the artistry and psychology of gaming


Boggly Woods (Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door)

Boggly Woods (Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door)

From the Mushroom Kingdom, I once chartered a vessel and sailed to a place known as Rogueport.  It was a colorless place that wasn’t entirely ugly; it had a neat aesthetic that happened at sunset.  While the place was rather aptly named – thieves and scoundrels lurked everywhere – I didn’t feel that this was a completely wasted trip.  You see, Rogueport is a town of secrets; it is rumored that beneath it lies an ancient treasure.  I can verify this rumor personally, though I don’t think it’s the kind of treasure that the legends meant.

The sewers beneath the town are a hub for many wonderful places, many of which I discovered while exploring.  One of my favorites was Boggly Woods.  Boggly Woods is a forest unlike any other I’ve ever seen.  The place is solemn, but not solemn like the typical forest; it’s more like an unsettling quiet.  In fact, the atmosphere there is one that I found to be quite chilling, and while I sensed not a single spirit during my journey, I found the area to be absolutely haunting.

I emerged from a gray pipe that fit the forest’s aesthetic quite well.  The trees were black with white leaves, creating a negative look mimicked by the shrubbery in the area.  In the distance, the black hills were spotted with a very pale yellow – flowers, perhaps? – that complemented the skies, which were a golden yellow near the ground and faded to black as they went upward.  This stark aesthetic was completely offset by the ground, which was black with a ground cover that refracted sunlight from deep purple to light green, depending upon where it was in reference to your vision.  Fluffy white rings of some manner of plant encircled the pipe from whence I’d come, and after staring in awe for quite some time, I began down the trail.

Trees lined the path as I traveled through more of the rings on the ground.  The wind was blowing softly through the treetops, making a gentle sound, as I rustled through the foliage.  After traveling a bit, the rings filled out into rounded triangular formations, and further still, I ended up in the deep woods.  The great number of trees and thick patches of white were nothing short of breathtaking.  Next to me was a strange plateau of what may have been tree stumps; they were black and round with white rings emanating from their centers.  I made my way up the tall cliff before me and journeyed on.

Here, I found a pipe that led me to the hills in the distance.  Finally coming out from under the treetops for the very first time, I saw the open sky, and it was glorious.  I’d seen the lovely gradient before, but much higher up, there were lines of little white dots trailing along.  It didn’t make any sense at all, but it was very pretty and fit the aesthetic quite well; it almost looked like a professional work of paper cutting.  I saw a house a bit further on, and found its deep pink roof to be enchanting, and so I went inside.

It was a very lavish abode, as could be expected from its exterior aesthetic.  The pink wallpaper seemed dull compared to the lush pink furniture, but along with the bunches of pink flowers pouring out of their stone planters, it really tied the room together.  The floor was a beautiful checkerboard of purple, which matched the carpet leading up the small staircases.  In the house’s other room, a similar aesthetic was found, even in the bed, but the lamp with the yellow shade seemed a bit out of place.  Of course, I soon noticed that the lampshade – as well as the white rug under the bed – went will with the outside world, which was readily visible through the open windows; very clever!  Since no one seemed to be home, I went back out the front door and made my way deeper into the forest.

It wasn’t long before I came across a gigantic tree.  White streams poured from high within this tree, flowing over the bold-colored ground.  There were no fluffy white patches here, so I got a very good look at the ground cover.  This tree was large enough that it had some definition to it, with ornate markings in shades of gray.  The strangest thing was a bright red metal door, which seemed very out of place, but I entered nonetheless and was stunned by what I saw.

Inside The Great Tree, the coloration seemed to be inverse from that of the woods.  There were still trees of black with gray markings and white leaves, but the ground cover was a golden yellow, whereas the world beyond me was a flowing blue.  In here, I met the punis, a sentient species of gray insect with big eyes and a cute little puff on their single antenna.  They had sculpted a number of black objects with light gray patterns upon them, matching the aesthetic of the bushes on the ground.  So, while this species was very close to nature, they also had their own culture, and their artwork resembled that of the Aztecs.  Deep within the tree, I found a pool of a prismatic liquid.  Curious, I stepped into it and was quickly captured in a bubble, which floated me to a higher level; even their technology used nature.

There is nothing quite like visiting a forest in late Autumn.  Trite as it may seem, the blaze of color under a golden sunset creates a feeling unlike any other; it cannot be captured in a photograph.  It is, perhaps, chilling to see this from a more intimate perspective: that of the trees themselves.  To us, it’s just a pretty scene, but they are shedding leaves, and essentially dying.  It may even make one feel a bit guilty at enjoying such beauty through one’s own morbid ignorance.

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