the artistry and psychology of gaming


Moonlight Forest (Seiken Densetsu 3)

Moonlight Forest (Seiken Densetsu 3)

The world of Mana may not have all that much in the way of new biomes, not that many worlds have biomes unique to them, but where it excels in beauty is what it does differently with them.  We’ve already talked at length about the Glass Desert, which takes the typical desert, superheats its primary component of sand, turning it into something else entirely, and adds a phosphorescent element that makes it come alive with color in the dark.  This world is full of such places; surreal twists on familiar territory, both in fauna and flora.  I rode Boosakaboo, a creature best described as a gigantic seafaring turtle with the head of a bird, the feet of a duck, and a large red flag stuck into the middle of his shell, who took me to a beach that looked no different from the many others I’d encountered.  What lay beyond its shores, though, was well beyond my expectations.

The Moonlight Forest is a very strange place. In all of my years as an adventurer, I have found no sound reasoning to suggest that time can be manipulated, except perhaps for some odd time dilation effects occurring near black holes.  Be that as it may, everywhere but the beach of this land was bathed in the comforting darkness of eternal night, and much of it was covered in thick forest.  I once landed upon the beach at dawn, stepped into the forest, then returned minutes later to find that it was nighttime at the beach.  I simply cannot understand how it works, but I know for certain that it does, because the beast men that live deep within this forest exhibit… let us say, very specific behavior only after the sun has set; these effects are not present in dark areas, like caves, during the daytime.

Almost immediately, I was in a very enchanting village, much like one I’d encountered while dreaming one night years before.  The grass beneath me was thick, and had a shade of blue to it, and the trees in the village had brightly glowing leaves of aquamarine.  There were deep pink and white flowers scattered about, and across a bridge was a scenic little area announcing this village of Mintos.  There was a structure made of a dark wood, with emerald green tiles, which had no walls.  Brushing aside the haunting familiarity, I headed south into the village proper.  Here, many houses with the same color of roof tiles were visible, and their doors were crafted of the same wood.  The village was small; there were only a few houses, an inn, and two shops.  There was something very inviting about the interior of these dwellings; it felt much like returning home from a long journey at night.  Before long, I crossed another bridge over a sparkling blue stream, and out into the wilderness.

The trees and shrubs in the forest were absolutely gorgeous; their leaves were of a bright aquamarine and purple.  A thin, pale bluish mist wafted through the area, slightly tinting everything around it.  Not only were the colors of the plant life beautiful, but the shapes of the clearings I encountered were very pleasing.  Some clearings were small, and made it seem as though the trail were just sprawling a bit, while others were larger in size, and some even contained small ponds.  Some of my favorites were dead ends that terminated with cliffs and bodies of water.  These are nearly indescribable; my words could never do them justice.  Perhaps the most intriguing of them was one that seemed to terminate with only a small shrub.  I could easily see a bit beyond it, but could not work my way through to explore what lay beyond.  Out here, I discovered both the Beast Kingdom, where the Beastmen live, and the Moonreading Tower, both of which were inaccessible to me at the time.

Forests have long had a reputation for mystery.  From the beginning of civilization as we know it, many of the accounts of strange happenings have occurred in forests.  I believe this to be due to their untamed nature.  Humans cannot build permanent shelter without clearing away enough of the trees to make sufficient room.  They often clear away far more than just that, too, so that they may feel comfortable.  The forest itself, though, is a place where, unlike the places where most humans dwell, nature is the sovereign.  There are no plastic decorations or perfectly manicured lawns deep in the woods; humans are not in control there.  Since humans have distanced themselves so much from nature, it is only natural that it would contain forces they do not understand.  Keep in mind, though, that nature would say the same of our own ways.

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