the artistry and psychology of gaming


Proto Man’s Castle 3 (Rockman 5: Wily’s Dream Space)

Proto Man’s Castle 3 (Rockman 5: Wily’s Dream Space)

I once had a dream of my fifth trip to the futuristic world of robots, which drew together many adventures I’d had in other worlds.  From the skies of Dream Land to the caverns of Yoshi’s Island, and even the factories of Donkey Kong Country, everything came together in an interesting way.  I made my way across pirate ships and garages, all the while marveling at what an unusual amalgamation it was.  Even the abstract space in which battles occur in Eagleland was a new area to explore; something I’d never considered doing before.  After a while, I came upon a large castle that I’d seen before in the physical world.

Proto Man’s Castle was considerably more cogent than the rest of this dream, though by comparison, it seemed a little boring.  Certainly, it was a fresh new take on the castle I’d explored before, but it lacked the surreal nature of the previous part of the dream.  I stormed the castle, making my way inside, admiring the sunset.  The immediate interior seemed to be nothing special, though.  The coloration was prettier than the typical castle, but nothing really bright or eye-catching.  It wasn’t until I’d gone a little deeper that I found something that was truly special.

The stretch from the main interior to the dish tower was unlike anything I’d ever seen.  It began with a simple white floor, pink brick ceiling, and empty darkness in the distance.  I headed into a white mist, which became so thick that I could see nothing ahead of me.  When I emereged, I was in a wonderland of colors.  The ground beneath me was black, but with a yellow and green outline and neon shapes within its boundaries.  The walls were covered in rectangular almost-spirals of pink and blue, as though they were layers of neon light outlines.  Not too far in, I saw a floating black block with a blue outline.  Climbing atop it, I reached a ledge with a strange strip in front of me.  The strip was completely black, but had yellow outlines of arrows that pointed upward.  I approached to get a better look, and much to my surprise, my gravity reversed!

Thankful that I’d dreamt myself in pants, I eventually landed on a ceiling of sorts.  This area was designed to be traversed by gravity flipping.  I made my way around a complicated loop by flipping again and again, and made my way onto a platform of yellow, green, and blue stripes.  Slowly looking upward as one does when suspecting danger above, I saw another strip; I closed my eyes, hugged the wall, and touched it, sending me to the ceiling once again.  I’d chosen wisely; had I been slightly away from the wall, I would’ve met my death upon black spikes lined in neon yellow.  It was evident that this journey would only increase in danger as I moved on.

In the next room, the ceiling was lined with neon spikes; I had to make my way along the undersides of some floating blocks in order to flip gravity and drop into the room below.  In here, I flipped back up, which made me unable to go out the bottom.  I returned to the other side of the previous room – which immediately flipped me again – and I was on my way, though I could feel a powerful wave of nausea washing over me.  Down here, I had to flip twice more in rapid succession; I dropped to my knees, unable to open my eyes, and collapsed.  Rolling over, I fell into dark waters, cooling off and feeling better almost immediately.  There were some more pretty neon shapes down here, though I wondered why there weren’t any of the quadrilateral objects lining the walls.  I swam forward a short distance and my heart sank; there before me was another strip.  Begrudgingly, I flipped onto the ceiling, and out of the water.

Fortunately, I was back in the water before long; unfortunately, there were many underwater strips.  While being underwater helped to abate the effects of the gravity reversal – which is far worse than any motion sickness that you can imagine – the motion that comes with flipping gravity underwater and rushing toward your former relative ceiling intensifies the effect while it’s happening.  Admiring the scenery as much as I could in my current state, I carried on.  Finally, I’d found a stretch without those horrible strips; the room was full of neon quadrilaterals, and now, I encountered a new feature: neon ladders.  They were black and outlined in blue, so while they didn’t stand out much in this room of pink and blue, they were pretty nonetheless.  I happily climbed the ladder and screamed in frustration when I reached the top.

More gravity strips, though this time, they led to conveyor belts.  Where there were no belts, there were open holes, and both the ceiling and floor were lined with spikes.  Extremely disorienting though it was, I made four quick flips, avoiding the belts for the most part, and leapt to the wall, flipping into the next room.  The next room was intense, but not as nauseating; a mechanical snake flew through the room, and I had to ride it, flipping between its back and its underside as I went.  After that, there was a room like the conveyor room, but without the conveyors; four rapid midair flips were necessary for survival.  After that was one more snake room before I reached the control chamber, which I had to enter upside down.  I finished my task and moved on, vowing to keep my feet off of ceilings for a very long time.

Dreams are a curious thing; they seem different for everyone.  Some people dream in monochrome, some dream only of cloudy days, and others still dream in bright, vibrant color.  Beyond even that, they seem to differ in nature even within the same person, at least they do for me.  I’ve had dreams where the scenery was realistic, as well as dreams where nothing – even the basic laws of physics – made any sense.  The completely surreal dreams are perhaps my favorite, because I have the full use of each of my senses, meaning that I get to experience everything as I would in the physical world.  That night, I got to see the bright lights as any other color dreamer would, but I also was able to experience the entirety of my weight turning upside down over and over again and to feel like I was completely submersed in water, even though I woke up dry with a steady stomach.  I have been given a gift to be able to do this, though it is sadly one that I can share only in words.

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