed beach inaccessible by land, due to its being surrounded by mountains. I stumbled upon it whilst sailing one day.

It would be a fairly perfect oval shape were there not a small inlet slightly off-center coming in from the south.  The beach itself has a fair number of plateaus stacked atop each other, despite its being covered in sand; they were almost like geographical stairs.  Palm trees sporadically spot the small area, and their configuration is quite picturesque.

I landed on the eastern side of the beach, and simply stared out into the deep blue ocean for a while.  The waves gently lapped upon the shore, and I was reminded of the Winters of my early youth, during which I’d explore a little known beach; the climate was similar to my hometown’s Summer, since the beach was much further south.  At the very eastern end, with a the rock wall of a high plateau curled around it, was a bright red treasure chest nestled within some palm trees.  What a wondrous playground this was turning out to be!

I began heading west to the other end, determined to explore ever inch of this place.  I headed up the hills and past a few small plateaus.  There was something very scenic about the way the area just above the inlet looked; it reminded me of a distant vision I once had of an open-air palace cradled by the sands beneath it.  Looking down into the inlet itself, I admired the slightly greener color of its waters as compared to the ocean feeding into it.  It was an unusual geographical feature; a high rock wall lined one side and a low beach lined the other, and yet it was fully formed.

Breaking from the scene below, I headed further up the hills and around to the western end of the beach.  Palm trees still spotted the area, and always looked so inviting in small groups in the distance.  Looking down a cliff, I got a glimpse of Big Al, a singing, somewhat anthropomorphic pile of seaweed; kelp, if you wish to argue the point of semantics.  Long a myth of sailors and other passersby who hear his talented voice, his true nature is the subject of much debate, as few have ever truly seen him.  Ah, the wonders of the age of exploration.

Finally reaching the other side, I admired the little gully as a cozy place to rest. I pulled a beach blanket from my belongings and sat down, admiring the scenery.  I looked around, seeing a nearby landmass, palm trees, my point of origin, and a seemingly endless liquid blanket rippling before me.  Soon came my favorite time of day at the beach: the sunset.  Sunsets in this world start as a glorious burning red as they fade to a deep purple, which eventually dissipates to the dark blue of the night.  It was the perfect ending to a glorious day.

There’s something about Summer and beaches that just makes the whole experience special.  Though my younger days at the beach were always in the Winter, my adolescence saw Summer as the time for aquatic exploits.  A common choice for a vacation, beaches have such sights and sounds that bring back memories from other trips to their shores.  Throughout my life, the shore has been a place of heart-rending wonder and mystery, almost as if my mind is searching for a memory it cannot find.  So while this scenario may be commonplace for most, it holds a special place to me.

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