the artistry and psychology of gaming


Fork Tree (Super Mario Land 3)

Fork Tree (Super Mario Land 3)

Today’s world exists on the same planet as the Mushroom Kingdom, but on an island far away.  The strangely named Kitchen Island is the base of operations for a group of pirates led by Captain Syrup.  For reasons unknown, she has named the various areas of her island after food or things relating to food.  For example, Rice Beach is laid out right in front of Mt. Teapot like a blanket of sparkling sand.  From there, one can reach Sherbet Island or Stove Canyon.  Docked nearby is the S.S. Teacup, and Syrup Castle is surrounded by the most beautiful area of the island: Parsley Forest.

Parsley Forest is a very strange place.  For one thing, it’s a very odd occurrence for a forest to have a railroad.  The forest is also home to some terrifying plant life, such as these omnivorous plants that can devour someone in mere seconds, and seem to have no real vulnerabilities.  Even the trees themselves seem to have strange faces, much like those you might see on a jack o’ lantern.  I’m sure you’ve heard tales of adventurers wandering through spooky forests at night with the feeling that the woods are watching them, but not often have I had that feeling in broad daylight.  Perhaps its most interesting feature is the aptly named Fork Tree, which has a straight trunk, but two branches curving out of either side, making it look like a fork with three tines.

I will always remember my adventure climbing Fork Tree.  It was a cloudy day, and I began at the trunk.  Evidently, I was not the first to climb this tree by far, since there was an elaborate network of rope ladders and platforms built into the tree’s trunk.  I climbed quite a bit, admiring the clouds as I went, until I eventually reached an opening.  I went inside of the tree, and was surprised to find a path leading upward through an unidentifiable liquid.  I’m not certain whether or not this was the tree’s sap, but its viscosity was such that one could swim through it with relative ease.  Upon doing so, I found myself at another opening, which led outside.

Out there, it was difficult to see the ground below, making it evident that I had reached a great height, though the top was still nowhere in sight.  Gone were the rope ladders found near the trunk, so I had to leap from platform to platform, thankful that it was not a windy day.  There were two openings further up, but one led to a tiny chamber with no other exit, so I entered the higher of the two.  Inside was another liquid-filled tunnel, but upon swimming high enough, I realized that I was nearing the top, since the path branched off in three directions.  I swam to the east, entering the opening along the way.

I was outside again, now at a staggering height, and I climbed as high as I could go, only to find yet another aperture.  Inside was a very thin passage with a rope ladder.  At the top of this ladder was a gigantic skull, easily as tall as I and twice the girth, with a large keyhole in its forehead.  Feeding it the key I’d found elsewhere in the tree, it rumbled upward, its eyes beginning to emit a pulsating glow, as it gradually revealed another doorway.  Entering the doorway, it became clear that I had reached the tree’s zenith, since I was in the middle of a large cloud of leaves.  In here was a shining treasure chest, which had already been opened and emptied.  I took a moment to admire the view, then descended the rope ladder and went back outside.  Taking a leap of faith, I landed upon a platform on the main trunk, from which I leapt to the western branch.  At the top of a rope ladder on that branch, I found a skull gate, which led me further into the forest.

I remember, as a child, thinking it strange to view a tree as a living thing.  To my young mind, a tree was just a thing, no different from a stone or a brick.  When I climbed Fork Tree, I had a similar moment, but from a different perspective.  During the adventure, the tree was nothing more than a location to me, no different than a cavern or a tower, but it was still a living thing.  As I stood at the top of that tree, such a great knowledge came rushing in to my mind.  Microorganisms likely didn’t view me as anything more than a location.  I came to understand that interpretation all life is merely a matter of perception.  Humans themselves are comprised of trillions of cells, which are like life in and of themselves.  For the first time in my life, the theory that our world; our universe could be just a small part of a massive organism suddenly had some credence to it.  So many think that adventuring is all about running around, finding treasure, and fighting enemies, but exploring can bring one so many new perspectives, and with them, immeasurable wisdom.

Leave a Comment

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