the artistry and psychology of gaming


Great Sea Trench (Final Fantasy 5)

Great Sea Trench (Final Fantasy 5)

There were once two worlds floating through outer space, their inhabitants completely oblivious to each other.  These worlds were special, for they were not two, but one.  During their creation, there was a rift in space, which caused temporal anomalies all over the world’s surface.  To seal this strange power, eight crystals were constructed to maintain the balance of nature, and they were used with the energy of the rift to create an actual separation of space, causing the world to split into two seemingly complete planets.  Centuries passed, and most forgot about this cosmic event, though those who were around during its inception set into motion the events that would cause these two worlds to join again, fitting their landmasses together like pieces in a puzzle.

One of the many things that came into being by way of this reconjunction was the Great Sea Trench, a fissure in the ocean floor that became a large cavern filled with many strange creatures.  Perhaps stranger still was the fact that the cavern itself existed largely within an air pocket, despite its location.  This place has an indescribable aura that reminded me greatly of the island where I spent much of my early youth.  I cannot tell you why, but it constantly tugged at the beautiful rags left of the tapestry of my childhood memories, jarring images and short clips, some of which I could not put into context.

As I drifted across the soothing ocean floor, I came across the Great Sea Trench.  I swam down, entering the fissure, and surfaced within the cavern.  The faded aqua waters met the pale brown cavern floor, which had a vaguely sandy quality to it.  I headed down a natural staircase, reaching a strangely elaborate door.  After some coaxing, I managed to get it open, and inside, I was greeted by such a wonderful sight.

The ground and walls here had a bit of green in them, like an ornate carpet you might find in a hotel.  I headed through the tunnel, and when I finally broke out into a more open space, a sea of glowing magma shone brightly far beneath me.  The way the reds, oranges, and yellows danced around the blackness was like a beautiful carpet of its own, though this one pulsated with heat and light.  After taking a moment to admire its glory, I headed down into a passage, which had a small chamber in the middle.  This chamber had a natural spring of spiritual energy erupting straight from its center.  Further down, there was an area much closer to the magma.  In here, I had to operate switches to create natural bridges over the magma, so that I could cross unscathed.  The solutions became increasingly more elaborate as I pressed on, but the burning lakes were as beautiful as ever.

I eventually came into a large room almost completely covered in magma.  It was very difficult to cross, but with some strenuous climbing over some precarious pillars, I managed to get through, and headed deeper into the planet.  I eventually reached something quite astonishing: a small, subterranean village inhabited by dwarves.  I could not tell whether they had managed to arrive the same way that I did, or if tectonics had ruined their way back to the surface.  They’d been there for so many generations that they didn’t know for certain either.  My guess would be that the rejoining of the two planets had greatly altered the structure of the path to their home.  At the deepest part of the village was a natural spring, this one filled with a milky liquid.  I eased my way in to the unsurprisingly hot water; I’d estimate it to have been about 130 degrees Fahrenheit.  Once I had acclimated to the scalding lake, I took notice to a cascade in an otherwise inconspicuous corner.  I swam under the rushing waters to soak my hair, later realizing that there was a passage behind it.

After taking a moment to dry myself, which was a simple task in the incredible heat, I looked around this hidden chamber, which was even more filled with lava than the area preceding the village.  I made my way carefully through the dangerous chamber, revealing a small, hidden area at the very back.  This area had a large dais with a stone tablet resting upon it.  This was clearly a great treasure to have been protected by so much danger and mystery.  It may have just been a trick of the heat, but my vision faded into a flood of old memories, many of which I hadn’t seen in so many years.  Wrapped in the warmth of times past, I stood there for what must have been hours, soaking it all in.  When I regained consciousness, I returned to the spring for a long, relaxing soak, this time for my body, before leaving for the surface again.

Our minds are filled with so many memories, but they often get lost in the shuffle of everyday life.  Perhaps the strength in nostalgia lies in that we are rediscovering old treasures that we had long forgotten.  While these old memories can resurface by logical means, it is the ones that are brought back unexpectedly that we often cherish the most.  I have long wondered how some memories are triggered by seemingly unrelated things; a question for which I’ve found no answer.  Certainly, no two minds are identical, and we all weave our own webs of knowledge, connecting things that make sense to us, but sometimes we do not understand even the connections we make ourselves.  Such is the wondrous mystery that is the mind.

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