the artistry and psychology of gaming


Peppermint Palace (Kirby and the Amazing Mirror)

Peppermint Palace (Kirby and the Amazing Mirror)

Today, we’re headed back to the Amazing Mirror.  This illusory world has all sorts of untold wonders within it.  It’s a place that I’ve fully explored several times and still wished for more.  There’s just so much to like about this enormous virtual playground, and its areas feature some interesting diversity both amongst themselves and when compared to other worlds.  While some areas are typical, both in nature and in execution, some many are unique, especially in the department of the latter, which brings us to today’s topic of conversation.

Peppermint Palace might have a name that is whimsical, even childish, but ’tis no candy land, I assure you.  While it is not a particularly dangerous place, except in its higher elevations, it features quite an intriguing beauty.  It features many things common to cold areas, but it is presented in quite a unique way.  It seems that within the palace itself is another world of its own, where inside is outside, but all is within the boundaries of its walls.  Within the mirror itself, you can throw all spatial orientation right out the window.

I approached the palace’s main entrance after having traversed the nearby Carrot Castle.  It seemed so unassuming from the outside; so small.  Inside, a frozen cavern rolled out before me, with a shimmering aurora in visible in the distance.  The light ice made a nice contrast with the dark blue night sky above me.  After traveling for a bit, and passing through a few mirrors, which act as doorways within the mirror world, I finally reached the palace proper.

Within the main palace, the architecture was markedly different.  The structure contained light blue and purple blocks of ice, and the walls were colored a shade halfway between the two, and featured a bubble pattern, almost as if bubbles trapped within the ice itself had burst.  The bricks were carved in several different patterns, such as a typical, smooth, translucent block; a more traditional, porous brick, much like you’d use to build a chimney; and even strange geometric patterns indicative of very primitive stone carving.  Despite their seeming random placement, it all came together to make a very interesting aesthetic.  Within the internal-looking section of the palace, there is little else in the way of purely aesthetic variety, but the corridors are positively labyrinthine, and it will take a great deal of intelligence, as well as the right tools, to explore every nook and cranny and to discover every hidden treasure.

Once you climb high enough, you will reach an external-looking area.  At the very top, the blocks are mostly of the geometric stone variety, and are arranged in interesting layouts.  The real showstopper, though, is the sparkling snowscape visible from up here.  At the right time of day, the sky is painted a lush shade of teal, and a rainbow can be seen from the reflections of the ice below.  Of particular interest is the gigantic stone arch that can be seen far in the distance.  Further on is a more natural area, with rock forming the walls and floors.  The sun was shining brightly that day, which created a scene reminiscent of a sunny, snow-covered day of my early youth.

Eventually, I reached another night area, which had some lovely natural formations.  Perhaps my favorite was an area with floating rocks, each of which was topped with a perfect frozen slope on each side.  One could leap from high above and slide down from rock to rock, almost like the small spheres that fall through a pachinko machine.  I could not help but wonder how such things could be conceived.  At the bottom was a broken bridge of ice above murky, blue waters; a swimming pool for those impervious to the cold, I suppose.  At the end of this section was another cavern with some stunning natural pillars all through its depths.  The pillars themselves seemed to glow, despite the lack of a strong light source.  At the end of this cavern was a warp star, which led back to the central nexus of the mirror.

Virtual worlds are a bit like dreams in many ways.  They are worlds that exist within the mind of their creator, and, while they are capable of making sense, they usually do not.  Both are incomplete manifestations of reality, no matter how painstakingly crafted they were.  In a dream – at least in mine – circumstances can change entirely in a split second with no warning.  Virtual worlds have things like this as well, though they are brought on by flaws of in their design, or even by the deterioration of that which maintains their structure.  Then again, reality is largely the conception of the beholder.  Even though what we consider to be reality is widely accepted as such, it may be so, just because we are all sharing a similar experience; the conception of reality is upheld by the fact that others have similar experiences.  This is the nature of humankind as a social species.

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