the artistry and psychology of gaming


Di Madura (Mega Man in Java Island)

Di Madura (Mega Man in Java Island)

I once had a dream that I was visiting Java Island, even though I’ve never been anywhere near there.  How I knew what to expect or whether it was accurate are questions that may never be answered.  Nevertheless, it was a rather interesting journey; there were eight basic locations that I visited before one final site that was much larger than the others.  Of course, the signs for everything were in a language I could not read, though oddly, the alphabet was the one that you and I know.  The place I’d like to talk about today is called Di Madura.

Di Madura, as far as I can tell through context clues, means something like “the desert”.  Of course, I don’t know for sure – for all I know, it could mean “Zippo Man” – but the place was that very biome.  It had a strange air to it, too; it was the kind of debilitating heat you experience during a late Summer afternoon, but it was also somehow refreshing, like there were two different atmospheres clashing with each other.  I wasn’t quite sure what kind of place this was, either; it seemed to be out in nature, but it had what appeared to be ruins scattered all about.  It had its similarities to an Egyptian adventure, though the architecture was very different.

When I arrived, it was late in the day; the sky was orange and the sun was wobbling, painting the clouds yellow.  There were some strange features in the background that I couldn’t quite identify.  Some looked like pagodas on stilts, others looked like trees with faces, and the rest looked like nothing I’d ever seen before; bookends, maybe?  On the horizon, I could distinctly pick out the silhouette of a small island in the ocean with palm trees that looked rather inviting.  Beneath me was a solid platform that had been placed on top of ripples of sand, effectively containing the desert.  The most unusual feature, though, was a bright blue waterfall with no apparent source; the refreshing nature of the air was no longer a mystery.

Moving on, I came to some pipe-like structures and some red brick walls.  They seemed like the ruins of some sort of processing facility, but they were so perfectly square that they didn’t seem worn down.  Eventually, I climbed upon part of this structure, which had a long shaft running deep into the ground.  I slid down the sides and landed in a subterranean facility.  It was fairly dark, but patches of red brick could be seen intermittently.  I didn’t have time to pause, though, as a large prismatic beam came blasting toward me.  I quickly slid out of the way, trying not to be vaporized as I admired its beauty.  I had time to breathe only half a sigh of relief before another came right at me.  I rapidly descended through several rooms in the facility, eventually reaching the bottom, where the beams finally stopped.

It was oddly peaceful down here, and even cozy, like a nice brick basement where you’d do laundry on a day of leisure.  Traveling along the patches of visible brickwork, I came to an underground waterfall, surrounded on both sides by pillars with spheres atop them, almost like a gigantic fountain.  The air was fairly cool in this basement, so I took the opportunity for a brief respite.  I braced myself against one of the pillars and enjoyed bathing in the cascade for a short time.  Afterwards, I wrung out my hair and headed, still sopping wet, out into the still blazing heat, which dried me off very quickly.

Out here, there were many more waterfalls surrounded by pillars, and I carefully made my way across them.  There were also ladders mysteriously suspended in midair a bit further on, which I used to cross the chasms below.  This gave me cause to wonder just how high above the ground I was; I’d fallen several stories below what I’d thought to be ground level and I was still high above the solid land.  It also gave me cause to wonder just how high up the sources of the many cascades could be.  Toward the end of my journey, the chasms below were bridged by more of the deadly beams from the facility, which provided me with a better opportunity to view them from above.  After one final stretch of chasm-jumping, I came to the gates of the master’s chamber, which were glowing the same colors as the prismatic beams.

Exploringing a foreign land is a wondrous thing to do, if you can handle yourself.  If you don’t speak the language, you never know what to expect.  In this instance, I read the Di Madura sign, having no idea what to expect, and I was treated to a surprise desert.  It revives that sense of childlike wonder that you had exploring before you learned how to read, and really, it’s the same thing.  Sometimes, it is the impractical and irrational that can lead to greater depth in one’s discoveries.  If you go into a desert knowing that it is a desert, then  you will arrive with some preconceived notions of its identity, whereas if you go in blindly, then you will be able to absorb every detail, consuming it like a delicious beverage.

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