the artistry and psychology of gaming

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Magnet Man (Rockman Overdrive)

Magnet Man (Rockman Overdrive)

As you know by my constant ravings, I have had many dreams of the futuristic world of robots. Some of my favorite dreams have been of my second trip, but more recently, I have had one of the third trip that rivals even those. This was a dream that altered quite a bit, both in terms of visuals and structure. My trials were both challenging and engaging; the kind of stimulation that brings lonely desire upon realizing that it was only a dream. Still, I am grateful to have had this experience, and I will always have my memories.

I have already spoken of the power plant area in this dream.  Today, however, I wish to speak of the area that replaced the magnetic assembly facility. In the physical world, this location has a number of powerful electromagnets hooked up to chains of large batteries. In my dream, however, the magnetism was more abstract. In fact, it almost looked like the inside of a large machine, such as a clock. It was the layout more than anything that brought this place its beauty.

I landed on a series of beams of an indescribable brown color. Inspecting them more closely, I could see strange patterns that looked almost like microchips at certain parts of these beams. Behind me were bricks of gray, as well as something else riveted to the wall that was gray; they looked like vents of some sort, but I could not be certain. Separating these two parts of the wall were odd bands that had ridges, making them look almost like rectangular ears of gray corn. I knew not where I was going or what was ahead; I only remember frantically running forth.

Soon, the vent-like panels stopped being of a consistent shape, and the bricks faded, leaving them to make abstract patterns in the blackness. The beams ended and a large gap sprawled out before me. My only way across was to jump across some tiny, rapidly rotating gears. The jumps were difficult and gut-wrenching, but I did make my way across. I landed on a small beam held up by what looked like the pillars of electrical cords from the physical world, but were clad in the strange brown color. Behind me was some kind of backsplash that had complicated patterns with an X over them, all in gray, that make kind of a munching noise.Sharing this beam with me, though, was what almost looked like a baseboard heater without its cover. It was white and dark blue, flashing back and forth between the two colors. I assumed that this was some sort of power coil, but truly, I had no idea.

Just beyond the power coil, I came to a more elaborate backdrop of a wall of what looked like some kind of filters coated in varying shades of purple. On top of these were some more of the gray, vent-like panels bolted on top somehow. The very fabric of reality was beginning to break down, but it somehow made sense at the time. I leapt across a number of small beams, soon coming to another band of gray corn and a ladder. I climbed down into something even more enigmatic.

I was in another gray brick area, where the beams formed several levels. There were bands of thin stripes of black and the brown color. There were also columns of purple objects that resembled safes, though I’d guess that there were power cells behind the little doors. There were also more of the strange power coils here, which were, oddly enough, safe to touch. I found a hole, and dropped into it, bringing me to another area.

I missed my chance to land upon the higher level of beams, but was glad to do so, as there were spikes glowing brown and a pale mint color on that layer. Instead, I fell to the lower level, which almost looked like an internal area. There was a power coil here, and “inside” was also a vast wall of purple machine parts. I was beginning to think that the objects in this area were color-coded by their nature. The next area appeared to be some kind of storage station, as there were a number of crates – or were they spare parts? – neatly stacked together.

Moving on, I came to a tight area that seemed very purposeful. I felt like a small child hearing spoken language, but only picking up on the inflections; I understood the importance, but I did not understand what was being said to me. The top layer was completely backed by vent-like plates, and the bottom was a wall of the safes with what appeared to be a gray conveyor belt in front of them. Soon, I came to an area that was almost entirely cord pillars, beams, and vent-like plates. In here, I found more safes, but they were glowing white and dark blue, just like the power coils. I also saw other glowing panels that had the same texture as the disappearing blocks in the physical world. I made my way to a ladder, and then climbed to the top.

High above me was another ladder, the path to which was a number of power coils. Between two bands of gray corn was a purple matrix of something resembling crank shafts. I leapt across the power coils, making my way around to the ladder, which I ascended. At the top, I reached a gear, two power coils, and the gate to the control chamber. The gate was glowing just like the power coils, and so, I entered, wondering what I would see inside.

Keeping me in suspense was the antechamber, which had a gear, two safe columns, and a number of power coils below; clearly, the control chamber used a lot of power. I headed inside, and stood agape for a few minutes. Inside was a large, complicated mechanism with beams to get around to all of its components. There were vent-like plates scattered around the blackness, and a column of safes standing in the center of the chamber. I saw a gear spinning, and a number of what looked like power coils, but were gray and not glowing. I simply could not comprehend this elaborate mechanism, but spent quite some time examining it, nonetheless. I left to go to the next site, still flabbergasted as I made my exit.

Machines have always confused me; their exterior gives no indication as to how they work, and their interior is complicated and crowded. The opportunity to go inside – no matter how improbable – allows one to see how it moves, but not necessarily how it functions. While someone more mechanically inclined may be able to do so, the rest of us would need to see how it was assembled in order to do so. This, of course, is not exclusive to machines; we are also difficult to understand to anyone who does not know our past – our “assembly” – and I think that this is important to know. Just like making wild assumptions about how a machine works, and attempting to reassemble it, we do not function in the expected manner if not all of our parts and their functions are understood. So really, are we so different from machines, after all?

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